This is Dedicated to All the Intelligent Thinking Black men out here who have harnessed their will and Intelligence and defied the Odds of Death , Incarceration and Situational Marginalization. It’s Time to consider synergizing your efforts in way that Kirigakure Jones, a good friend of mine calls “Being in a position of Maximum Advantage and Safety.”
When you are a Successful Black man in the Western world, the Culture Influences you into two general positions in society as the Token or the Sellout. I would argue such positions serve to monitor and control you at a deeper level , subtlety and you really have to consider the environment you stay in. It seems the western world seeks to influence and guide Smart, Talented Black men into Controlled positions or Isolated Positions , so that they are limited in working and planning unencumbered with other Smart, Talented Black men.
Tokens are Smart and Talented Black men that have worked very hard and have earned a high position in corporate and professional entities that have very few if any black men in them. While this is not a bad thing, It comes with an isolating environment. Such a man has to be very careful not to be too radical or revolutionary, even if such an attitude or approach to his life may be what’s needed to be more free about the life he desires to live. He has to live with a level of discipline or compromise that other more free individuals may not have to live and he may often feel that unfulfillment as he progresses in his position. He is also at the mercy of that specific situation professionally as he cannot guarantee he will find the same or better position at another institution or power structure.
Sellouts are an extreme form of the Token. Its when a token compromises himself so much he fully Concedes and Conforms to the current power structure that he is in and unfortunately becomes an agent to it in that the Success of another Black man in the environment is seen as a threat to him. This may be only a misplaced perception, or a more deliberate coercion by the power structure on him, nevertheless this attitude facilitates a false sense of security with a maximum level of compromise. I would argue the thing the sellout is seeking to avoid is even more of a stronger concern for him than the Token. He is still at the mercy of that specific situation professionally as he cannot guarantee he will find the same or better position at another institution or power structure. He’s just more willing to position another Black man to be sacrificed, or reprimanded or destroyed in his place.
So what’s the better Approach?
Be the Sleeper. The Sleeper is the Smart Black man that excels in his current environment but thinks out a plan to shift his personal and professional environments that makes him less beholden to anyone or anything. He may spend time in another power structure as a job or organization, but he develops The Plan, The Process , and The Associations with people like him to actually create that. Thankfully, it seems this is becoming more common as Black men realize the Token and Sellout approaches to life are not creating the security and advantage the past few generations of Successful, Talented, Smart Black men thought it would. It’s time for a different Approach and in part 2 I will lay out a framework any aware Black Man can use to shift and keep momentum as a Sleeper until its time to fully manifest a life more Free, Secure, and Advantageous for you. Get Ready!