On Intelligent Black Folks

29 Jan

Hat Tip to NewsOne

This one by RK Byers which poses an interesting question –

Do Intelligent Black People Have A Harder Time?

James Baldwin once wrote, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” Now imagine being a particularly intelligent ‘Negro’ (and some of you don’t have to imagine.) You’d pick up on every racist slight and you’d catch every joke that was intended to go over your head. You’d be, in a sense, a living piñata, being beaten by people who never even realized that you were alive.

You, the intelligent Black, would seemingly have two options—both of them bad.

  1. You could try to prove your intelligence to white people. This sucks for two reasons: the first is that it presupposes that every white person has an intellect that is worthy of your proving equal to. Second, it puts whites in the position of using their respect for your intellect as a sort of ‘carrot on a stick’ whereas no matter how smart you prove yourself, you could never possibly be smart enough.
  2. You could take the Lincoln Perry route, disguise your intelligence, rename yourself something like Stepin Fetchit, and make money giving the stereotype believers what they want. Perry, a literate, thoughtful, educated and intelligent man, played a complete buffoon onscreen and made millions. That route’s gonna take a toll on your soul, though. Look what it did to Stepin Fetchit.

So what’s the deal smart black folks?


Posted by on January 29, 2010 in The Post-Racial Life


Tags: , , , , ,

10 responses to “On Intelligent Black Folks

  1. DW Jazzlover

    January 29, 2010 at 2:51 AM

    Ask me where I am going, I will tell you where I been!Ask me where I have been I will tell you where I’am going…


  2. CNu

    January 29, 2010 at 7:02 AM

    So what’s the deal smart black folks?

    absolutely priceless….,


  3. brotherbrown

    January 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    Sound a bit dated to me. Or possibly, I was lucky enough to be reared by parents and in a household where intelligence was an expectation.


  4. nanakwame

    January 29, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Our prophet is being read, oh oh watch out. When I stopped proving to the white male, first, then to all, I became free.


    • btx3

      January 29, 2010 at 1:22 PM

      It’s still a battle in my occupation – but it is getting better as black entrepreneurs outperform their white counterparts. In the small companies I deal with, the principal value is in the Intellectual Property (inventions, trademarks, patents, etc,), and the abilities of the management team. Convincing investors of the team’s capabilities, and the viability of the IP is still a bigger mountain to climb, resulting in a lower investment rate into black originated startups. Sometime in my next several blogs I’ll talk about how black buying power should be influencing that in high-tech, and it isn’t – and one of the successful Black founded Venture Capital companies.


  5. brotherbrown

    January 29, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    I don’t think it’s the intelligence barrier you have to overcome, however. The fact that you get into the room means your intelligence is respected. Convincing money people that the fruits of your intelligence have a commercial viability is your challenge, which is another matter.


    • btx3

      January 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

      Can tell you about some funny situations re: that IQ factor, and people’s assumptions. Did a major deal some years ago, wherein I was the Chief Technical Officer. The technical conversation in that one took less than 5 minutes, in a room of 3 or 4 guys with some serious chops in technology.

      Other deals have never been able to move the investors, and I’ve occasionally used white partners to do the technical, just to get through the BS.

      I get in the door because I’ve been successful at some of the things I’ve done and created.

      That is a much harder case for the newbies who are just starting out.


  6. nanakwame

    January 29, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    All small business should be influence, you may have to have a link with servicing businesses. When I went to my elders and told them that I could digtal there office they looked at me as I was nuts. Called Virtual Assistant now
    Plus some would have to fire family. When I was down south, they gave us the health collection start-up money and mirco loans and we contended to the black colleges in 1987. Think in small digital office and teams but think on the synergy level, which means on your leading team you have will have an asian or a bright geeky black woman.


    • btx3

      January 29, 2010 at 5:41 PM

      Never worked with a “bright geeky black woman”, Nana. Although I have worked with a number of East and South Asians, who – like anyone else can be brilliantly visionary, or just plain stupid.

      Creating new technology, or creating new ways that technology can work isn’t something taught in schools. I’m not sure it is teachable. The more regimented out education system becomes…

      The less likely it is to develop visionary individuals.


  7. nanakwame

    January 29, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Connected to black colleges – it should read



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