Hanh mitakuyapi. Recently, I was speaking to a group of non-Indns about micro-business and there was a heckler who said, “You have a lot of nerve, talking to us about micro-business and how to be a success while staying small. You’re an IN-di-an! What would you people know about success? You’re all on welfare!”
I love hecklers. First, they are both stupid, and ignorant. I define ‘ignorance’ as, ‘not knowing a thing is wrong, so you do it’; while ‘stupidity’ is, ‘knowing a thing is wrong, so you do it anyway’. Obviously, ignorance is easier to diminish than stupidity is, and it is less entrenched. It’s about attitude as much as anything.
My response to the heckler was, “I do have a lot of nerve. I have At-ti-tude! I am an Uppitty Indn. In fact, I am the Parade Marshall for the Uppity Indns of this land. I have people like you to thank for helping me get it. As for ‘all’ of any group being on welfare – that’s as obviously ignorant as saying that all white people are all intelligent and/or educated. You prove this statement wrong, all by yourself, because if there’s one exception, the word ‘all’ doesn’t apply. I can run off dozens of names of ITI who are not on welfare, and never have been. But is that important? Not really. There are people from every race who started life in poverty but who ended up wealthy, although not all of them had mere money to mark their wealth. You could have millions of dollars, but as ignorant as you obviously are, you would be in more-terrible poverty than those without a pot to piddle in or a window to throw it out of. As for the term “you people” – it’s such a stupid remark as to not deserve the dignity of further response, so we’ll go on now.”
After the talk was over, several people came up and told me how embarrassed they were at the heckling, and they wondered if they could screen out such people in the future. I told them not to, because such people are actually begging to be educated about a subject. Their delivery just needs Work.
Two others came up – last. Surprise, surprise, they were Indns would could pass – and often do. At certain times, I’ve been able to pass, but have not done so. To me, it’s dishonest. Either you are proud of yourself or you aren’t, but if racism rears its ugly head, it doesn’t stick on me.. It sticks on the bigot. It’s about attitude.
Anyway, they told me that they almost hadn’t come, because I have a reputation for being a radical speaker. (Jeeh, I hope so!) They were glad they did, because there were things I said about attitude that stuck with them, and they believed those things were responsible for their lack of comfort – and therefore, if success – in their micro-businesses.
I pointed out in my talk that teachings about “attitude” are not unique to me.. My Grandmother Pearl hounded me with, “No one can make a doormat of you unless you let ’em.” My relatives were all manic about the Green Bay Packers, and Vince Lombardi, the coach who ‘made’ them a world-championship team, with his teachings about attitude. He made his players learn a poem that said in part, “In life as in sports, the race goes not to the swifter or stronger man, it goes to the man who thinks he can!” Attitude. My own observation about attitude is, “Everyone has an attitude. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle. But your attitude is your magic carpet to wherever you go. Vince Lombardi taught, “If you think you can’t do it, you’re right; you can’t. But someone else can. And they will, if they believe they can.”
Some business whiz has taught that location is everything. I disagree. I believe it’s about At-ti-tude. Maybe that’s why, even when my businesses haven’t gone as well as anyone would like, I haven’t been too bent about ‘conditions being wrong’ or ‘the market’ or…. My attitude is, “I am a Master of The End Run. I specialize in End Runs. I may not be able to leap tall buildings, or even small ones, but I can still cut a hole, dig under, hustle around the ends, put up a ladder and climb over, or put in a door. Just so long as I get where I’m going – In A Good Way.”
Minoritys have huge obstacles to get over, under, around, or through – no collateral a bank would want, no credit rating, lack of confidence in their ability to get past obstacles, etc. But to me, the only one that really matters is attitude. If a minority person / group lacks confidence in their ability to get where they’re going, they aren’t likely to get there.
Now – how do we, as a micro-business entrepreneurial group, help them fix that attitude? We can’t if we’re not allowed or wanted to, but those who don’t want our help either don’t need it or plan to win or lose on their own hook. But what about the ones who need help fixing their attitude and do want it? How do we en-courage them?