We All Need to Be American

My heart goes to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and all of the other African Americans and First Nation Peoples of this country who were/have been senselessly persecuted, raped, and murdered. However, it is time we stopped re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic and confronted real problem - the root cause as opposed to the effects, and admit that America was founded on racism, genocide, colonialism, persecution, and slavery, and that in some segments of our country it continues today. Furthermore, it is time to stop the finger-pointing and apportioning blame as we are ALL to blame.

We are no longer a society of Americans working and collaborating toward a common goal as we have become a country of disparate cultures, competing against each other out of greed or need. It is time for us all to become American and to get down to the work required to fix the underlying systemic problem. 

If America wishes to heal, everyone within it needs to be American first and culturally respectful of their heritage second. That means being American first and African American, Asian American, White American, Hispanic American, etc. etc., second. The only segment of society with any right to use their cultural heritage first is our First Nation People, but even then they put “American” first. 

“We the People of The United States” - a now globally recognized genesis for what has become the world’s latest Superpower. “We the People” (notice it was not “us, you, and them the people”), signed by 56 men who as a group were reflective of the times in being all white, all male and all but one upholding a protestant doctrine. Since then, however, that lack of diversity (race, religion, gender, sexuality etc.) has continued in our country’s highest office with only one non-protestant (JFK) and only one American of Color holding the seat of President. One can argue that there has not been much change in leadership over the past +/- 240 years and that itself needs to change. 

What has changed is the cultural diversity that now makes up America. America was built upon collaboration and we must fundamentally return to a society that collaborates under a common goal instead of competing as a group of disparate cultures that are:

Distrustful of Each Other

Stereotypes are like a terminal disease as they fester under the surface until one group of people wishes to blame another, usually out of jealousy and or fear. For centuries one stereotype of Jews has been the old miser with a big nose hoarding over his pile of money. The reality is that most Jewish success comes from the fact that as a race they support each other, believe in family values, expect very high education standards and work ethics from their youth. Do a minority of Jewish people rip off others, sure they do but so do a minority within every other race.

Not the Same

Dr. King was right when he said all wo/men are born equal but frankly that is only in the eyes of God. The reality is that that the surroundings they are born into are not equal, nor are they the same. Diversity makes the world what it is and thankfully so as it would be pretty boring if we were all exactly alike. The way we convene, our religious beliefs, our food choices, the way we celebrate, our role models, the way we talk, dress etc., make us different but we must stop judging each other for being different. Additionally, an American born in a tenement building in a ghetto does not have the same opportunity as an American born in an affluent area like Beverly Hills, period, end of the story - no matter what color they are!

Poles Apart in Opportunity

The movie Captain Phillips recently brought to light the plight of many Somalians as they try to find a way to feed their families subsequent to their government selling their livelihood to the Japanese fishing fleets. Were their actions as Pirates wrong, damn right, but until the movie, very few people asked themselves why anyone in their right mind would venture way out to sea in a tiny boat full of gas tanks (to get there and back) only to get shot at while trying to hijack a ship hundreds of times their size? Now liken this back to why sectors of society commit crime in the US e.g. why was Eric Garner selling illegal cigarettes in the first place as whatever caused him to do need that is the root cause of the problem.

We Are Not Paragons of Virtue

What we did to our First Nation's People's and the African American experience we created are both a disgrace and a blot on our own history. If we forget, it will happen again.

All Guilty of Committing Crime

It is a fact that the majority of white-collar and civil crimes are committed by white people and it is also a fact that the majority of criminal assaults etc. are committed by non-whites. Criminals from one demographic of society believe they are educated enough to steal in a manner where they can (and often do) get away with it while criminals from other demographic sectors tend to rely on brawn. We cannot dare think for one moment that the crimes committed that led to the collapse of the financial markets and thus Americans committing suicide because they lost everything are not as bad as a gang of criminals shooting someone. In one instance we have greed and in another, it is often need. 

Entitlement is the "Guilt Trip" of Extraction

All too often we want to focus on the effects and not the cause. For centuries we have not only extracted resources from the planet, but we have also extracted indigenous peoples lands and assets, but also other people's free labour, capital, and horrifyingly the hopes, dreams and even the very souls of segments of our community. The result has been a level of economic vibrancy within segments of our country that is close to zero and this is the cause of the problems we see. We can focus on gentrification, food deserts, lack of access to appropriate healthcare, education and transportation, etc,. etc,. all we want, but if we do not fix the cause, we will never make anything work.

Our answer (our guilt trip) to all of the above has been the entitlement programs we put in place to provide people with enough to survive but not to thrive. Some say, and I agree, that Entitlement is the guilt trip of Extraction and until we switch the latter to insertion, the former can never become empowerment and it is only by empowering people with the knowledge, information, tools, context, contacts, confidence and capital required to fix the problems that we will see the changes that are needed. I teach a free Impact Entrepreneurship class to people who live in areas of low economic vibrancy and I can unequivocally say that those living the problems actually have the solutions so it is time we believed in them, trusted them and realized what they are capable of when given a chance.

One of the most profound effects of the cause is rooted in the disparities found within education and family values and it is up to ALL Americans to help change that. I am tired of hearing about the "school to prison pipeline" as that by inference places blame on teachers, how about the womb to prison pipeline, loading responsibility on anyone having a child from day 1.

Below are the 2014 statistics (I can hear the screams now “lies, damn lies and statistics but I am throwing politically correct out of the window and dealing with reality) compiled by the US Census Bureau on the percentage of single-parent families within different race demographics:

  • Black or African American 64%

  • Hispanic 39%

  • Asian 17%

  • White 29%

I hear the screams about incarceration but that goes back to the cause. The above data is being correlated with other meaningful statistics e.g. the percentage of the above race demographics that:

  • Graduate high school 

  • Graduate college

  • Are in full-time employment

  • Enter the military

  • Commit crimes

  • Are on welfare

Note: This project is being treated from the perspective of we are all American and hence if any sector of American society (our society) has a problem and needs help we are all responsible for fixing it. As John Muir so eloquently said “if one tugs at something in nature one will find it is attached to the rest of the world”. 

Update: Our global research leave us with no hesitation to state that poverty is a business model and that the root cause fo many of the problems faced in marginalized communities is a lack of economic vibrancy. 

To fix the cause we need:

1. All cultural leaders to stop apportioning blame on other cultures and focus their time and energy on working within their own ecosystems to start solving the problems from within. Of course this is somewhat counter-intuitive as if successful many of them will put themselves out of a job.

2. The majority of people within each culture must take more responsibility for the actions of the minority within their cultures and move to become a part of the solution and stop ignoring the problem

3. It's time for us to put as much or more effort into reaching across the cultural aisle as we used to put into reaching across the political aisle. Private sector demographics and cultures with more abundance should find more efficient and effective ways to support those with less i.e. help fellow Americans.

4. We as citizens must work on collaboration and community as Americans and not as White Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans etc., etc. 

5. The most important work will be to empower (not entitle) all citizens people with the knowledge, information, tools, context, contacts and avenues to appropriate capital to build for-profit business purposed to fix social, economic, and or environmental problems within their community. Every person should be given the option to choose whether or not they participate in, and personal benefit from, contributing to the development of a community that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. By rising economic vibrancy things like healthcare, education, job opportunities, transportation etc., will improve. Additionally, food deserts, crime, and gentrification, etc will be reduced. 

If we are not prepared to be honest about and focus on the root of the problem then we must settle for where we are headed and stop complaining. America is on the precipice of the point of no return which is to either remain ‘The United States of America” or become “The Warring Cultures of America”.

We already have a groundswell of non-Americans who wish to destroy us so we had better come together and collaborate as a nation of Americans and help each other to unify our country under a common cause. There are plenty of past Superpower leaders who if alive toady would urge us to heed that advice.

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Get to know more about Stuart by visiting www.inplaceimpact.com. Please direct all requests for speaking engagements to: Emily@inplaceimpact.com

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© 2016 by Stuart M. Williams, LLC