Would things REALLY be different if the shoe was on the other foot?

Hey You,

It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.

Just the other day I came across an blog post titled “Social Media – It’s not just for white folks” written by Danny Brown which was inspired by Jay Baer’s, from the site Convince and Convert, piece titled Blinded By The White: Social media and diversity.

Being that I’m not a white folk, my ears kind of perked. I wanted to see what all this “Racism” talk was about.

Here’s Jay Baer’s response to a comment on Danny post that pretty much summarizes what his post was about…

Thanks Danny.

My observation was just that, an observation that the big SXSW social media parties were mostly White. As is the Power 150 for that matter.

I’m not sure why I would need research to back that up. Are there minorities in social media? Of course. Are they often getting the signature speaking gigs, plum corporate jobs, and first-tier consulting assignments? I say not usually. I hope I’m wrong.

I’m glad I raised awareness of the issue.

Danny Brown’s viewpoint was that SxSW isn’t representative of social

media as a whole and he pointed out many places online where Latinos and blacks are using social media effectively. And he used stats to show that despite the attendance of SxSW, white people aren’t dominating social media.

As of the time I’m writing this post, 93 comments had been made on it. Here’s what I chirped in with…

This is an awesomely charged topic to bring up Danny!

What I thought about while I was reading it was the fact that no white person has ever told I couldn’t do something to provide value online.

Nor have they ever told me I couldn’t pay them money to attend an event.

Nor have they told me I couldn’t buy their product that would give me the blueprint to their success.

As a matter of fact, I believe the online savvy 25-39 aged crowd is more tolerant than any other in the history of time.

These kids know nothing of segregation (in America at least). Yeah, there’s racists but if you stand up and beat your chest about it today, and you have any kind of influence, you’re public enemy #1 REAL FAST.

I can’t speak for all races but my lack of getting computer savvy had nothing to do with the color of my skin or my mom being a drug addict on welfare. It had everything with me not giving a shit about being computer/web savvy. At least not until I got older and saw how I could use this skill to provide an income for myself.

Even though my mom was broke, our schools still had access to computers and I had access to people who could show me how to use them. Hell, at 14 I even had access to a job washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant that gave me more than enough money to buy a computer for myself… if I would’ve wanted to.

But no, I chose to spend all my money on weed, booze, clothes and CD’s.

Once again, can’t speak for all cultures, but in the one I grew up in, “computers was stuff that nerdy white people liked”.

Had nothing to do with them having money to buy computers. Shit, we lived in a little dungeon but we damn sure had the premium cable package with HBO, SHOWTIME and THE MOVIE CHANNEL. And that trend in lower income cultures hasn’t ended. It only changed to the person having a satellite attached to their trailer.

But as more people, like myself, become aware of all the possibilities the internet and computers open up for you, the more you’ll see guru’s of all cultures emerge.

And we’re already seeing this due to explosion of smart phones which, in my mind are mini-computers you can fit in your breast pocket.

Here’s Danny’s response to my comment…

Hey there Lewis,

You know, you might just be onto something here. Obviously economics can play a large part in how people get online, and what the experience is like, and your comment about lower income cultures makes me think of the high-speed broadband access issue in the U.S.

I’ve seen a ton of reports that show certain areas still not on broadband (or at least, not “proper” broadband), because of locality and income levels.

And I wonder if broadband was standard and more affordable, if more lower income areas would see the web as something that’s needed as opposed to a nerdy luxury?

Not sure – but you have me thinking. Cheers, Lewis, and kudos for making things work for you when you could have easily let slide when you had other things to keep you busy. ;-)

Here’s my response back to him…

Thinking that if kick ass internet was more affordable, that the majority of lower income demographics would see the web as anything more than a source of escape (music, video watching, chatting on Facebook, watching stroke sites, playing video games) is a warm fuzzy thought, but  I’d bet money it wouldn’t make much of a difference Danny.

Here’s some commonly quoted stats for you…

Most Americans (95%), after high school never read another book in their entire life. (And you can bet your ass the 5% of the people reading the books,“Need” to read them the least (They’re already well off and are just sharpening the saw).

Only 1% of the American population buys books and reads them.

Only 3% of the American population own library cards. And how much do they cost? ZIP. ZERO. NADA. Poor old Andrew Carnegie spent his millions building libraries nobody goes to.

Two-thirds (66%) of US public libraries offer free wireless access, up about 12% over last year.

Almost two-thirds of all public libraries provide 1.5Mbps or faster Internet access speeds, with a continuing disparity between urban (90%) and rural libraries (51.5%).

And what’s interesting is how the Pareto’s principle (the 80/20 rule) would come into effect. Even if libraries had enough computers to service every single “disadvantaged” person, 15% of people might educate themselves and get the good feelings that come from that but only approximately 5% of people would take full advantage and put what they learned into action. Again I’d bet money on that.

Self leadership, which is the most important kind of leadership, isn’t about resources. It’s about being resourceful. Resourceful leaders use everything they’ve got and when it comes to succeeding online, there’s resources galore.

If there’s one common success trait that’s common in people of any race or religion, who defy the odds and pull themselves up by their boot straps, that would be resourcefulness. HANDS DOWN.

To get an online business off the ground, there’s an OVERWHELMING amount of free information that will guide you by the hand. Actually there’s too much. Information overload is a problem us info marketers have the luxury to bitch about.

And that’s not even counting the cool guys like you who personally answer questions for people who need guidance.

It’ll be interesting to see how everything unfolds. Smile

And then reviewing the comments again, I found this comment that I liked from a man by the name of JK Allen who runs the blog, www.hustlersnotebook.com, which as of this writing, boasts a very respectable 32, 866 Alexa ranking.

Here’s what he had to say…

Hello Danny,

I’ve thought long and hard about the diversity online. I think it’s there, but I don’t see any big time bloggers that look like me. And, to be honest – I’ll go ahead and assume the position! Seriously, there are a handful – but what’s more interesting to me is the support that black bloggers tend NOT to show to each other.

In february, I was featured in a write up that chronicled what it means to be a black blogger (this was for Black History Month). Many of the bloggers I had never seen on in the blogosphere so I reached out to each one of them, via email or by way of their website contact form and not one of them got back to me. Not one. And out of the list of 20 something people only one or two followed me back on twitter. What’s up with that?

Crazy huh? Well, this is actually a thing of our culture. Ultra competitive, and not nearly as supportive as we should be.

My take – I honestly don’t cater to a specific cultural audience. But because of this, I think it may give the impression that I’m not “for the people”. SORRRRRY, I have a bigger mission – I’m for all the people!

You know Danny – I just continue doing my thing! I connect with people who want to connect. I don’t care what they look like and what their background is.

Thank you for the enriching, though provoking read. I haven’t shared my views on this topic publicly until now. I know I kind of took the topic at hand in a different direction – I guess a little frustration came out!!!!!!

One last note – it’s a great feeling being mentioned by Mark and John, and you also giving me some love. Thank you sir!

I agree with JK and I like his philosophy.

Marva Collins, (www.marvacollins.com) the world famous black teacher who shows little 4 year old babies from the worst environments in Chicago, how to read in three months at her preparatory schools, when interviewed by Tony Robbins back in the 90’s said that whenever she hears talk in the media about what to do with black people, she says, “Just give us an opportunity.”

And not that equal opportunity bullshit. She actually talks about how she wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who’d gone to a special school for minorities and was given a position based solely on the color of their skin.

The internet is a gigantic gaping void of opportunity.

Jewish people aren’t “white” and yet, they’re welcome at all the functions across all industries because guess what? They bring the fuckin’ ruckus to that ass. Wait, let me re-phrase this so everyone can get what I mean to say… They BRING MASSIVE VALUE TO THE TABLE IN PRETTY MUCH ANY BUSINESS ENDEAVOR THEY CHOOSE TO ENTER!!!

Maybe I’m misinformed, but as far as I know, nobody has ever handed them shit. They earned their respect, their wealth, and pride in what they’ve built.

White schmite. Fuck that. It’s not about white, black, red, brown, purple or yellow. It’s about culture and personal ambition.

Culture shows you how to behave in the world and the lays down the rules of the game (which can vary wildly from culture to culture- Jewish “We’re the chosen ones” vs. Black/hispanic “Whitey’s done us wrong and wants to keep us down) from the time you’re shitting in your diaper… to when you’re a kid who can barely wipe his ass… to this very moment.

Programming never stops. Which is why you become the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now whether you take charge of how you’re being programmed, and create your own success-based culture… that’s a whole different question which leads to the second premise…

Personal ambition is what you decide that you’ll settle for in life

Some people’s ambition leads them to break records, reshape industries, and do the impossible. And some people’s personal ambition leads them to a prison cell, whether it’s an actual prison or the prison of a dead end job/mate/body they hate for the rest of their life.

And most of us get to decide what level we’re gonna play at, despite what culture you endured or were pampered in as a child.

I don’t think anyone who’s really astute would envy someone raised “Paris Hilton Style”. She’s white and was handed everything she’d need to be a success in the world except for one thing. The personal ambition to make an enduring contribution to society and the world.

And there’s countless examples of people who had the world’s foot on their throat (anyone ever hear of Oprah?) and we’re expected to lead lives of quiet desperation but said NO to what their culture and lower selves said was in their future.

Personal ambition is the x factor you can’t buy with money. It can only be purchased with courage. Courage to fuck the world open to god in way that allows you to share your deepest gift that will undoubtedly be met with resistance.

All greatness is met with resistance which is why so few doggedly pursue it

With the internet still being in the Wild Wild West stages of development, as a minority, I believe the most limiting factor is the shit that goes on in between your own two ears.

No white person ever told me I couldn’t come on this interwebz thing and make a living. But I did. I did every day. And to this day I  fight not to be my own worst enemy.

And I don’t believe that I’m alone. The human’s biggest barrier to action is answering ‘yes’ to the question of “I know other people can do X but am I willing to do what it takes to do it?”

When more minorities, specifically Hispanics and blacks, get out of their own way, that’s when I believe you’ll see them rocking the mic with the white boys and girls at SxSW, making the big bucks online and blessing the world with their potential.

What do you think? Feel free to speak your mind in the comments below. I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic!

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2