Rather than sharing business and professional development tips with students, Dr. Randall Pinkett, the recent winner of NBC’s hit reality television show, The Apprentice, gave a lesson on ethics and increasing the peace within the black community and American society during his Feb. 22 lecture at Walk Auditorium.
The lecture, “Increasing the Peace: Our Commitment to Nonviolence,” was sponsored by the College of Education in honor of Black History Month.
Pinkett, president and CEO of the minority-owned and operated management and technology consulting firm, BCT Partners, opened the discussion by highlighting notable violent acts within American culture, including the Columbine school shooting, workplace shoot-outs and the Washington, D.C., sniper attacks.
These acts, Pinkett said, are fueled by a culture of competitiveness rather than cooperation and are attributed to a rise in individualistic and materialistic values.
He added that the immediate desire for success has contributed to the deterioration of ethics, causing individuals to form what he calls the “me, me, me mentality.”
“We live in a society where meritocracy is celebrated,” Pinkett said. “We celebrate underachievement.”
These values are reflective in our communities and in all forms of media, said Pinkett, highlighting music videos and songs that promote overnight success and materialistic goals.
According to Pinkett, such values and images portrayed by the media “undermine our efforts to increase the peace” and contribute to the diminishing ability and desire to commit to nonviolence.
Pinkett suggested that it is the responsibility of students, parents, educators and the community to make the difference. He gave three recommendations toward increasing peace and committing to nonviolence.
First, Pinkett charged that “we’ve got to know our history,” along with the history of one another. He added that the ideology of “each one teach one” must be reinvented to “each one teach many.”
“Ignorance is at the root of many of our challenges,” Pinkett said. “It’s important to connect with people who are not like you so you can broaden your horizons.”
Pinkett also stressed the importance of “knowing ourselves.”
“When you know what you stand for, you reject the quick solution and the overnight solution. You set your own standard of excellence. You subscribe to counter the illusion of cultural norms,” Pinkett said.
Although she said she expected to gain business knowledge from Pinkett, Krystal Jackson, a freshman marketing major, said the lecture made her “really think about how to help the community and make a difference.”
“I feel like I want to get up and do something,” Jackson said.
In his closing, Pinkett challenged students to gain a “we, we, we mentality,” encouraging them to get involved in the community.
He added that Philadelphia is an ideal place for volunteering, mentoring and organizing.
“It is a beginning of a pattern that will continue after graduating,” Pinkett said. “You have to ask how are you helping yourself and using that to help others.”
Malaika T. Carpenter can be reached at email@example.com.