Salutations Fellow Black Initiate,
I saw your picture in the stack of members set to join us in rural Pennsylvania, and I wanted to reach out to say hello. I know it’s not like us Black folks to get wrapped up in such things, so I thought it’d make sense to give you a little “just between us” orientation to supplement the official one our forever-wise Pathfinder requires.
First up, the business development stuff is great. It’s practical and useful. The organization has really made me a thoughtful leader and a better creative problem-solver. I now have valuable tools to apply to my dreams and business ventures should I ever be allowed to leave here. The instructors are so thoughtful and thorough, and you really get a sense that they want to see you succeed in making the organization more money. That said…
There’s this weird thing where you gotta kiss your teachers on the lips. I know that sounds strange, and at first, I wasn’t sure if it was specific to the organization or simply a thing white folks did. I’ve only been to France once for a youth leadership conference years ago, so I’m not fully up-to-speed on the European greetings and customs. Just thought you should know that Pathfinder loves a little peck on the lips. It’s one of the many ways that his dedication to community is shown to us.
Take volleyball, for example. Maybe you’ve heard already, but we play a lot of volleyball here. Like, A LOT of volleyball. Due to Pathfinder’s peculiar love of the sport, it is the premier community activity at the organization. Truth be told, I hadn’t even held a volleyball ball until I got here. The sport wasn’t offered at my school, but now I play three times a week with people who hardly seem better than me.
Can I be honest for a moment, though? We spend so much time in rec center courts that my newly developed PBE, or “proficient business emotionality,” sometimes wonders if the time could better be used to recruit more people to do the Sisyphean tasks we’ve all convinced ourselves that we love.
Wow. That felt good to say.
I’ll admit, the real memories are made after the volleyball matches as we step off the court and crowd around our sweaty, booty-short wearing, genius Pathfinder. It’s here he shares his wisdoms — wisdoms you’ll find so necessary and profound. Think of these wisdoms like brain teasers on the back of a cereal box — focus on the details and the effect will allude you, but step back, take in the piece as a whole, and you still won’t fully be able to see or understand it, but you’ll pretend you do.
And then there’s diversity. There are people from all walks of life — from television actors to aspiring filmmakers — the diverse fabric of whiteness is brilliantly represented in every $7000 class. Sometimes I really have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I’m sitting in the same room as that guy who looks like a bunch of other guys from that show from a bunch of years back that I haven’t really seen. Whether culturally, socially, or economically, we have so little in common with these people that I’ve come to find it so inspiring how truly susceptible all human beings are to ambiguous-but-impassioned rhetoric. As you sit in that room, noticing that you are, in fact, the only Black person there, take pride in the fact that we too are impressionable.
Lastly, everything is recorded. Everything you do will be on camera. Always. I’m sure it’ll come in handy someday. Knowing that we will always remember these days fondly, it will be nice to look back at the younger versions of ourselves and be able to say, "Damn, we were really onto something. What a good idea it was to devote all our time, energy, and emotional bandwidth to this marketing and business development organization way back when.”
Looking forward to meeting you and may the Pathfinder bless you.