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Black Faces in White Places

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Black Faces in White Places

10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How African-Americans can clear the obstacles they encounter and change the world

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  • Applicable


African-Americans face singular obstacles. To succeed, often they must be twice as good at what they do as nonblacks or nonminorities. Business consultants Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson direct their clear advice to black professionals, entrepreneurs and others who want to build success and leave the world better than they found it. The authors’ counsel proves universal for anyone in the workforce and can make a difference at every career stage. getAbstract recommends this manual as a valuable career resource – crucial for, but not limited to, its targeted African-American audience.


“A Black Face in a White Place”

When Donald Trump declared author Randal Pinkett the winner of the US television show The Apprentice, Trump posed a question that the tycoon had never before put to a participant. He asked Pinkett, who is black, if he should hire both Pinkett and the second-place finalist, a woman who was white. Pinkett said no, because the show’s name was The Apprentice, not The Apprenti, so Trump named him the sole winner. Pinkett had faced an archetypal “Black Faces in White Places moment.” Pinkett’s confident response kept Trump from using race as an excuse to change the rules of the game after the author had played and won.

African-Americans must play “the ever-changing game” in which they strive to meet ambitious goals in their business and personal lives but encounter unfair obstacles and unwritten rules. Black people should learn to use their skin color and traditions as “assets, not as liabilities.” Doing so means “mastering the game.” Black faces working in white places deal with professional issues in four dimensions:

  1. “Identity” – Does society see you only as black? Is that how you would...

About the Authors

A Rhodes Scholar and frequent public speaker, Randal Pinkett is chairman and CEO of the consulting firm BCT Partners. The author of Campus CEO, he holds five degrees including a PhD in media arts from MIT. BCT co-founder Dr. Jeffrey Robinson is a professor at Rutgers Business School.

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    A. J. 5 years ago
    I would add, learn how the race-based system was set up and works to maintain the situation faced by the "blackface" discussed in this article. Understand that laws on the books have for centuries helped justify and serve to perpetually disenfranchise indigenous peoples of the Americas and those peoples forcibly removed and confined in the Americas and Westernized world.

    E.g., Papal Bulls; Virginia Act 1682, 1705; Black Christian Codes 1724; Integrity Racial Act 1924, etc. in the USA; and similar laws existing in other countries.

    Only then can the "black" face in the "white" place (largely derived from "black faces") actually determine their responsibility for their designation within a system they did not create, in light of the facts, and then decide how they may proceed as suggested.