The Black Millennial Dilemma Series
Jeff Williams

I struggle with “the dilemma” and I’m not entirely sure why.

  1. Motivational Differences— I think generally speaking you’re correct in that we are all focused on a desired outcome or impact on our community. But I wonder how motivation comes into play. For example, I have friends that grew up with nothing and their motivation comes from pure grit and determination to not live like they once did. On the other hand, like myself, I grew up middle-class , granted I worked and nothing came to me spoon-fed, but I never struggled. My motivation comes from knowing that I grew up fortunate, and wanting to provide the opportunity to others.
  2. The Malcom X vs. MLK Jr. approach — sometimes I want to force others into understanding by any means necessary. This is the “I’m black and you’re not, don’t tell me how to feel” approach. Other times, I want to seek first to understand, then be understood” non-aggressive style. I haven’t quite pinpointed what triggers either reaction.
  3. The Optimist vs. The Pessimist — I don’t think I’m the only one that side-eyes every diversity initiative that I see. Maybe I’m part conspiracy theorist, but I always am looking for the ulterior motive when I see something that should be deemed positive for me and my people.
  4. Personal Gain & Fulfillment — I think this partially addresses Jon M. Bennett’s question. In order to do work for a sustained period of time, I’ll have to have personal fulfillment and growth for a sustained period of time. The nature of punching a clock, and working to just put food on the table is over (in my opinion). The nature of my work has to be as dynamic as I am. Making money is probably easier now than it has been before so we, millennials, no longer feel obligated to work for one employer.
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