Mahogany Keys: The Complex Image of the African American Man.Part 3.The Black Man as a Protector
The Black Man as a Protector
Pretend you are walking towards home or towards a store entrance and you walk past an African American male.
How many of you assume that he must be a bad man seeking to harm you rather than someone who could save your life?
Sadly, most people (especially women) would think that a black male’s presence means danger never protection. Why? Because as we all know, we are biased, we are shown images that depict the African American male as a thug and potential rapist.
This mentality has to go. There are so many African American males who serve in the military and risk their lives for us every day, yet no one seems to acknowledge their presence.
They do exist and their presence should be honored.
Dr. Vernet A. Joseph is one of these men.
I had the honor to meet Dr.Vernet at the launching of my dear friend Evelyn Holden’s youth organization Extreme Change.
He was there to teach the young how to stay in school and become a pride of their community.
Dr. Vernet A. Joseph Jr. is a mentor, speaker, potential, passion & productivity expert, serial entrepreneur, consultant, trainer and a military officer. Having received his tireless work ethic from his Haitian parents, he has started several businesses ranging from apparel to travel. He serves in an array of leadership positions from CEO to Managing Editor. Dr. Joseph has become known around the world as “Mr. Productivity.” One conversation and you know he is about living life to the fullest. Coming from a Haitian family anchored by military service, the Joseph men have served a combined 100 years of military service to date.
Dr.Vernet, you are so young yet you have accomplished so much, and there is so much still ahead for you. We have a lot to learn from you. What is behind your success?
Honestly Oana, The secret to my success lies in one simple word obedience. I have found in my life that listening to/ for wisdom and applying it will get you far. I pride myself in being surrounded by people who want the best out of life and have no problem freely sharing their experiences. Remaining shapeable, being transparent, and having a genuine heart to help are a few key components to my success.
What caused you to join the military and how important was this decision in shaping who you are today?
I will never forget working at an antique lighting company in Miami Florida as a young man when I realized that I wanted more out of life. After seeing how an older gentleman was treated who was with the company since it was founded and had taken care of the new owners since they were kids, my eyes were opened. It was then that I realized that I was simply just a laborer and could be dismissed or released if injured. That particular day, was when I made the decision to join the military to provide a platform for a solid foundation in my life. On my lunch break I traveled to the recruiter's office and took the ASVAB test for entry into the United States Army. I was so determined to leave as soon as possible they thought that I was running from the law.
The decision to join the military totally transformed my life from the standpoint that it took me out of the environment that I was comfortable in and introduced me to the art of adaptation. I had the core values of discipline, personal courage, integrity, character, and many more prior to the military, but being a part of the United States Army truly increased my potential as I learned new principles and practices that governed my life. I believe that a person is the embodiment of all the experiences, tests, and trials that they have been able to face in life. The military has been my way of life for the last 16 years and I love it. In the past 35 years, it has been my pleasure to enjoy the journey that makes me who I am today. Simply a servant to humanity!
How important is your family to you, Dr.Vernet?
First and foremost, my family is a key ingredient of why I exist. Lynette my wife for life of almost 14 years is the woman that completes me. God knew exactly what I needed and he gave me her, my own personal angel on this earth. To top it off, I have been blessed and fortunate to have two additional angels to come into my life in the form of my daughters Dominique age 10 and Renee age 8. Together we uphold the Joseph family legacy of "living to produce and helping others live their best life."
Dr.Vernet, you are an educated man, and author of four books. You also experienced the "toughness" of the streets and having witnessed at an early age pain, misery and poverty. Is being street-smart important and if yes, how important?
Yes, absolutely! I believe in my heart that every person should have a degree of street smarts. Because you can't live life in a bubble as if reality doesn't exist. I am all for giving our children a better future and elevating their mindsets, but it is essential that they understand the language, culture, and atmosphere of the streets. A person who is oblivious to the obvious will get taken advantage of every time. I am a teacher/trainer of life, and I would have to say that having some form of street-smarts is a vital part of living a holistic life. No one can stay on the mountain top forever so it is best to learn the basics of street-smarts at an early age. It is the key to survival in my opinion!
"You are not living, unless you are living to produce!" ~Dr. V.A. Joseph
Please explain your fundamental principle of productivity to us.
Oana, in its simplest form I believe that we were all created to live to produce. We are agents of change in the earth placed here to display our God given ability, gifting/genius, knowledge, skills, and talents for the greater good of mankind. I call it releasing your P3 power (potential, passion, and productivity). Most people chase a check instead of allowing their passion to cause the check to chase them. It reminds me of a quote from one of my books "If we learn to simply do what we love what we love will do us well." Productivity is a way of life, a state of mind, and the heartbeat of an influencer. To learn more visit my website www.livetoproduce.com and sign- up for my Notes on Productivity.
According to the U S CENSUS Bureau there were 2.4 million black military veterans in the United States in 2010. I think it is striking that we see so many pictures in the media of soldiers coming home and hugging their families, their children, yet it's hard to find images of African American soldiers and their families. How do you feel about this?
I will say this; the divorce rate in the military is extremely high due to the nature of the mission and the atmosphere, maturity, and mentality of our force. When you look upon a military family most people have no idea what it is like to endure the hardship, pain, and distress that we face. Prior to joining the military I had no true idea, nor did I really understand although the Joseph men combined have served 100 years of military service. The family unit has to be the #1 priority in the life of service men and women. As for me, what I have observed is that African American service members are present, we do take photos, and we many of us have healthy relationships with our families. I am not sure of the politics when it comes to the media, but I will say we are alive and well. I just recently, celebrated with a few other service men and women that I have known for at least the last decade and all of them are doing well. I love the diversity of our armed forces and embrace every challenge that we face.
As a War Veteran and Officer, what do you think of the stereotype of the aggressive African American male, who sells 'pharmaceuticals" supposedly wants to rape every woman especially the white woman, and is a danger to himself and society?
I am a firm believer in this principle "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he." I know that there are plenty of stereotypes out there about the African American male, but here is what I teach in my mentoring/coaching programs. Just because there is a stereotype about you doesn't mean that you have to live up to it. Not every African American male is a whoremonger, drug dealer, or threat to society. I would even say just to be a little controversial that everyone despite gender is one thing away from being a threat to society. What is that thing that you would die for? Freedom, family, legacy, finances, etc. Think about, I have been in over 40 different countries and every culture is different, but there is always something that they just won't tolerate. As a War Veteran and Officer, I think that a man should be judge by his character not his skin color, race, or culture. We are all of one race and that is the human race.
What/Who do you think is behind this negative image of the African American male in today's society? Do you think it is random opinions or a coordinated agenda?
I think it's a little bit of both. We must be honest with ourselves racism is still alive in 2012. Some people enjoy living in the past because they are dead to the future. I also blame some African American males as well because they conform to the image and are upset when they are treated as such. I was always told if you want to change the way you are perceived the first place your start is with your image. I am not a fan of negativity, so I eradicate it every chance I get. The bottom line is people are going to be people, but the way you change their perception is through evidence and results. Yes, there will always be those exceptions to the rules, and in those cases the question is how far back did the brain washing start?
Why it is important to encourage and support African American-owned businesses in our society today? Please tell us about Gigaré.
Well, I think it is extremely important to promote, encourage, and support African American-owned businesses as well as other types of businesses because small businesses are the back bone of our economy. Entrepreneurs become serial entrepreneurs when they are supported by their communities and abroad. Giving always starts the receiving process and the more you give your encouragement /support to the small businesses in your local area the better your community becomes. I am a firm believer of building, maturing, and expanding businesses. In my eyes it's not about the business being African American-owned, its does the company provide a quality product, excellent customer service, and can its employees get behind the vision and core values. If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, infopreneur, author, or speaker and want to take your business to the next level, Register Today for "Master Mind with The Doctors" an 8 week comprehensive training program. Special 2 for 1 Tuition Offer at www.livetoproduce.com/master-mind-with-the-doctors.html.
Gigaré Lifestyle Magazine (www.gigarelifestyle.com) is a newly founded magazine that is run by all US Army veterans. Four of our team members are currently business students seeking to further increase their business acumen as well. As military veterans, we also understand what it means to serve, support, and sacrifice our lives for the greater good.
Gigaré, Inc. was established October 2010 as the covering for our brand, "Gigaré - A King's Collection" (Men's Business Professional Wear / Website: www.gigarecollection.com). Gigaré is not just simply about style; it's about a LIFESTYLE. For this reason, we've developed Gigaré Lifestyle Magazine; which focuses on "lifestyle" as a whole.
Within this magazine, we cover various areas of the lives of men and women. The lifestyle topics discussed are as follows:
(1.) Family & Relationships
(2.) Faith & Spirituality
(3.) Business & Finance
(4.) Success/Personal Development
(5.) Health (Men & Women)
(6.) Entertainment & Fashion
(8.) Food & Travel
Dr.Vernet what is your definition of racism? What was the most outrageous case of discrimination you had to fight against?
My definition of racism is - believing that race is the primary determining factor of superiority over another race; thinking that race can be the cap of a person's potential/productivity; allowing race to shape your thought or view of someone.
The most outrageous case of racism /discrimination that I have fought against is being prejudged or discounted for something simply because of the color of my skin. I love it when it happens because they miss out on the genius potential and peak performance of my productivity.
In your book, It's Possible - A Productive State Of Mind you advise us to 'Stay fixed on the target," and "Get laser focused." Do you believe it is possible to pursue more than one thing at the same time, and how would that affect your theory?
Absolutely, the principle of being laser focused is about applying pinpoint precision to what you desire to accomplish. Yes, I believe it's possible to pursue more than one thing at a time if they are aligned. As an example #1: If you are riding down the street to a destination and you desire to arrive at a specific time you will need to ensure that you don't get distracted and deviate from that course. As an example #2: If you are on a trip heading from Miami to Georgia and you get a call from friend asking can you to give them a ride to Orlando that would be doable because it is along the way. What if that friend asked you to take them to Jacksonville would that be a good move?
Most people do not take the time to look at their productivity in such a manner. We all need what I like to call a road map of productivity. The Map helps you to stay on track and be laser focused.
A personal example as a public speaker is as I am developing new projects such as books, trainings, and seminars I do them simultaneously. Although these are separate projects I am able to focus on them all because of my prioritization process. I hope this answers your question.
Thank you Dr.Vernet
(c) 2012 by Oana