The Resurrection of Charlie Strong: What it Says about America’s View Regarding Black Professionals and their Ability to Serve as Leaders

One of the most difficult things for anyone, particularly an African-American male to bounce back from a failure in their professional lives. This matter becomes unbelievably more complicated when the alluded to failure occurs on a national stage in front of one’s peer group. It is inevitable that failure will befall some unlucky chap from time-to-time.

Historically speaking, when a failure occurs for an African-American coach in either a professional league or at a major collegiate campus they are usually never provided another such opportunity. As an alum of The Ohio State University, my mind reverts to the turmoil within our men’s basketball program that ultimately led to the dismissal of Randy Ayers, an individual who would never again serve as a head basketball coach.

Well-meaning mentors have historically taught burgeoning African-American professionals that they have no room for error in their professional endeavors as one errant step could ruin their present position and any future opportunities. Historically speaking, African-American professionals, regardless of the venue they are operating within are expected to be beyond perfect; a demand that no one could ever achieve. It is amazing that more African-American professionals have not cracked under pressure to achieve perfection.

News that the University of South Florida is seriously considering Charlie Strong for its head coaching position is noteworthy because it proves that one professional failure such as the one that Charlie Strong experienced at the University of Texas is no longer the end of the road. America should celebrate this occurrence as it proves that this nation has lessened its grip upon old stereotypes that questioned African-Americans ability to fulfill leadership roles.

When placed within the larger context of American race relations, the belief that African-Americans possess the make-up to serve in leadership positions by whites is something that must be noted and then applauded.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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