When will African Americans jettison the old slave mentality that it’s okay for corporate America to keep picking winners and losers among them? These sorts of shrouded practices are merely a chip off the old slave’s auction block. They are essentially used to exercise control over African Americans’ skills and talents, undermine the culture’s strengths, and, as a consequence, pit blacks against blacks. Moreover, such underhanded practices have unequivocally suppressed African Americans’ capacity to effectively create a value system that fully comprises and embodies their own cultural achievements. Take, for example, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” skull artwork prior to Sotheby’s contemporary art auction. Basquiat’s skull masterpiece purportedly sold for a mere $19,000 in 1984. It wasn’t until the white-owned Sotheby’s sold Basquiat’s artwork to a Japanese billionaire for an eye-popping $110.5 million that it became famous.
Nonetheless, it’s not all white corporate America’s deviousness that has robbed African Americans of a robust value system. African Americans, unlike other ethnic groups in America, tend to exhibit a “crabs in a bucket” mentality, particularly as it pertains to coalescing around cultural ideas, cultural financing, and cultural innovations. It seems the only way for African Americans to rebuild their lost value system is to first acknowledge and act on the urgency of not having one.