Mother Se’May Sayer: The ARC of Time
Season Two: Episode Six: Project ‘MODEL’
Part Three: Privilege and Ambition
(What is with me? Is it my responsibility because I hold power? Why has this fallen to me to teach others what they do not know? I know the answer to my own questions, but I need to speak the questions out loud as a reminder to be humble in the trust God has bestowed upon me. What is one of my responsibilities in this world he said? Singular learning and the search for the unknown is one part of the trinity of retaining knowledge. A more vital indicator of learning is do you have the ability to interpret what your eyes perceive. Simply put. Can you watch how others display their skills and abilities and to the best of what’s in you mimic how they do it.
Mr. Ableman Sayer showed me how it’s done just as much as he talked with me about how it’s done. Now at some point I got to start putting things together in places of my life through utilizing the knowledge I’ve acquired. Knowledge is useless unapplied. It’s just like collecting all the ingredients to bake a cake, but you don’t know in what order to add them in the mix. Also to stop believing or chasing some ideal representation of my life and live the life I’ve created for myself. It is enough to be content in who I am and also to strive to be a better person each day.
That’s deep. I need to incorporate that into my last review of Oakli’s project. It will take finesse and tenacity to which I may not be able to accomplish either of those nouns in the context of what I’m seeking out of her. Well, I’ll just have to press forward and hope she is capable of understanding what I’m doing and the standing I want the ARC to represent in business and every community.).
Oakli Sands: I don’t need to fight for my standing in this country.
Mother Sayer: You have never spoken a truer statement since your employment at the ARC. Although we’re going to take a deeper dive into the meaning of what your privilege means for you and what you’ve actually gained by possessing it.
(What transpired in Mother’s critique of Oakli’s presentation that made her rear her head and respond to Mother so forcefully? Mother needs Oakli to understand the importance of what she possesses and what she lacks for this project to truly fulfill her requirements. The Model Project is more than just mentoring young people and adults to locate their strengths and pursue what makes them stronger. More important pieces of ‘Model’ is to create success not only for yourself in what you know, but also to encourage growth and expansion in those taught by this program.
How can I say this? The Model Project seeks to establish a person’s credentials not just in the short term. It is meant to establish a person as a source of expertise and wisdom. It is not enough for one to know something. It is more profitable to think of oneself as a tree with branches reaching for the sky. Mother to her credit doesn’t like wasting time. She went at Oakli no matter her pedigree. Let’s continue with the dismantling of Oakli’s idea of ‘Model’ and Mother’s vision of the potential this project holds.).
Oakli Sands: The Model Project has a specific target group. Those that exhibit a certain aptitude for personal expression. People that don’t look to follow the crowd.
Mother Sayer: Yes yes I know the prevailing entrepreneurial happy talk. Tell me how this project can be scaled up to meet the kind of numbers needed to be successful?
Oakli Sands: Finding them will account for the bulk of the cost of this project, but the return on investment will more than cover those expenses.
Mother Sayer: What psychological tools will you use to qualify the raw recruits?
Oakli Sands: There are psychiatrists and therapists on staff to ‘point’ those that qualify in the right direction.
Mother Sayer: Glad you have a plan to use them. What about ambition?
Oakli Sands: Ambition?
Mother Sayer: Yes Oakli, ambition. Quite frankly privilege is. Well privilege is something the ones who came before you established in your name. I want to know what else is available to you when your name fails to carry the day?
Oakli Sands: I graduated from Columbia which is one of the best colleges in America. My last name adorns the fifty million dollar sports rehabilitation complex. Earning my way isn’t written anywhere on my resume.
Mother Sayer: (This white girl is unrefined good. Let’s instruct her in what she’s missing from a master player.). Oh so you think that the position you now hold was something of an expectation here at the ARC?
Oakli Sands: Do I have an expectation of power and influence if that is what you mean. Then that is correct.
Mother Sayer: First we seem to be a little off track here and that is my fault. I should have explained to you why you’re here in the first place. My human resources department doesn’t operate by some standard mechanics of locating qualified candidates for open jobs. My staff collaborates in unison by pouring over each potential hire by their strengths and weaknesses of all potential hires.
Thereby the recruiting process fills in the gaps of each hire and thus strengthens the ARC as a whole. It can be said my company is constructed according to a blueprint of hiring sound people that will maintain the structure of the whole. The ARC is made up of a diverse pool of highly qualified people. People that want to fulfill the role laid out for them.
Now leaders at the ARC will tell you if you ask them that a red carpet was never rolled out for them when they came on board here. A resume is an introduction. That’s all it is. What talents you possess will come to the surface as they have. Let me tell you what I see so far.
Oakli Sands: What you’ve seen? This is the first meeting with you about this project. What could you possibly know about my talent or skills for that matter?
Mother Sayer: Grooming is impeccable. Clothing tends toward high end designers and obviously your salary here couldn’t begin to cover the costs. Where the disconnect is the image and presence doesn’t match.
Oakli Sands: I dress better than most because I have a name that demands it. Most people wouldn’t understand that, and it looks like that includes you.
Mother Sayer: An image is dull without the ‘presence’ for complete clarity. Presence in this sense of the word means all parts of how you want to be seen should be fully developed. Mind, thoughts, projection of certainty and outward image should be unified. What I perceive from you is you are nowhere near a finished product.
Oakli Sands: My name tells me I’m a finished product.
Mother Sayer: Thus lies the corrosive nature of privilege. (Mother said this sentence slowly for full effect.).
Oakli Sands: Are you here to punish me somehow for the pedigree I was born under? Why are you coming after me like this?
Mother Sayer: Like what?
Oakli Sands: I was hired by you to do a job and I understood that to mean that my background had a lot to do with it. My name very much got me in the door and my name has added to your bottom line. I’ll give some credence to an unproven commodity being assigned a value just as a precious metal or a gem, but my last name is worth billions. I don’t need someone barking at the top of their lungs in the hope that my qualifications go to the highest bidder.
Mother Sayer: Now we’re getting somewhere. Privilege got you an interview, but where you stand at the ARC is my call. Granted we got off to a spirited start with your presentation, but I’m curious as to who would be your target for the purpose of this project?
Oakli Sands: Well I think it can be marketed to all races of people.
Mother Sayer: What would it look like for Blacks, Asians, and Mexicans? How would you approach those demographics? What materials would you use that would relate to the struggles in their communities and help them achieve success?
Oakli Sands: Well the Asians don’t need assistance as they are a very smart race of people.
Mother Sayer: Wrong. Asians are scattered throughout the world. They live in societies that are both restrictive and relatively free. In America they are laden with stereotypes almost as worrisome as Black people are. Violence has to be accounted for and it plagues their lives just as much or more as other people of color. If you don’t know anything about them how and why would they answer your call with brochures graced with white faces?
Oakli Sands: I wouldn’t have a one size fits all marketing strategy. I would lean heavily on my team for insight and understanding as I created the materials to launch this project.
Mother Sayer: Oh good let’s look at your team. Mr. Poff is your residence Black guy and second in command. Ms. Wizeria is your Asian staff member spearheading your marketing team. Janella is your Black assistant. Mazhaes is your Mexican coherence artist in charge of fitting all the moving parts together. The rest of your staff consists of ambitious men and women of diverse backgrounds ready to help flesh out all ideas and make them work or discard them.
Oakli Sands: My staff is known to you I see. What don’t you know about this project?
Mother Sayer: My knowledge over my entire operation is enough to set expectations. My intent is to make everyone aware of the vision I have for the ARC. After that my duty is to know what’s going on under my command at all times. Not in the ways that people think. I am here to place trust in the leadership layers and hold those direct leaders accountable. Due diligence is part of my organizational principles.
Oakli Sands: I know what I’m doing, and I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder approving every decision I make.
Mother Sayer: That’s amateur hour. What you just said and the way you said it sounds like amateur hour. Reason why privilege is corrosive and ultimately counterproductive. You really think that I would overlay the skills, character traits and more importantly a diverse background from knowing people that don’t look like you. What assistance can your people offer you? I’m sorry, but my imagination is clearly lacking in how well you know your people.
Oakli Sands: I did graduate at the top of my class.
Mother Sayer: I know. (Mother motions her right hand to Sarah W. Certainty for the file on Oakli. She opens it and skims the contents.). Ninety-seven percent of your class was White. A member of Delta Gamma it says here and I’m sure you organized the Greekwide Fashion Show. Care to explain how you came to be put in charge of that your first year? Don’t worry, I’m sure the sorority knew about your family name.
Oakli Sands: How did you know about that? I don’t like my history being perused.
Mother Sayer: The second mistake you’ve made in your back and forth with me. Again, amateur hour which is becoming tiresome. Let me speak about ‘ambition’ for a while as your entire team is present. When you don’t possess things that can make a life more enjoyable and stress free it tends to light a fire underneath your pants to get it.
My father taught me something very valuable amongst all his lessons. There are people on this Earth that start with nothing and achieve greatness. There are people on this Earth also that start with much and also achieve greatness. Why I asked him? My father said it is the responsibility of the person being taught to choose to achieve greatness. There will be some that have no need of anything because they were fortunate to be born into it. Their ambition usually dies as they look upon all they have.
The ones born into nothing it keys up their desire daily for the opportunity to achieve greatness because if they don’t do it chances are it will never happen. Ambition is the fire that burns away all fear and doubt. Why? Because their ground is charred and barren. Ambition makes that person renew that soil so it can be watered and seeded for the time when the harvest must come. This belief drives a person to one day see their field burst through and grasp for the sky.
Oakli Sands: That’s a good metaphorical and philosophical story Mother. It was even laced with catchy emotional content. How can ambition trump privilege. In my world having is better than not having.
Mother Sayer: Privilege is really like a leech. Sure you had requirements to meet set by your parents in order to stay inside the chocolate factory, but those achievements were bestowed upon you and frankly easily obtainable. Let me ask you something. What was on your mind daily growing up knowing you didn’t have a want for nothing?
Oakli Sands: I didn’t need to think about where or who I owed my good fortune if that’s what you’re getting at.
Mother Sayer: Exactly! Now you’re engaging with me on a cerebral level. What happened to you when you became aware you were inside the gates of privilege is this. Nothing you did would ever exclude or revoke your membership. Worrying about how you would pay for college never crossed your mind nor a doubt about attending the college of your choice.
Oakli Sands: Mostly true are all your observations, but my parents did require me to keep the family tradition of attending their alma Mater Columbia.
Mother Sayer: Good. Now compare the success of a hypothetical person that wasn’t fortunate to begin life under the conditions proven helpful let’s say for you. There are a lot of challenges that person would have to overcome just to even have a shot at a good life.
Oakli Sands: Oh please, don’t lay out a guilt trip scenario for me. We give to charity.
Mother Sayer: Who gives to charity?
Oakli Sands: My family does.
Mother Sayer: Right. Now looking at this ‘person’ beginning a quest for success probably has parallels to some members of your team. Have you gotten to know any of them outside of work? Have you heard their stories?
Oakli Sands: I have my own circle of friends, and as you’ve mentioned it before I don’t think their money is, how do you say it as ‘long’ as mine.
Mother Sayer: Mr. Poff is a former government official from South Africa. Ms. Wizeria is impressive. I found her working in her family’s restaurant waiting tables and doing the books. Janella comes from a fine family. It was just her and her mother for the longest time. She reminds me of that first time I ate her grandmothers’ cooking. You have to have seconds and I made sure to bring her through my doors.
Mazhaes methodical mind is crucial for a project like this. He knows how to combine all the parts to give your project purpose. Something easily explainable, credible and achievable. Why do I know more about them than you do you may be thinking? Because I possess ambition.
Oakli Sands: Can you make what you just said make sense to me?
Mother Sayer: Gladly my dear. Let’s lay our cards on the table. I did use my father’s money to start the ARC. That wasn’t the end though. It could have been because I could legitimately say I made something of myself even if it was with a loan from my dad. That’s the trap. I was successfully living a dream. My father taught me much, but the ambition I had to plant, water and grow.
Let me take a sidetrack a minute. Indulge me if you will. Maybe growing up in a two parent home where money was never an issue wasn’t beneficial for you.
Oakli Sands: I never lived in a fairy tale if that is where you’re going with this.
Mother Sayer: (Mother guesses she means there was extramarital stress in the family which is common in people with money and nobody there that can say no they can’t have want they desire.). How we start in life and the lessons we get or more in your case didn’t get in the home has bearing on personal behaviors. How thoughts are gathered and where personal choices are directed. Believe it or not. Sometimes the best representation of a family is not the two parent home.
Oakli Sands: So because I had a mother and a father in the home I’m somewhat skewed in my assessment of the reality around me. I choose the people I’m comfortable around. I work here and that’s it.
Mother Sayer: I will repeat the words you’ve just expressed. “I choose who I spend my time with. I am comfortable with the sort of people I’ve known all my life. This is where I work and that’s where I keep it.” All that said. What about you qualifies you to lead this team without knowing anything about them? How do you know where to place them or assignments that coincide with their strengths and abilities?
Oakli Sands: I’m not following what you’re doing here. Am I not in charge of my team? Yes or no?
Mother Sayer: (Before Mother answers she looks out the corner of her eye to see Sarah W. Certainty keenly focused and piling questions mentally ready to shoot her way when she finishes with Oakli.). Oakli, let’s first get something straight. I will say this as calmly as I can. When you sign paychecks here then you can be completely in charge of your team. Truly, your last name can open doors for you, but once inside what do you have going for you?
Oakli Sands: I don’t need to have a lot going for me. As I said my name opens doors for me and they are shut once I enter the room.
Mother Sayer: Sweetheart ‘your’ legacy is not the legacy of your last name. You can’t take credit for what someone else did. That’s not how life works at least where I come from.
Oakli Sands: It is enough where I come from. It’s been that way since I can remember around my house. There are people that would eat shit and kiss my parents asses to do business with my family.
Mother Sayer: I’d say that’s true, but at what cost to the business? What if I told you that even with great fortunes lies the potential for all of it to end up on the pile of forgotten empires. What about Kmart, Zayres, Woolworth, Sear & Roebuck and Blockbuster Video for that matter? All names of great companies that lie under the rubble of their laurels.
Oakli Sands: My family wouldn’t let that happen.
Mother Sayer: Why because they are so great at ordering people around while letting their children and grandchildren grab as much of the goods as they can before it’s all gone.
Oakli Sands: We don’t fight and steal from each other like some people do.
Mother Sayer: Oh, a dog whistle. Even if you believe the stories painted by the media for over a hundred years thankfully most if not all of their newspapers are on the pile of squandered empires. They can’t write a good enough story about how water is wet anymore to get anybody to buy a paper.
Oakli Sands: I believe they still have their money though.
Mother Sayer: The money they did manage to hide in complicated trust funds. Their businesses no longer bring clout to their names. The doors they only allowed their inner circle through no longer grants them entry.
Oakli Sands: What do you want from me? How many times I’ve got to ask that. Tell me why I’m here?
Mother Sayer: Honestly? I brought you on board to see if you could help yourself. Your team is quite capable of creating a mentoring program that reaches all races and cultures. The position you hold is simply a figurehead which represents how much respect and honor you’ve given it. Leadership is something you should learn or not.
Oakli Sands: Am I in charge?
Mother Sayer: Goodness I never said you weren’t. That’s another thing you have to work on. Being sensitive about qualities you lack being pointed out doesn’t help you any. Finally, I believe you have potential, but it isn’t the potential you claim you possess. Have a story for me to review in 30 days targeting the Black, White and Hispanic communities. We’ll increase our outreach once those branches are pointing toward the Sun.
Oakli Sands: I’m supposed to get to work now?
Mother Sayer: Absolutely. Tuaole I’m finished with Ms. Sands.
(Mother feels the intensity of Sarah’s massing energy that remains contained but ready to explode as soon as possible. She needs to get it out now. Mother quickly moves through the outer doors to the last offices on the floor and stops in the circular areas where Tuaole controls the flow of visitors and workers on the third floor. Mother goes into the break room and allows Sarah to get what’s on her mind out into the open.).
Sarah W. Certainty: You pulled your punches with Oakli. Why?
Mother Sayer: Why do you think that? (She briefly looks at Sarah expecting her to answer. When she doesn’t Mother knows this is a special one.). Very good. I thought you had a fully refined sense of attentiveness. That skill set can only be found in the most focused of people. I have to guess you had to pay attention in a home provided for by the criminal underworld.
It is true. I did pull my punches with Oakli. Leadership should never have a tool in the bag that serves a destructive purpose. It is counterproductive because everyone gives a contribution. That should always be the place in a leaders’ heart that starts every eventual success.
Also I’ve learned something on my own which I’ve spent years weaving it in the very blood of my life. “Pack properly for every journey”. It is a variation of the Army’s soldier level readiness for deployment. “Check your gear to protect your rear”. My understanding isn’t confined to the issues of today. I find myself contemplating how life would have been in America if she utilized all her resources from the get go.
Sarah W. Certainty: I trust your father laid the foundation of your understanding, but you are the one who had to put up the walls and the roof.
Mother Sayer: Well said Sarah, I must assimilate that into my thought processes. My father along with your father and mother were a great blessing we have realized now more so than when we were little. We now realize if it’s even possible the magnitude of the ‘training up’ they gave us. I know I haven’t mentioned my mother a lot when we talk, but she did teach me about woman stuff. The bulk of who I am though did come from a man that doesn’t share my DNA. Mr. Sayer and I share something more precious. Blood. Adoptive blood of which I believe is the strongest blood there is.
Sarah W. Certainty: I have a good idea of what you mean by that. It seems the men around my father barring an underworld title for them did relate to him like a father or big brother. That I believe is what held his henchmen loyal. I know it sounds like a warped sense of trust and love, but I’ve seen his men die for him and my father provide for the children and wives they left behind.
Mother Sayer: That’s right Sarah. Besides what would I gain from humiliating someone anyone? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m already in charge. My purpose is known to me. I know what I want from my people. How about me as the leader try to draw that out of them instead of bleeding off energy to emotional or fruitless zoom in on their unrefined and uncultivated skills.
I didn’t start my company with my father’s money to practice stupidity which serves in the end the creation of a vindictive leader. Seeing with my own eyes the blowback from embarrassing your people led to the downfall of many in command. Besides believing you’re untouchable or indispensable is counterproductive.
Sarah W. Certainty: So, always keep your emotions in check?
Mother Sayer: Yes and to answer the question at the tip of your tongue I did come down harder on O’Woh. O’Woh spent too much time in my assessment succeeding while in the wrong. Can a person make money doing criminal acts? Sure. Does privilege have some of the same underlying qualities? Dam right they do. The lies and thievery of privilege demands you ignore discovering what skills, qualities, desires and purpose your life holds.
Resting on the laurels of something you didn’t create is like wearing blinders while obnoxiously rebuking all the things life is screaming you must possess.
Sarah W. Certainty: So you’re saying that Oakli isn’t grasping the magnitude of what she is lacking which eventually that lack of cultural competence will contribute to her undoing?
Mother Sayer: Right. Here’s another life skill which I know for you must be tiring to hear so many of them. Just because you’ve done something, said something, or believe in something doesn’t mean someone else has to understand why you believe it is right. Some people and I was one of them until I pulled my head out of my ass believe that everybody understands the meaning of your words.
Because you said it doesn’t make it so! Besides I bet if we took a long look at the history of humankind every time period and every act of tragedy and atrocity started with someone thinking they were better than someone else. From that degrading of human beings or classification of human beings’ evil crept in through that opening. “Hatred has hung out its’ shingle and he continues to get a constant flow of customers every day.”
Sarah W. Certainty: Why let Oakli stay on then if you believe she looks down on her team?
Mother Sayer: I know I could be treading on shaky ground trying to ‘enlighten’ her to what many perceive her as behaving like everyone is beneath her. Actually I’m counting on her team to not let her treat them with anything less than total respect.
Sarah W. Certainty: My mother would say if you’re cooking Ribollita I hope you sure treated your servants right. It’s a dish from a time when slaves were servants and nothing off the table was thrown away.
Mother Sayer: I love the Italian culture. Everything has meaning which is what I’m trying to reestablish for Black people with the stories my teams are developing. I believe that the First Father meant for it to be this way. Different cultures would come together and share stories about what makes their lives so rich. These false substitutes of privilege, money and Christian tomfoolery has devalued all of us.
I’m going to bring this about Sarah. Nothing is going to stop me.
(Mother feels like she planned for the worst and came out those three meetings more mentally determined to make her projects the standards across all those industries. What most pleased her is that she held firm to her purpose. Teaching and strengthening your people must be the standard. Staying committed to her mission statement shows discipline and Mother feels even General Tholodious would be pleased with her command of her team.
Sarah is now like a daughter to me holding my skirt as I lead her to and from every lesson she must learn. It is quite pleasing to have an adult female listening to another adult female and becoming better for it. I will not besmirch her in any way Mother tells herself. Everyone expects the same behavior from me every day and I will not act out of character. I’ve chosen this way to be, and I will be that way until I die.
Show them better than you can tell them Mother thinks to herself.).