• Ayris T. Scales

"Black People Must First Want To Be Successful"

Today, I was asked by a colleague, if I thought that Jared Kushner’s comment was an unintentional error? My immediate response was…


“His audacity to speak as to whether Black Americans want to be successful is an “elitist” dismissal of our years of struggle against systemic barriers, only to still be in a position in which the attainment of western valued “success” is unattainable; not because people don’t want it, but because it was not intended for them.


Success should never be confined to, defined as, or qualified by a set of standards, systems and policies that were actually only intended to amplify a specific subset of people. I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and says, you know what, I want to be a failure. I want to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to rack my brain with how to keep the lights on or feed my children.”


I am a Black woman and I strive daily to achieve successful outcomes for myself and marginalized people. So tonight, I tip my hat to all Americans holding it down in our communities, our homes, our classrooms, our nonprofits, our churches, our small businesses and beyond - as we define success on our own terms for the betterment of all people.