Tonight I went to dinner at the Athenaeum and listened to Jabari Asim talk about his new book: The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why. It was a provocative overview of the history of the n-word and Asim commented eloquently on why it should be banned from the public square but not banned entirely.
The quote of the night came in Asim’s answer to a question on what black people (and minorities in general) should or can do to "help the cause". He said, "My answer is the same for minorities as white folk. Be your very best." It was pitch perfect: as an individual, the first way to help in a large movement such as race relations is to take personal responsibility for your own actions and standards.
I’m frankly surprised I don’t more often hear the mantra, "Be all you can be" or variations. The U.S. Army used it as a slogan for 20 years, but it doesn’t seem to have penetrated the mainstream motivational / self-help lexicon.
Be your very best. Be all you can be. Hold high standards for yourself.
These messages fire me up!