(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Scene: Pizza joint with Jordan and Rock Man discussing ideas to help get blacks off the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Initial episode for this section begins #67 “Why Do Blacks Remain at the Bottom of the Economic Ladder?”

Rock Man: “Jordan, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Are we making any progress?”
Jordan: “I’m sure this conversation seems as if we’re spending too much time covering stuff you think everyone knows.”
010114_1917_19RockManCo1.png Rock Man: “Yes, it is frustrating. When do we start making some real progress?”
Jordan: “You ever painted a room before the room was prepared properly?”
Rock Man: “Haven’t we all? What a disaster. After the first coat of paint I had to go back and fix some stuff. In the end it took me twice as long to paint the room as it would have had I spent more time preparing it properly.”
Jordan: “And how did the room look after all that extra work?”
Rock Man: “Room never did look right.”
paint_and_brush_clip_art_10540 Jordan: “Alright, let’s pretend this project is like painting a room. We need to make sure we take enough time to prepare.”
Rock Man: “OK, I’ll be patient. What’s next?”
Jordan: “Where do people in the black community get information?” What’s the most credible source of info?”
Rock Man: “Good questions. I don’t know.”
Jordan: “Where do you think kids get info?”
Rock Man: “Like all kids, everyplace but their parents. Let’s see – friends, social media, school, TV, some internet sites.”
Jordan: “And who do the kids trust most?”
Rock Man: “When all said and done probably an adult they respect and trust. One thing to get info from your friends. But kids are not stupid. They know adults have more knowledge about a lot of issues.”
Jordan: “So the key to getting info to the kids is twofold: a credible source and relatively easy access.”
Rock Man: “Kids need to be willing to talk to these adults without fear of retribution.”
Jordan: “What we need to figure out is what type of person kids will listen to and talk to.”
Rock Man: “Don’t know why I thought of this but we need a “Dear Abby” for black kids.
Jordan: “…and one for adults.”
Rock Man: “Maybe there is one. That’s the kind of information you miss out on when you live outside the US for a while.”
Jordan: “Who can become the ‘Dear Abby’ in the different neighborhoods?”
Rock Man: “Let’s go back to the basics. Historically, who has been the ‘go to’ person for advice?”
Jordan: “Teachers and preachers?”
Rock Man: “We could start a program called TAP – teachers and preachers.”
Jordan: “Our theme — ‘Listen to TAP, not rap.”
Rock Man: “Kids are going to listen to rap no matter what we say. But let’s get someone to write some rap lyrics about TAP.”
Jordan: “We can change to ‘Need to rap? Try TAP.’…or something like that.”
Rock Man: “Now we have the foundation for a promotion program. I like it. ‘Need to rap? Try TAP.’”
Jordan: “As they say in advertising business, the idea has ‘legs’. Lots of potential variations. Let’s move on.”
Rock Man: “What’s next?”
Jordan: “Trying to decide. Several items we would normally discuss – production, profit, penetration.”
Rock Man: “Any of those really apply to this project?”
Jordan: “Probably not now. Let’s try another key item, then we can take a break. Passion.”
Rock Man: “Passion by whom? And passion for what?”
passion Jordan: “Passion for change. Does the black community want to make change? Without the passion to address and overcome some major barriers, this program will never be a success.”
Rock Man: “Are you saying ‘you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink?”
Jordan: “Exactly. Furthermore, someone in the black community needs to take the lead and start promoting the idea of real change.”
Rock Man: “Thought we weren’t ready for solutions, yet.”
Jordan: “We’re not. But we need to have some understanding whether the black community really wants to change…and is willing to make the necessary sacrifices for changes to occur.”
Rock Man: “Seems like an odd question. Why wouldn’t the black community want to change? The current situation is anything but ideal, even after the revenge revolution.”
Jordan: “I agree it seems obvious the black community would want to change. I also know reality. Some people in very difficult…even dire…circumstances resist change.”
Rock Man: “Give me an example.”
Jordan: “Look at the Palestinians in the West Bank and especially Gaza. Do you see any real effort to make change? The answer is ‘no.’”
Rock Man: “Are you saying Israel has no fault in this situation?”
child_suicide_bomber Jordan: “You can find fault on both sides and passion on both sides. When one looks at the type of passion, the differences are dramatic. The passion of many Palestinians is about complete destruction of another society, Israel. The Palestinians are so passionate they are willing to sacrifice their own people…even its own children…to destroy the other society.”
Rock Man: “I agree that a society has a warped sense of value when parents cheer when their own children die blowing up themselves and others nearby.”
Jordan: “Passionately cheering when your children die is set of values that is not only hard to understand but eliminates the possibility of any real solution.”
Rock Man: “You’re not implying the black community is like many of the Palestinians are you?”
Jordan: “No. But the behavior of the Palestinians is one of the reasons I suggested earlier the black community is doing itself no favors by allowing so many members to convert to Islam. Have passion, yes. Have misguided passion, no. Misguided passion will make problems worse.”
Rock Man: “You’re really asking if there is enough passion…positive passion…in the black community to address problems facing the community.”
Jordan: “That’s exactly what I am saying.”
Rock Man: “Let’s go back to painting the room. We need to check the passion of the black community. Is the community willing to address problems and take the time to develop and implement proper solutions?”
Jordan: “We are talking about a program that is likely to take several generations. Lots of discipline. No shortcuts. And, like painting the room, the preparation often will be tedious, even boring at times.”
Rock Man: “We need to find out if the community is ready.”
Jordan: “Rock Man, I think you just turned into a painter.”
(To be continued)