THE BLOG
05/08/2013 01:48 pm ET Updated Jul 07, 2013

On Leadership: Sunburned Black Folks

This just makes me smile, because it completely neutralizes the backwards theory of and around this crazy thing called race and racism.

While in the Bahamas for an event recently, I noticed that I was actually sunburned. Let me note here, that I am proudly African American. My deepest roots come from mother Africa, so no way I thought, would I ever be sunburned. Black folks are built for the sun. That's true, if I were 100 percent African.

The reality is (thanks to African-Ancestry I know this), just like my friend and mentor Quincy Jones, I am 71 percent Cameroon, but I found that I am also 26 percent European, and the rest is Asian, Indian and 'other.' That means that what I really am, to quote Quincy, is "Global Gumbo." I'm a rich mixture of the broad texture of our world, and in all likelihood, so are you.

Or take our president, the Honorable Barack Obama. In the Black community we refer to him proudly as "Black," when in reality, he is Black African (his father from Kenya), White European (his mother), and was raised in part culturally Hawaiian and Indonesian, and then moved to the South Side of Chicago. So, what and who is President Obama, actually, if not a global reflection of all of us? A man for our times, really. Global Gumbo, thank you Quincy J.

We are all in this together.

What I know now is, wherever and whenever we do not yet see a true melting pot in America, we increasingly see what I would call a 'salad bowl.' A bold mixture of the diverse and amazing culture that truly makes American great. America is the only nation on the planet with every race of people within her borders. We can deal with the world, because in many ways, we reflect it. We are all in this together.

The sunburn I experienced in the Bahamas is an obvious and profound indication of my Anglo-European roots... not my deep black ones. And so -- knowing this -- to somehow 'hate' white folks, also means to hate myself.

To 'hate' Asians, is to hate myself.

To 'hate' almost anyone, is to hate myself.

And frankly, there is a whole lot of useless self-hate going on around our world today.

God knew what He was doing when he framed his bold vision for man and womankind. For when we step away from our original and intended purpose in and for this world, we cannot avoid our own hypocrisy in the process.

Introducing, the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan

"'It is not what people call you, but what you answer to that's important, and never, ever answer out of your name,' said my spiritual father the Rev. Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray. And then I added, 'to argue with a fool, only proves that there are two.'"

There is a very simple modern day answer to all the continuing 'noise' around the KKK.

Accept their argument, at least for the moment. Because it doesn't really matter.

I would not argue with them (the KKK), or call them unflattering names in response to their verbal provocation. I wouldn't get into useless debates, around the so-called superiority of the white race, nor would I even seek to defend the legitimacy of the Black race, or any other race for that matter. I would only do one thing. I would take the Grand Wizard of the KKK to dinner. And I would gladly pay.

It would not matter what we talked about, and it would not matter whether we agreed when we did talk. I just want to go to dinner, so I can get an authentic and first person swab of his DNA, subsequently sending into a DNA lab. I might even send it to African-Ancestry (smile). But it doesn't matter where we send it, as the results will be the same. DNA is DNA.

And here's what I know for sure -- the Grand Wizard of the KKK is at least part Black. That's right. He's a brother.

Well, maybe that's going a bit too far, but the reality is that the vast, vast majority of the population on this small planet is something less than pure blood anything, and we are all 'inter-related.' We literally are, brothers and sisters. God knew what He was doing.

Simply give the KKK Grand Wizard the impartial data results, and he will pass out, straight away.

When he gets up, either he is going to do something really bad to himself, which I would actually regret, or he will finally begin the process of becoming transformed into a real man, with a real and meaningful life purpose. He might also begin to realize the futility in hating me, for that now means, hating himself too.

Quoting Dr. King, "it is either nonviolence or nonexistence. ... We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools." Amen.

We are all "Global Gumbo."

We are all one.

We are all in this thing, together. Let's go...

John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of financial dignity leader Operation HOPE, and Bryant Group Companies. He is the Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S.

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