Friday, November 14, 2008

No Diversity in Life or Death

Today was the funeral of Gordon Wallace Campbell. He was known to his friends as Beans. I was not a friend of Beans because Beans had no black friends, associates, counterparts, or enemies. Gordon's funeral was as white as his life which is why I did not stay.
Beans was remembered by most as a good man and as the Founder of several banks. People waxed eloquently about his generosity, kindness and his friendship. I, however, will remember Gordan as the worst kind of segregationist, a Klansman in a business suit. One that had the power and authority to create a more inclusive business climate and community but who chose to segregate his life from those with different ethnicity's.
I still recall the conversations that I had with Gordon about the lack of diversity on the Mercantile Bank board. Of course, I thought that I should be a board member. I recall the conversation about the one loan made to a local minority owned Bar B Que restaurant in St Pete Beach, Florida that went south and that is why no other minority loan request were approved ever.
I remember conversations with Gordan and Jack Wier, a board member of United Bank, that ended with that's just the way it is George. We don't know any qualified Blacks.
Its amazing that even today firms like Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs lack diversity at the top and that people like Gordon will recite the refrain "There are no qualified Blacks." Blacks are not getting bailouts based upon the failure of their businesses and thanks to bankers like Jack and Gordon, they are not getting access to the credit markets either.
So to my Squires and Maidens, there is a positive way to deal with these hidden racist. I outline some tactics in my book "The Angry Black Man's Guide to Success" And to those that see this as disrespecting the dead, hey, he disrespected me and many others in life.
King George
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