Is it necessary that your role models look like you? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

One postee on this web site indicated that he would not have been able to achieve had he not had role modeel who were of the same ethnic background as himself. Do you think your role models must be black if you are black, white if you are white, etc?


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2001


Mine do. Just a personal preference I guess. My first role model was my dad. And I must admit he was black like me.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

There are no absolutes! An individual defines prospective their role models. The consciousness of an individual sets the parameters for the selection. I believe that it is important for Afrikan Americans to have role models that mirror themselves. Otherwise, they (we) go through life emulating someone they can never become. White. This illusion sets up a person for failure....

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

I have had different role models at various times of my life. Being an African-american clergy woman, it helps me to have other African-American clergy woman as models. Three of my role models are Rev. Dr. Cecilia Bryant, Presiding Elder Carolyn Guidry, and Lydia Allen who came to the state of Montana in 1906 and planted three AME churches in areas that were having gold rushes. African Americans were going west for better opportunities. These three women have had a tremendous impact on the fifth district. I want to continue the work Lydia Allen started almost 100 years ago. And I thank these powerful and spiritual women, for opening doors and setting a high standard for us to follow.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

I don't believe that role models MUST be of the same race as the person emulating them, if the "emulator" is able to see beyond color. But very often, the fact that one's mentor is of the same race is tacit reassurance that the mentee can achieve the same success, or better.

I was watching Creflo Dollar the other day. (I know many people take issue with his teaching, but I happen to like the guy. :) At any rate, he mentioned, as he has said often, that his "spiritual father" is Kenneth Copeland, and that that has nothing to do with race, but has everything to do with where he learned of his spiritual heritage.

In such an instance, race indeed has no place in the equation. I, too, gain a great deal of spiritual insight from Brother Copeland. But in my work as an architect, it has helped me a great deal to know that there are other black architects in the profession. When I was an undergraduate architecture student, it meant the difference between sticking through a very rigorous curriculum or changing my major to something "safer," but less fulfilling. It helps me to know that I'm not the first and I won't be the last.

What difference does it make whether or not an architect is black or white, you ask? Well, in this profession, as in most of the other historically recognized professions- law, medicine, engineering, architecture- work is gained first by reputation and personal friendships, then by ability. Blacks make up 2% of the architecture profession. In black communities, the perception is that only people with large bank accounts would ever require the services of an architect. Or we would be relegated to only doing church work. So it helps me to know that there are other black architects that have done well in their careers and have been able to do more than just church work, that have been able to do work for people with average, or even modest bank accounts, and have been able to gain reputations that allow them to do work in the larger community. If I did not have other architects to look to that look like me, I might never have made the decision to stay in this profession.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

You have made my heart glad. Your thoughtful responses has brought new ideas in this old gray head. Somehow, we seem to have gotten into semantics here. Is a Role Model one to be emulated or simply inspire? Does the role model need to be in the same profession? For example, did Jackie Robinson's success on the baseball field inspire young blacks to achieve in education? Or in football? Or in science? The Tuskegee Airman, fighter and bomber pilots of WWWII fame, inspired hundreds of thousands of young men, both black and white to achieve greatness both in the air and on the ground. I was one of those on the ground cheering their successes and sorrowing with them in their defeats. Some of the white bomber groups were also inspired so much that hey demanded that the "Red Tails" as the black pilots P- 51 aircraft had red paint on the tails, be their escorts in and out of Germany on bombing raids. Airmaen both white and black saw them as role models.

Should we emulate or try to be like our role models or should they juyst inspire us to greater achievments. Who was Jackie Robinson's Role Model?

Blessings and keep up the good work,

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2001

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