The simple answer here is, I don’t. But I do lovingly critique my own community, as I do own family, and everyone and everything I love. Because I want them to be better. I want them all to succeed.
Even the Bible suggests ‘you cannot grow without constructive friction.’ Only through constructive friction, do you grow.
This critique, I also give myself on the regular.
I love my own community enough, to tell them the truth, as I see it. This piece today was inspired by some interesting comments this morning on an Instagram post on my @johnhopebryant social media page. I was at first saddened by what I would refer to as some nonproductive cultural actions, fast becoming accepted cultural norms, in certain aspects of my amazing larger community. But then I became actually somewhat alarmed and dumbstruck, by some of the commenters on the post, clearly from some of my deep thinking African American brothers and sisters, who were defending the seemingly indefensible, and then questioning me. I don’t mind anyone questioning me, as I might learn from that. But I want us all to be on the right side of common sense.
With the notable exception of those dealing with genuine mental illness and mental health issues, with whom I have deep compassion, I submit the following as a single guideline.
Success and failure could care less about your opinion. Even less, your opinion OF my opinion.. Either you will do the things that get you through the first door, or you will end up a victim falling through the second. Deserved or not.
I grew up in poverty of South Central Los Angeles and Compton, California.
Mom and dad divorced when I was 5. Domestic abuse.
Witnessed my first murder at age 7. Best friend murdered when I was 9.
Succeeded a little with my first business idea at 10 years old. Failed mostly for the next 10 years.
I was homeless at 18 for 6 months of my life. Completely broken. But I was not poor. Just broke.
Mom worked an hourly job my entire life, but took no mess. She had rules, and we all followed them. And we all made it out of the hood, and into different forms of success in our lives. In spite of the racism, bias and lack of resources around us. We rose, because mom and dad, even while separated, created a culture and values, and pounded THOSE into our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our life HABITS.
Operation HOPE was founded by me, 30 years ago, to TEACH and pound these principals of my childhood and adult experience — into a generation of BUILDERS, from the ground up. 4M+ clients later, and 4B dollars of outside INVESTMENT into the lives of our clients and communities later, we know a lot about what works, and what doesn’t — in the underserved communities we love enough to want to see change in.
Success is not an accident. It’s intentional.
And love without criticism is NOT love. If I love you, then I will risk you not LIKING me — to tell you something I believe in actually in your best interest.
I’d rather you respect me, and learn to like, than to like me, and never respect me. Nor yourself.
Enough said. 🦅
John Hope Bryant, Entrepreneur.
Follow Operation HOPE, Bryant Group Ventures, The Promise Homes Company and me, and subscribe to my new iHeart weekly podcast entitled BUILDING The Good Life.