Our pride is a double edged sword. On the upside, West Indians have the type of pride that galvanizes us around sports and pageantry, brings us to America to make better lives for our families, and makes us yearn for more education and increased assets.
On the downside, we also have the type of pride that brings folks to blows because one person stepped on another’s toe, the type of pride that in a team of folks moving toward a common goal quickly turns “us” to “I”. You see, while the efforts of a larger group may be pushing our dreams and ambitions forward, though we may never realize our full potential without that team, the bottom line is “we not begging nobody nuttn”. We could accomplish so much more if we would let that attitude go.
Wanting to learn the source of his pride I recently sat with an extraordinarily successful Jamaican-American, Robin Mahfood, CEO of Food for the Poor, America’s largest international relief organization. It was just before their twentieth charity gala, this one aiming to raise enough to build seventy homes in Haiti on the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in that country.
There is an air of confidence about him. He leads a staff of three hundred and forty employees inside the company headquarters, coordinating efforts to feed two million hungry people throughout the Caribbean and Latin America every day. I asked him how he does it. Without hesitation he credited not himself, but the hand of God and the amazing team around him. I prodded, “the hand of God working through you”. He replied humbly that the hand of God works through them all.
His pride is not for himself and his own ego. It is for the army of troops behind him pushing to address a common cause. His Caribbean pride comes from helping the wider community where he has so many times seen the face of God in the less fortunate. You feel his pride manifest in his humility. If this was how we all approached life, imagine how much more we could accomplish.
Calibe Thompson is a personality, author and the producer of The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly. For your free preview of her 2015 collection of writings, Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say, visit www.calibe.net.