Disclosure: this is not a post about blame or pointing the finger at anyone for any shortcomings in anyone's life. Before you assume this post is just about "the black peoples struggle", I assure you it's not.
Everyday I am faced with a potential racial, cultural, and sometimes sexist challenge. I'm not one to dwell on ignorance or envy; racism and prejudice views are an everyday part of life. Not that I outright experience either directly each day; no one has called me the "N" word or some other despicable term to my face lately, but I know it could happen any day of my life.
Most of my colleagues, some of my associates, and a couple of my friends are Caucasian. From time to time, we get caught-up in these heavy debates about "being black vs white". Let's be honest, if you are at least in your 20's and have a black or white friend, I would bet money that 98% of you have had a or many similar conversations in this area. Whether you're highly educated or not, this is a intellectually stimulating conversation for anyone. Nowadays, this conversation always comes up when Barack Obama is the headliner and you're sitting in a room with the other race. It's funny how race, not just viewpoints, quickly divides us when we talk about the president; at least in my "southern world" of living in Texas where you are grossly outnumbered if you bleed blue.
The vast majority of the Caucasions I know believe one thing: the black man has ruined our country. They may not say that outright, but it's implied in every accusation they can make. When I ask for one thing he's done right, they say nothing. Not even the capturing of Bin Laden, at the least, can roll off the tip of their tongue. I mean it is one of the few things his predecessor sought to do, but failed to achieve. So, before we even gage the conversation on why many blacks feel "blackballed" from the start in every position, especially professionals, that they hold- what a lot of Caucasians may never understand is that there exist for many people in society of all races a predetermined notion that black people will fail at what they do.
Even the very best and genuine of white people have a naive view about being black; for that matter, so do many black people. Even more striking, is that many white people also have a naive view about being white and they don't recognize it. The "good ole boy system" absolutely exist in every profession. A lot of promotions and deals happen on the golf course, during an occasion like a sports event, and/or over a drink. It's more about who you know than what you know; what you know might get you in the conversation but who you know will likely seal the deal.
The issue for blacks is often that we don't have that "inside track" heading in, because it's harder for us to get "in the circle". There's apprehension on both sides when it comes to building a relationship with a person of another race; our cultures and upbringings are often so obsolete that it takes time to break through those boundaries. However, it's easier and more acceptable for that matter, for a black person to allow a white person into their "circle" than it is a white person to do the same. The reason behind this is we, black people, know that white allegiances are often valuable. They sometimes give us an "in" where it would be more difficult to breakthrough. Even with the very best credentials and education, most black people have a harder time getting leadership positions over their counterparts who have equal or lesser qualifications. If you don't believe this, do the research on corporation or institutional leaders. Professional black people innately believe that we have to always dress, act, and work hard to stay afloat; there's less room for us to make too many mistakes. These are all ramifications of "blackballing".
On the other hand, this also happens to white people but in a different way. When a white person is ostracized from the "in-crowd" they are very confused by it. They don't understand how they could be on the "out" of their own "in". Take for example, a white colleague in the same position as you will have a much harder time dealing with slow promotion or exclusion. They will constantly say, "I don't understand why "they" don't value me. I don't understand why "they" treat me like I don't exist. I don't understand what "their" problem is with me." They will have a harder time recognizing any character flaws or voids in their work that may contribute to why "they" won't allow them in the "circle", or recognize they just don't fit the powers that be "in-crowd". They likely won't even realize that internally the issue is "they" don't understand why their own kind doesn't accept them. It's a reality I see everyday. This is also "blackballing" in a different form.
Recognize that we all live in a society of visible and invisible boundaries. If you feel stagnated because of who you are, no matter what race or sex, find another avenue to get to where you want to go. Remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side, but it may be better trimmed and have less weeds to sort through. Don't close off your opportunities because your too busy focusing on what's NOT going to change; sometimes you have to move along, to the left, or to the right to make things happen.
This is a "blackballing" life sometimes, but "blackballing" is just an experience- it's not the final say so. It's not worth the time to get caught-up in pointing the finger at the obvious. Press forward and build relationships with people because they bring a sense of purpose or value to your life.