I’ve got a few things on my mind, and they aren’t what you think…

by jeffhilimire on October 5, 2012

It’s important to me that this blog remains a window into my thoughts and feelings; what I’m experiencing or have experienced in the past. I know that posting something like this is likely to alienate people who read this blog and are looking for thoughts on new technology, or startups and entrepreneurship, or agency life, but its important enough and its something that I’m wrestling with and I needed to express it here. So for those that do, thanks for hanging with me.

As I mentioned recently, I’m in the midst of reading, “Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn”, a history of Atlanta told through the lives of a white family and a black family. It’s a book that was suggested to me in the opening retreat for Leadership Atlanta and to say I’m enjoying it would be an understatement. I’m loving it. I’ve even gotten past the fact that its a 600-page actual book (no Kindle version exists).

The books on my list. Reading "The New Jim Crow" at the moment and its blowing my mind.

At the same time I’ve started reading, “The New Jim Crow”. This book was suggested to me during a Leadership Atlanta event as well, but not at the opening retreat which was filled with fun, laughter and good times, but rather at the Race Awareness weekend, which was filled with anything but fun, laughter and good times. Those two days have changed me, for the better, and forever.

My eyes are opening. I can’t even say that they’re “opened” because I seem to learn more every day. What blows me away is that I never even realized that I was blind in the first place.

The racial inequalities that exist in our society are overwhelming. I’m not talking about blatant racism. I’m not even talking about people that just have hate in their hearts for anyone that looks or acts different from them and their family. I’m talking about the system itself.

I get asked the question from young people sometimes, “What do you wish you knew when you were just getting started in your career?“. The answer is now much more clear to me.

What am I going to do about it? I’m not sure yet. For now, I’m going to continue to learn. Reading these books, having more conversations, being more aware, all of these things will help me figure out how I can help move us on the right path.

The honest truth? I’ve heard most of this before. Its so easy to shrug off comments about how the system is slanted heavily in the favor of people like me – white males – and point to the successes we’ve had with race relations in this country. I heard what people said, but I never listened.

Well, I’m listening now.

Send to Kindle
  • http://twitter.com/a_la_amelia Angie Terrell

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeff. Sounds like your reading list is quite long. But if you could add more, two of my favorite authors and books that really changed my life are:
    James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son”
    Lorraine Hansberry & James Baldwin’s “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black”.

    These books are amazing, historic and still very timely.

  • jdcmorgan

    Love this post. I’m forwarding this to my Employment Law professor from UGA. What you describe is almost exactly how I felt during/after taking her course. You may be thinking, “Employment Law?, WTH does that have to do with racial inequality?!” Well to be honest, it technically shouldn’t have anything to do with it, but it DOES. Our professor (Dr. Bennett-Alexander, or as we called her, “Dr B-A”) did such an amazing job of “opening eyes” as you’re describing above. Kudos to you for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/NVEchols Noah Echols

    I’m really glad to see someone in your position is taking on these issues. Kudos.

  • Pingback: What I learned from Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer (via Leadership Atlanta)

  • Pingback: The advice I give to anyone that lives in Atlanta to do every year until they retire

Previous post:

Next post: