“We want to grow and expand our
business and teach others about opportunities in entrepreneurship over selling drugs.” –
20-year old Black Entrepreneur Marlin Gipson
What on Earth does a Black man have to do to be legitimate, respected and accepted without prejudice today in society?
It is rather troubling to see events unfold where a legitimate young brother and his crew working hard to pursue their dreams of owning and running a business, only to have their images publicly ridiculed and openly challenged by a Precinct One Constable Deputy Shane Cates.
These are young men trying to do right things the right way.
Marlin Gipson started at the bottom in a competitive business environment and is following the rules of engagement in business as he competes with other Black, White and Hispanics lawn services doing the same job.
A Little History
For hundreds of years during slavery, Black men were treated like breeder bulls and work horses only good for sunrise to sunset work and sowing seeds that bring about stronger chattel to work fields and support the plantation.
These Mandingo Black men were loved for their muscle and brawn, but also were hated because the master could not” measure up” in many ways.
When situations created fits of jealousy that became obvious, a Black man was whipped and beaten to within one inch of life, but not enough to hurt his stock or prevent him from returning the fields or the bedroom to produce – and that ain’t fake news history either.
From May 2 to May 10, 1963, the nation bore witness as police in Birmingham, Alabama, aimed high-powered hoses and sicced snarling dogs on black men, women and even children who wanted just one thing — to be treated the same as white Americans.
Led by an unapologetic racist cop named Eugene “Bull” Connor, Birmingham cops brazenly attacked protesters — and the television cameras covering the drama broadcasted their brutality to the rest of the country. Connor became a living symbol of Southern bigotry and Birmingham became ground zero in the struggle for civil rights.
Unfortunately, the more things change, the more they stay the same…or get worse.
Brilliance vs Buffoonery
Starting and working a business from inception to action is difficult within itself and public perception can be the difference between success and failure.
The young brothers put their best feet forward and put their dream in motion and none of their plans involved robbing, hurting or killing anyone. They were out in the open, working during daylight hours and had business cards to show potential customers.
Why then was it necessary for a Precinct One Constable to go to great lengths to inconvenience law abiding citizens and harass them when it was plain they had not ill intentions.
What’s wrong with the picture is simple. In the United States, police officers still continue to have little to no respect for Black men and we still have police officers have their own fears and mental problems and need some serious counseling, retraining and treatment when dealing with African-Americans and working the beat in our neighborhoods.
Some Whites officers even still have a difficult time accepting Black initiative and creativeness and ability to conceive a winning plan and put it into action.
Time undo the Stereotypes
Not all of us Black men sit around smoking “doobies”, sitting on porches or under trees in the neighborhood playing dominoes talking and wishing our lives away.
Not all Black men are making excuses, hating the man and rebelling against a system that is tilted against Black men.
Not all of us are stealing trucks and cars and using the vehicles to work nights destroying the front of convenience stores just to get at an ATM, Cigarettes or Beer.
The Hard Truth
Black Entrepreneurs are fighters who get up every morning with intentions and a plan to win, despite the obstacles we face as Black businessmen and women.
They are driven by ideas, determination and hard work and a desire to succeed.
Raw desire and sheer willpower does not allow us to curl or fold in the face of all the No’s, Stereotypes or Discouragement and obstacles that we know exists.
Blacks can be successful in business, especially when we are supported by our own communities.
The importance of buying black has been well documented as an avenue to strengthen the black community economically, not only to provide jobs, but also to keep our nearly trillion-dollar buying power in our hands.
Many African-Americans have stated that they will never shop at a black-owned store or use a service until prices get lower, customer service improves, and the services or selling reflects things that they want.
However, the only way for Gipson or others to survive, thrive and improve is through practice and financial support from the Black community base. Support keeps Gipson and other Black entrepreneurs in business in the long term.
Black Business Entrepreneurs Go to War Faithfully Everyday.
Some days are diamonds and some days are coal, but despite the difficulties, the sun comes up and entrepreneurs face it. Strong Black men go out and do that each day over and over again.
That’s the Black man that much of society does not know and is not familiar with.
We do exist despite the negative portrayal by White Media and other business executives with hidden agendas to hold us back, put us out of business or create obstacles to discourage and make us quit.
These Black young men were mowing grass, doing something positive in full view of the community and society, but even that good is being evil spoken of.
None of them are not young punks or rogues pillaging neighborhoods, home invading or beating up and robbing the innocents in public places.
This is a simple lawn care service, like hundreds of others run by entrepreneurs across the Houston Metro area.
Gipson is a man who represents that kind of man. A dreamer with a goal, determination and a plan for success.
No Black entrepreneur should not feel guilty for trying to do something positive like create a business or be confronted for performing legal work and services in a community.
We applaud Mr. Gipson’s vision and spirit and desire to be a light shining out of the darkness we know, see and hear about going on in our neighborhoods across the Houston and DFW, San Antonio and Austin Metros.
I am sure this situation is but one small speed bump on his way to full and complete success.