Mahogany Keys: The Complex Image of the African American Man.The Black Man as a Protector(2)
Interview with Dr. Will Moreland
America’s #1 Leadership Life Trainer
There are so many African American males who served or currently serve in the military and risk their lives for us every day, yet no one seems to acknowledge their existence.
They do exist and their presence should be honored.
Dr. Will Moreland is one of these men. He is a military veteran, a businessman and an inspirational model for young males.
I had the honor to meet Dr. Will Moreland 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 in their community.
Dr. Will's passion is to help individuals, organizations and companies develop into world class leaders. That is why he writes books, speaks to countless audiences each year and why he founded Will Moreland International. A company that is dedicated to developing world class leaders in life and business. Dr. Will authored the critically acclaimed book Genius Potential. He is also author of 13 other books that range from finances to relationships. Known as America’s #1 Leadership Life Trainer. Thousands follow Dr. Will's wisdom from around the world, following him on Facebook, Twitter and attending his live events. Dr. Will helps individuals navigate a better life, allowing them to grow their personal leadership and Live In Victory Everyday.
Dr. Will you are so young yet you have accomplished so much, and there is so much still ahead for you. What is behind your success?
The is a loaded question, I always tell people I am the result of a lot of love, mistakes, hard work, smart work and the right work. When I was twenty two years old I made a choice to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I grew up in church but never was committed; it was more out of habit that I went to church. The next thing I did was committed myself to personal development and traditional education. Thirdly, I was smart enough to marry a fantastic wife. So in short, behind, on the side and all around my success is God, personal development and my wife.
What determined you to join the military and how important was this decision in shaping who you are today?
I had no desire to join the military, as a matter of fact, when the Army recruiter came to my high school I remember laughing at him. After high school I went to college and was placed on academic probation after the first semester. Along with that and getting in trouble with the Law, I was given the choice to join the Army. In hindsight, it was a life changing opportunity that I will be forever grateful for. The Army played and continues to be a very integral part of my life.
How important is your family to you, Dr. Will?
Growing up in a very complex family as a child, I endeavor everyday to create a very different situation for my family today. They are a huge part of my motivation for being successful in everything I do. I think the very essence of true success starts with your family. I’m learning more and more how to create balance in my life, to ensure I give them the time they deserve each day. Not having the advantage of growing up in a home with a father or male figure, being the right man my family needs is a continuous struggle. I constantly seek out wisdom from my mentors and others that are doing great in family life.
Dr. Will, you are an educated man, author and speaker. You have also been exposed to the “toughness” of the streets, having witnessed at early age pain, misery and poverty. Is being street-smart important and if yes, how important?
As I look back on my childhood, I experienced things that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but at the same time, those experiences helped me develop a strong mental capacity, one that serves me well in life and business. I am able to focus through many distractions, where I see other people kind of lose it and get knocked off track. I think having a healthy balance of street smarts and school smarts serves you well in a world that is pretty tough, and can throw you a few curve balls.
Tell us about Will Moreland International.
I founded WMI because of my passion to help individuals develop in life and leadership. When you understand that we are all leaders in some way, our ability to develop our leadership abilities will enable us to live a better quality of life. Everything is affected by our personal leadership, when we learn how to lead ourselves better, everything else in life will benefit. My company helps individuals, companies, and organizations assemble the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of life and create healthier environments for all involved.
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. Do you feel that African Americans serving in the military are underrepresented in the media?
I think this is a double edged sword; it is my opinion that many African-Americans especially the younger generation do not take pride in serving their Country. I can remember telling my family and others I was entering the military and I was met with a lot of negative conversations. But African-Americans have a long history of honorable military service, dating back to the Tuskegee Airmen and other storied Black Soldiers. When we as a community take pride in serving our country, we cannot expect others to showcase us in a positive light. Once we start to represent ourselves, then we can ask others, but until then, we will remain underrepresented in main stream media.
As a military Veteran, 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 think the responsibility of every human being is to seek truth for themselves and investigate everything they hear, especially from main stream media. When I took my first trip to Africa, I expected to see streets filled with hungry starving children. Why? Because this was the image that had been played for me for years growing up in America. Contrary to what I imagined, I found Ghana to be a beautiful Country filled with amazing people. The same is true of America and the inner city, I commonly say the Ghetto is filled with Gold; you just have to dig for it. Once again I must be truthful and say in many cases we are not helping ourselves to destroy these images that you mention. However, they are grossly misrepresented. As an example, there is much attention given to the amount of Black males incarcerated; however there are more Black males in college per the last research conducted.
What 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 when any one group of society feels threaten by another you will have an assault on the other. You can see this play out around the world, in Africa you have tribes against tribes, and in the Middle East you have Muslims against Christians and so on. I truly feel it is our inability as human beings to see each other as humans. When we allow our labels to define us rather than our humanity, we will have problems. Until we learn how to live with each other and truly appreciate what each people group brings to the whole, we will have this assault on each other.
Why is it important to encourage and support African American-owned businesses in our society today? Please tell us about your involvement with helping existing businesses or helping to create new ones.
I think it is important to support business period, especially small business owners, as they are the engine that drives our economic engine here in America. More specifically it is vital that African-Americans support the business community to foster economic independence and pride within our community. There was a place in Oklahoma that they called Black Wall Street that was filled with prominent Black Businesses, professional and was one of the strongest financial structures in America at the time. Unfortunately, through racist acts the community was burned down. I would encourage your audience to go and research this event and that community. As it relates to what I do to support Small Business, I am an outspoken advocate for the success of small business. I was recently honored to be nominated for a Small Business Influencer Award for my work with small businesses around the nation. I train, teach and mentor business owners weekly. My company conducts Master Mind groups to support business owners and I constantly speak around the country to business groups.
Dr. Will your words have tremendous impact around the world. What is your own personal definition of racism?
The word racism is a very powerful word but I think many have the wrong concept of racism. When we hear about racism many times people think it is about skin color, but the foundational essence of racism is about economics. The root word for racism is race; racism comes in when one group is trying to race another group to economic security. When a group feels their economic stature is in jeopardy, they act out, and we define this as racist acts. Let me offer a real life situation, I have heard some say “If a black family moves into the neighborhood, that the property value would decrease.” So to protect their property value people within the community will act out in racist manners. Because money is such an important part of our society, it really makes people act in ugly ways when they feel threaten economically. We see this playing out around the country regarding immigration; people are in an up roar because they say immigrants affect the economics of America. So to reemphasize, racism is about money, not skin color.
Thank you Dr. Will for sharing your thoughts with me.
© 2012 by Oana
This interview is part of the series Mahogany Keys: The Complex Image of the African American Man. The Black Man as a Protector (2)