Are you a Power Collector or Tubman?

Recently, I’ve observed a pattern in some well-know and successful Black People. The title I’m giving this behaviour pattern is Power Collector.

What is a Power Collector?

A Power Collector is a Black person who acquires power and uses that power only to get more power.

Below I will show the typical path of a power collector. In some cases, the order of events may vary slightly but the path of the Power Collector looks something like this:

  1. Gets a degree from a very good school, possibly an Ivy League School.
  2. Gets an MBA.
  3. Uses that MBA to get a high-level Corporate Position.
  4. Uses that high-level position to get recognized in the industry.
  5. Uses that recognition in the industry to get a seat on a board at a big company.
  6. Uses that seat on the board to get invited to important conferences as a Keynote speaker or other important guest.
  7. Uses that recognition as a keynote speaker and other signs of recognition to give a Ted Talk.
  8. Uses that Ted Talk to get featured in Magazines, blogs, invited on to TV shows, and booked as a commentator and Panelist at other events.
  9. Uses the Ted Talk, Magazine features, and TV Appearances to build a large social media following.
  10. Uses the large social media following and all of the other above items to build an empire, build great wealth, and build a very nice life.

All along the path of the Power collector, the only thing the power is being used for is to collect more power. This power benefits no-one other than the Power Collector.

The alternative to being a Power Collector is being a Tubman.

What is a Tubman?

A Tubman is a person who takes their power and goes back to the Black community to help another Black person along their journey.

To be clear, this help is not related to any kind of financial gain to you. It is not linked to any promise or financial gain. It is not linked to any guarantee of financial gain. This help primarily benefits the person you are helping.

Recently, a Power Collector in my life, who I believe to be worth a million or more, started a paid course to teach you how to be successful. In this power collector’s mind, they went back to the Black community to help, in the form of a paid course.

Even as I’m writing this, I feel my eyes wanting to well up. I am having trouble understanding how in the middle of a pandemic, where millions of people have lost their jobs and are wondering how they are going to meet their basic needs, this even became an option for the Power Collector.

I am trying to get inside the mind of the Power Collector and the only thing that I can come up with is that one half of the phrase Power Collector is the word Collector.

At this precise moment in History, where Black People are in the streets crying out for justice, for equality, for opportunities, and a fair shake at the American Dream, the Power Collector decided that this was the time to go back to the Black Community and collect.

There may be a few people reading this who may be thinking, “Well you can’t be a Tubman all the time. Sometimes you have to make money.” Well, then let’s break this down into the three groups that a person can fall into.

  1. A Power Collector
  2. A Tubman
  3. 50% of the time the person is a Power Collector and 50% of the time the person is a Tubman.

I am not particularly concerned about categories 2 and 3, however, several people have come across my path who fall squarely into Category 1 and this concerns me.

In fact, I am going to just spell it out and be blunt. At this precise moment in history, a power collector is completely useless to the Black community.

If there is a power collector out there that’s thinking, “I’m not useless. I’m providing an example to Black children of how successful they can be.”

We don’t need you to provide an example of success. We had a Black President. We are well aware of how far a Black person can go. A Black person can occupy the highest office in the land. If you think you’re helping anybody by modeling success, you are not. You are only helping yourself. That is the trademark of a Power Collector, acquiring power only to help yourself.

It may have worked in 1980, 1990, 2000, or even 2010. However, in 2020 when Black people desperately need a change, it is no longer acceptable.

Right now, the Black Community needs Tubmans.

So how do you tell if you’re a Tubman?

I would encourage you to get a notepad and make a list called My Tubman List. On the list, write down every time you took your power, talent, skills, influence, wealth, wisdom, education, and went back to the Black community to help another Black Person along their journey.

If the list is empty, do something immediately to rectify that situation.

If the list has one or two items, then keep going. As we all know Harriet Tubman went back 19 times.

It may take a whole lifetime to have 19 items on your list but what you don’t want to do is walk around with an empty list.

If you believe that the change the Black community needs is coming solely from external forces that are oppressing us, then you can justify your empty list.

However, if you believe that part of the change that needs to happen, needs to come internally from us, from lifting each other up along the journey. then an empty list is unacceptable.

In July of 2020, as I write this, there is a shift going on in minds, hearts, and in the atmosphere.  The Black community is ready to stand firm in their quest for equal access to the pursuit of justice, liberty, prosperity, and freedom.

If you do nothing with your power right now, the stakes are too high and many will be left behind.

However, if you choose to take your power and go back to the Black community to help someone else along their journey, you can be part of shaping a new reality, just as the first Tubman did.

This article was originally published on July 27th, 2020.

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