love-letter-cover.jpgA Love Letter to Black People: Audaciously Hopeful Thoughts on Race and Success by author and award-winning motivational speaker Brian McClellan is a book that has a challenging message for Black people. Like a message given by Bill Cosby not so long ago, Love Letter urges the Black community to abandon outdated attitudes regarding race and success.

The author asks, “What would happen if we all loved our legacy? What would happen if we all saw our legacy as a gift rather than a curse?”

Using President Obama as an example. McClellan tells young Blacks not to take the “race bait.” He points out how Obama avoided taking the bait during his campaign, thus not adding to the divisiveness between races. McClellan likened that response to Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr., who recognized that they could not play the usual race games to succeed. “They had to place the success of the mission ahead of their human instinct to attack when attacked. We cannot move forward until we stop succumbing to our rage. Until we stop living angry.”

McClellan explains that living angry leaves a person exposed to attack. It blinds a person to real danger and often leads to destructive reactions, a response which he believes has done much to hold people back from the success they deserve.

That is basically what Bill Cosby and a few other influential African-Americans have advocated for some time, with mixed results. Perhaps couched in a ‘love letter” the message will go down a little easier. What is it they say about a spoonful of sugar?

This is a well-written book that does not blame or point fingers or intentionally make anyone feel uneasy. The points are made clearly and concisely for the most part, although it took almost a third of the book to set up the subject. It was like an academic paper where the writer has to tell the reader what the material is going to cover, and that was a bit too repetitious. Some of that set up could have been trimmed so readers were introduced to the successful young Blacks who were interviewed for the book. What they had to say was validation for what the author was proposing, and it would have been good to have that validation early on.

While the message is primarily aimed at the Black community, others can benefit from reading this book. It behooves everyone to rise above whatever negative things in our lives have held us back.

•  Hardcover: 288 pages
•  Publisher: Sherian Publishing (February 1, 2009)
•  Language: English
•  ISBN-10: 0979567653
•  ISBN-13: 978-0979567650
Maryann Miller — Maryann’s Web site

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