Black Name, White Game
Details Norris Shelton’s cultural awakening and earthly mission.
By Norris Shelton
(Evolution of American Slaves)
While having published three other books, businessman/author Norris Shelton maintains, “This is truly what I set out to write about, all along. It centers on a wake-up call I experienced. It took me a lifetime to discover the truth, and I am eager to spread the word.” Black Name, White Game is the gospel according to Norris Shelton.
In essence, Black Name, White Game has a two-pronged message. “In my own lifetime, we’ve been called Colored, Negro, Black and, lately, African American,” notes Shelton, “not to speak of the many disparaging names. Dual-national labels are usually reserved for first-generation American immigrants, whose American-born children typically cast aside the moniker and simply blend in.
“The ‘great melting pot’ has its shortcomings. My ancestors were slaves, born and bred in America for generations, yet my people have an ethnic qualifier in our collective designation. Will my great granddaughter still be an ‘African American’ as an adult, or will our ethnic name change still again? How long must we wait to be full-fledged Americans? We trace our family origin to rural Georgia, not another continent. We are born and bred Americans — many generations strong and counting.”
Inspired by the teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1960s that the next phase in the march for civil rights must entail strides on the “economic battlefield,” Shelton, unschooled, underfunded and ill-prepared, felt compelled to enter the business arena, though it was clearly a white game. “When an army takes a hill, it’s the foot soldiers, ready or not, who lead the charge.”
Far from taking the business world by storm, Shelton was, at every turn “harshly ridiculed, boldly insulted, openly disrespected, rudely rebuffed and often shown the door.” Much to his surprise, like Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo, who declared, “We Have Met the Enemy — and He is Us,” Shelton discovered that his worst enemies were those perceived to be his friends. “I expected the white establishment to be a hard sell, but to be picked clean by my own brethren?” He pressed on regardless. We can all learn from his mistakes as he recounts the highs and lows of an independent businessman in Black Name, White Game.
“Our mission is clear: If my people, the descendants of American slaves, are ever to achieve first-class status in the pursuit of the American Dream, we must level the economic playing field. We must bridge the economic divide. For too long, it’s been a preponderantly white game. The ‘devil is in the details,’ but we must persist, ill-equipped and unprepared though our people may be. Our marching days may be behind us, but we still have a struggle to establish an equal opportunity society in this nation. The need for economic progress is paramount. It’s time for taking care of business.”
First printing, July 2008
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008928822
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