“What do we mean by Black Faces in White Places? It is more than just a numbers game and being the only person of color in a predominantly white environment. It is more than being subjected to racism and discrimination based on the color of your skin.
“It is even more than being a ‘Black first.’ It is, in fact, about pursuing greatness in ways that leverage your culture and ethnicity as assets, not as liabilities.“—(Black Faces in White Places: Introduction. p. 9)
In his pathbreaking book, The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why Do Prosperous Blacks Still Have the Blues? (1993), Newsweek columnist and contributing editor, Ellis Cose illustrated how the American Dream has remained a dream deferred for many black college grads—for even those with advanced degrees.
The problem is that academic achievement is no guarantee for career success in one’s chosen profession, given the existence of the ‘old-boy network’ which continues to flourish, and frustrate the aspirations of so many blacks endeavoring to climb the corporate ladder.
As a journalist, privileged to have access to many celebrities, a question I often ask in interviews with African-American captains of industry is how they manage their achievements in a predominantly white environment while so many of their talented black contemporaries have failed to move up.
Now, finally, thanks to Randal Pinkett, a winner of the Donald Trump’s show, ‘The Apprentice’, we have a book that provides us with some good answers to this intriguing question. In collaboration with his longtime business partner, Jeffrey Robinson, Pinkett has presented a viable blueprint for blacks seeking their rightful place in corporate America.
Black Faces opens with a discussion of what the authors call the four dimensions, namely, identity, meritocracy, society and opportunity; the critical workplace issues African-Americans find themselves grappling with. The core content of the book delineates the “10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness.” The reader is served some very practical guidance and sage advice put together from their own experiences and those of dozens of other successful black contemporaries they interviewed for the project.
Briefly, the books ten commandments cover a wide range: from emphasis on excellence to the value of seeking out the wisdom of mentors to maximizing synergy and scale.
This is a helpful handbook designed for the average African-American, who though armed with credentials is yet ill equipped to flourish in the midst of a corporate culture fraught with intolerance based on skin color.
Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness
by Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson with Philana Patterson
Amacom Books, Hardcover, $24.95, 288 pages
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