A call for support, rather than criticism, of entrepreneurs
I have been back in the area for 30 years now, and I am constantly reminded why I left in the first place. I have never written to the paper before, and I have been reluctant to even write. However, I think about my journey as a man that lives a life of integrity and love, so I couldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer. The stench of racism has always been a topic of concern for me in this “Friendly City.” It was so overbearing that I couldn’t wait to leave this city when I came of age. Life brought me back here, and I had hopes that this town progressed, but it has gotten worse. I have watched a minority company get attacked constantly in the newspaper, airing out every piece of dirty laundry that can be found. It bothers me because, as a white male, I have often heard statements concerning African Americans to “pick themselves up by their own boot straps” yet when one tries, we ridicule them for every misstep and trial. Yet, this is how this country was established. We as Americans should take pride in fellow Americans taking the steps to better themselves. We should champion them on the way there. We should provide advice, guidance and support for the brave trailblazers called entrepreneurs. I wonder if any of the critics that boast of being successful business owners, have reached out a hand to help or mentor some of the up and coming. I can answer that without asking, because it’s not about trying to protect the City of Columbus instead it’s about spreading the negative and causing division.
There has never been anything great built that was birthed out of division. I have read the stories of many “Greats” and there is something common throughout every story, and that is trials and hardships. Many of those great men and women we admire today have had failed business, failed relationships and even tax liens. However, as people, we are conditioned to only remember the highlights, but it is the lowlights that make “The Greats.”
There is something else that is common throughout their stories and that is critics. They all had critics that tried to kick them when they were down and point out every flaw. Now we often look at history and wonder how those critics could miss the greatness of those people, like Martin Luther King Jr. I am convinced that it was because they didn’t want to see the truth. They didn’t want to see the truth because of a heart condition. That heart condition is called hatred. To the haters out there, be careful what you say, because it puts you in a glass house.
Those who offer the most criticism of these minority businesses being corrupt and law breakers likely have issues of their own. Prominent business owners can be involved in illegal activities themselves. And for one in particular, I wonder if the people who tout you as a strong businessman would realize you didn’t build a business; you inherited a nest egg.
To the future Greats, Keep Pushing. I am cheering you on!
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.