Deleted Scene 2 – Jeffrey’s Passport to a Broader Life

Removed from the Beginning of Strategy 2

In 2008, I visited points on the globe including Africa, Great Britain, the Caribbean, New Orleans and the South Side of Chicago. In 2009 my itinerary included China, Brazil and Nigeria. In 2010, I’ll make stops in China, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

It would be easy to assume that my role as writer and educator facilitates my exposure to so many countries and cultures. And it is true, my work – and the need to have some rest and relaxation with my family – has helped me log plenty of frequent flier miles.  But the tradition of travel and broad exposure that is so pivotal in my life began when I was just a boy.

Before I go any further, let me dispel a potential misconception up front. I didn’t grow up wealthy or even middle class. My father was an electrician and had a union job with county government. Neither of my parents went to college and my mother did administrative work. We rented an apartment and for many years we were a one-car family. We were what many consider working class. If my dad had lost his job we would have been in bad shape.

Even still, my mom and dad managed to provide broad exposure in many ways – including visits to England, St. Lucia, Mexico, Tobago and the Bahamas and many cities within the United States through church conventions.  These early experiences shaped my future prospects and helped prepare me for my career today as an international business scholar.

Getting on a plane and flying somewhere different helped me look at the world differently – even when going places where we mostly met other people of African descent. If you grow up in the Bahamas, for instance, you look at the world differently than I do. And going to a place where everyone in charge was Black – coming from New Jersey – that was something to see!

But as you’ll see in this chapter, gaining broad exposure is about much more than getting on a plane and exploring a new place. My dad – who never went to college – found ways to expose me to information and people who could help me decide what kind of degree and career to pursue.

Gaining exposure to new people, cultures, places and opportunities is as only as limited as your imagination. Gaining broad exposure not only plays an integral role in developing your identity and purpose, but serves as an important piece of the foundation for succeeding as a Black Face in a white place.

ONE COMMENTLeave a comment

  1. Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

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