Cultivating Allies in the Channel’s Struggle for Equality


Telarus' Brandon Knight author

Brandon Knight

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” is a quote that I heard a few times growing up. The definition of the expression is to avoid eliminating something good when trying to get rid of something bad or rejecting the favorable with the unfavorable.

And in the case of today’s issue of racial inequality, to some degree I feel like that is happening with the opinion or efforts of non-black allies.

To understand my perspective, I think it’s important to give a little history. Present day I’m both a VP at the top master agency in technology and a member of the board of directors for the industry’s only business resource group devoted to diversity and inclusion. However, I started in the inner-city streets of Philadelphia. Raised by a single mom. One of six kids in a row home. I was in eighth grade when I interacted with a Caucasian child for the first time. Before that, the only non-black people I saw in person were teachers.

I grew up with my grandmother living two houses down from me and my great-grandmother living around the corner. My great-grandmother was born into slavery on a plantation. Slavery was abolished while she was a small child, but remnants from that experience stayed with her throughout the remainder of her life. My grandmother was born in the south, post-slavery. Although my grandmother was not born into slavery, she often remarked about how she was “good enough to cook the food, wash the clothes and care for the children, but not able to eat in the dining room with the people eating the food she made.” Outside of her stories, I didn’t know what race relations was, or poverty or have/have nots. Everyone in my neighborhood was the same. I had nothing to compare it to, so I didn’t realize anything was wrong with it.

Police officers didn’t come to my neighborhood. And when they did, it was because they were looking for someone from my neighborhood to take to jail.

Busting Generalizations

Fast-forward to today. I’m well-educated, and experienced in my career, I have the cultural understanding that comes from being fortunate enough to have literally traveled the world. And I find myself leading the charge for inclusion in the face of heightened racial turmoil and unrest, which is the result of hundreds of years of insufficiently addressed oppression. This extremely divisive topic is passionately represented on both sides. But as can happen all too often in these cases, the most recognized voices of opinion are those of the radical extremists seeking to promote an agenda or propagate a stereotype — the problem, of course, being that statements and generalizations of absolutes are never true.

Channel Partners and Channel Futures are dedicated to fostering an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the channel and the technology community as a whole. Thus, we are featuring news articles, first-person accounts and strategies around topics of race, diversity and inclusion to spur discussion of these important subjects. Visit our webpage dedicated to the topic.

And even though it makes for good media, all white people are not racist. All cops are not power-wielding perpetrators of prejudice. Not all black people are dangerous, lazy or criminals. All white people are not wrong and all black people are not right, regardless of the subject. Every politician is not self-serving. So, regardless of where you stand on the topic, it is never OK to …

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