A MESSAGE FROM RANDAL PINKETT AND JEFFREY ROBINSON ABOUT
BLACK FACES IN WHITE PLACES:
This is a wake-up call! We are troubled by the following fact: African Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. workforce. Yet, according to some sources, African Americans only hold between 3 percent and 4 percent of senior-level positions in Fortune 1000 companies today, a scant increase from 2.5 percent in 1995. Moreover, the average net worth of our households is a mere $19,000, compared to $121,000 for white households.
We wrote this book, Black Faces in White Places, and included the awe-inspiring examples of many successful Black men and women, to share strategies found to be most effective for African Americans to compete, win, and ultimately change for the better an ever-changing game.
When Randal became the first African American to win on The Apprentice, he also became the only contestant to be asked to share his victory—with a white woman. The request (and Randal’s subsequent refusal) set off a firestorm of controversy that inevitably focused on the issue of race in the American workplace and in society. This marked Randal’s nationally televised ‘Black Faces in White Places’ moment. Your ‘moment’ may not have been viewed on-air by millions of people, but if you’re Black, it’s likely you’ve had one. Perhaps you serve as the founder and CEO of a Black-owned business that constantly has to prove and re-prove itself to the marketplace while larger firms are allowed to fail without any repercussion. Perhaps you are one of the few, if not the only person of color in your department, division, or even company, and feel the weight of your race with regard to basic performance. If you fail, all Black people are considered failures. But if you succeed, you’re the exception! The range of such moments is as varied as we are a people. And at some point, we all will have our ‘moment’ when we are confronted with a challenge related to our race.
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