By Michelle London-Bell
Black Faces in White Faces is a work written and birthed from Dr. Randal Pinkett, of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice fame and colleague Dr. Jeffrey Robinson. The book’s subtitle is “10 Game Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness.” This bestseller is sure to incite even the most cynical and lackadaisical young professional to pursue a career of greater meaning, purpose and calling.
The main premise of the book is facing the undeniable reality of how the “game is governed by a collection of rules; some spoken and others unspoken” and what is needed to “redefine the game.” Although critics have cited the book as “a throwback to days of segregation and racial tension” – I feel their criticism misses the mark. So much of the work is devoted to knowledge, strength and empowerment of African-Americans in an effort to move towards a ‘post-racist’ or on0 discriminatory society.
As I read through the foreword, the words of Roland Martin immediately resonated with me, concerning the “arduous road” and inevitable plight of trailblazing African-Americans who are left “to their own devices.” Martin vividly articulates how African-Americans are always subject to extra pressures to perform, conform, and be flawless. It reminded me of yet another bestselling book by New York Times columnist Lena Williams, It’s The Little Things-Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy and Divide the Races, particularly the chapter on “Little Things in the Workplace.”
The introduction (Chapter One) further expounds upon Martin’s foreword regarding “the game” by delving deeply into Pinkett’s own “Black Faces in White Places” moment during the finale of The Apprentice. It promptly introduces the authors’ perceived ideology behind this phenomenon of “the game” and strategies on how to master it.
There is nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about Black Faces – in fact, portions are similar to Earl Graves’ How to Succeed in Business Without Being White. There are practical solutions and strategies sprinkled throughout Black Faces reminiscent of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Additionally, some of the principles point to the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, but from a less harsh and more Christian-based perspective.
One of the highlights includes Pinkett and Robinson’s very interesting analysis and cynical commentary on the idea of meritocracy in America — particularly the critique and judgment of President Obama’s administration during his first fifty days in Chapter 3. At the very minimum, this chapter alone will prompt a deeper evaluation of how unlevel the playing field is for even the most educated, talented, and skillful professional across several arenas.
All-in-all, this is definitely a good read. I highly recommend it, particularly for the young professionals who are recent college grads entering the workforce. Many of the principles in the book mirror the very ideologies that President Obama has challenged each of us (across racial lines) to adopt to make a better America for tomorrow.
Michelle London-Bell started writing at Dallas South News in 2010 with experience as a freelance writer and also contributes to Examiner.com. She has a passion for fashion, the arts, and community and cultural affairs. She also covers music and entertainment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.