(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. )

Initial episode for this section begins #67 “Why Do Blacks Remain at the Bottom of the Economic Ladder?”

Scene: Jordan returns from break and continues discussion with JC.

Jordan: “Yes mother…I mean JC…I washed my hands.”
010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpg JC: “Now that’s a good boy. Now, back to more serious issues. Where does this project go from here?”
Jordan: (phone rings) “Excuse me, JC, we might have an answer to your question. (Answers phone.) “Rock Man, what’s up?”
Rock Man: “Called to get some advice. You got a few minutes?”
Jordan: “Having coffee with JC. You guys have met before, haven’t you?”
JC: “Yes. Please tell Rock Man I said hello. And take your time on the call. This might be important.”
Jordan: “JC says hi. She also said to take our time.”
010114_1917_19RockManCo1.png Rock Man: “I heard. I also heard this conversation might be important. What am I in for now?”
Jordan: “You called so you go first. By the way, I’m putting you on the speaker so JC can hear.”
Rock Man: “The rebranding project is a good idea but I think we need to reconsider the timing.”
Jordan: “What’s the issue?”
Rock Man: “We seem to be missing a beginning step. The project needs a rallying cry to get people’s attention.”
Jordan: “Funny you mention that. JC and I were discussing something very similar.”
Rock Man: “Good. At least I’m not out in left field in my thinking.”
Jordan: “You come up with a rallying cry?”
Rock Man: “Not really. I wanted to talk to you first. You come up with one?
Jordan: “Let me ask you the same question I asked JC. When I say the name Aretha Franklin, what comes to mind?”
Aretha-aretha-franklin-27121751-1280-1024 Rock Man: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
Jordan: “Exactly. And you don’t sing any better than JC.”
Rock Man: “So you’re thinking the black community lacks respect? That’s pretty damning criticism.”
Jordan: “I don’t make that implication lightly, believe me. And besides you’ve known me long enough to know I choose my words carefully.”
Rock Man: “How did you decide the need for respect?”
Jordan: “The catalyst was events in Ferguson, MO.”
Rock Man: “What part. Surely you don’t believe the police were justified in killing that kid.”
Jordan: “No. My analysis goes several steps deeper. Blaming the police might be justified. But issues are broader based. When the issues are sorted out, there is one fact staring everyone in the face.”
Rock Man: “And what’s that?”
Jordan: “People need to take responsibility for correcting what they think is a problem. Blaming someone else does not solve the problem.”
Rock Man: “You’ve lost me.”
Jordan: “Ferguson is about 75% black yet has a white mayor and white majority of city council members. Either the mayor or city council likely selects the chief of police, who is also white.”
Rock Man: “…and…”
Jordan: “Think about what I just said. Three of every four citizens are black and they cannot elect a black mayor or get a majority of city council? That tells me most black residents in Ferguson don’t care who’s governing the city because…”
Rock Man: “…because they don’t vote.”
voting Jordan: “Now we are on the same page. Not voting and/or not doing anything to correct a situation means to me that you don’t respect yourself or respect the system.”
Rock Man: “Voting is a bit abstract and a bit of an academic argument. You have an example that is more concrete?”
Jordan: “What about looting and burning stores in your own neighborhood? That shows blatant disrespect for your family and your neighbors.”
Rock Man: “I agree looting and burning stuff in the neighborhood is stupid…really stupid.”
Jordan: “See where I ‘m headed with this conversation?”
Rock Man: “Yeah. Some examples from our earlier conversations are making much more sense now.”
Jordan: “Keep going.”
ladder Rock Man: “If people want to start moving off the bottom rung of the economic ladder, they first need to start respecting themselves.”
Jordan: “Yes.”
Rock Man: “With self-respect, people will begin to look differently at tasks that might seem frustrating, difficult, or even demeaning. But with self-respect they can tackle the tasks with their head held high.”
Jordan: “Yes.”
Rock Man: “Take education. One idea would be to encourage everyone in the black community to get a high-school education, no matter how old they are.”
Jordan: “Great idea.”
Rock Man: “With self-respect people could take whatever job or jobs necessary to make ends meet and/or help kids get an education?”
Jordan: “You are on a roll.”
Rock Man: “Strongly encourage people to stay away from drugs and stop others from doing stupid acts.”
Jordan: “What else?”
Rock Man: “As we talked earlier, play football and basketball in college for a scholarship, then use the education for a job and not go to the NFL and NBA.”
Jordan: “You know I like that idea but a tough sell.”
Rock Man: “Begin rebuilding neighborhoods with black-owned businesses.”
Jordan: “Yes.”
Rock Man: “Make the church more of a center of the community.”
preacher Jordan: “Yes. And you know what Rock Man? You’re starting to sound like a preacher man.”
Rock Man: “How would you know what a preacher man sounds like? But I hear you.”
Jordan: “Do me a favor…no do the black community a favor and this country a favor, please.”
Rock Man: “I’m afraid to ask what.”
Jordan: “Spend some time thinking about how to launch the effort to rebrand the black community. Start the rebranding effort with ‘respect’ as the rallying cry.”
Rock Man: “Alright but I need some time to pull a plan together.”
Jordan: “Thanks. Rock Man. Thanks very much. Talk later.”
Jordan: “Whadda think JC?”
JC: “Well, I think this might be the beginning of a very interesting and productive relationship.”

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