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“Fitting In:” Living in Darkness over Light

A few years ago, I visited a college in LA to pick up some information, and I looked in the financial-aid line as it was registration time. I saw at least 400 people. To my surprise, out of that 400 people, maybe 10 of them were black.

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"Fitting In:" Living in Darkness over Light 2

It got me thinking about our abhorrent history in this country as Black people and how hard Black leaders fought to provide opportunities for our community to go to school and to have opportunities in this country.

Why were we not in this line? At that point, without thinking twice about it, I went and registered that day to get a degree.

I thought it would serve me better to get a degree to satisfy my legacy as a black man in this country and to honor leaders who ended up being martyrs so that people like me could have a voice and a choice.

In that line, I saw people from other countries and other races taking advantage of opportunities that were provided for me, and I needed to do what I could to change that instead of simply complaining about it. I did not know in that moment WHY we as a community had not been LED to take greater advantage of situations like this.

During my time as an older student at the college, one of the classes that I took was an Anthropology class. I will never forget this class because there was one lesson where the teacher explained that when animals travel in packs if they deem one of the animals in the pack is holding the rest of the pack back, they kick him out, and he is left to fend for himself.

I don’t really recall anything else she said that day as it was a muffled blur because my mind was stuck on that analogy when comparing that same situation to the black community.

Unfortunately, the animal that was kicked out is often found dead because of the lack of community support. He gets attacked by other animals, OR he learns how to fend for himself and finds a way to survive on his own and with other animals who have also been kicked out of the pack.

They got me thinking that quite often, when people don’t think like us, we often relegate them as not “fitting in” not in the “click,” and not worthy of our presence. People who don’t fit in often feel inadequate, and I will admit that when I was younger I was that person, I have never fit into ANY group of people and that used to really bother me, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that not fitting in is actually a phenominal blessing as it is an indication of LEADERSHIP.

Leaders can’t think like the pack or they would not be able to lead. He or she must see things from another perspective and have a different mindset in order to ascend others into a new direction and a new way of thinking. Groups leading the pack is common but a leader ELEVATING the pack no so much.

It’s unfortunate that many people would rather follow other groups of people than be led but someone who sees things from another perspective but when you follow groups of people they are almost always following … other groups of people.

So in essence, kicking someone out of the group it’s not the fault of the person being kicked out, it’s the fault of the group.

That person that they just kicked out could’ve catapulted them into greater success, showing them another route, or have them avoid danger, but they kicked him out because he didn’t think like or “fit in” to the group. There are those times when many heads are NOT better than one because they simply cause confusion and arrested development.

This is why LEADERS are often initially attacked. It is not until they finally see their OWN value and grace that things change for them. A candle is useless if it’s standing by itself, so if you are that person who has never “fit in” to any group, consider yourself a candle and don’t fight it; light it.

Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross is the CEO of Radio Facts. He is a music and radio industry vet who has been a programmer and a radio host in several markets like Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and more. He started The Industry Dot Biz in 1995 as a voice for Black industry executives to have a voice in the industry. Ross is a musician, writer, voice talent, and author. The Industry Dot Biz is currently the largest urban industry trade and site.

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