7.28.2009

An Interview with Warren Ballentine "The People's Attorney"

The Truth About Black & White by Warren Ballentine

Ashahed M. Muhammad (AMM): The book. Why did you write it?

Attorney Warren Ballentine (WB): I wrote it because, honestly, we have not talked about race relations from an economic development standpoint, and the book is about how economics plays a huge role in race relations in this country. I’ll give you a perfect example: What I write in the book is that it’s just cheaper to be White in America than it is to be Black, because of educational advances, because of the police incidents, because of the poverty we grow up in as African-Americans. So, it’s just cheaper in this country if you’re born a Caucasian than being born a Black person.

AMM: Now, any outspoken individual who uses his considerable audience, popularity, or whatever faces retribution. Most of the time it starts with corporate retribution, it may extend to people in their personal life. How have you dealt with those challenges being outspoken and being someone who is not afraid to take what is considered the “politically incorrect” view, or position? How have you dealt with that? How do you maintain your integrity in a situation where a lot of things are judged by numbers, or how much revenue they generate?

WB: I pray everyday. And what I pray for is the spirit of humbleness, and, the spirit of me doing what God is asking me to do—not what I individually want to do. So, if I’m making a “politically incorrect” statement to the masses—this is what God put in me. I don’t worry about what anybody else thinks. As long as I’m doing His Will, then, you know, whatever anybody else thinks, I really don’t care, to be honest with you. I’m not afraid. And that’s the big thing: You can’t be afraid to speak the truth. If you’re speaking truthfully—no matter if you’re White, Black, Hispanic, Asian—if it’s the truth, it’s the truth! And if that’s what you’re telling, you have no reason to be fearful, or, worry about people trying to diffuse what you’re doing. Because, if you’re speaking the truth, they can’t beat the truth.

AMM: How is it going around to different campuses? You are old enough to be respected, but young enough to still relate. What are you finding in the response that you’ve heard in some of these Black colleges. What is their response? How do they feel when they see somebody that’s your age, using the same terminology; talking about the issues?

WB: They love it. I mean, you know, it’s a great response. And they love the fact that—you know, what I’m finding to be surprising is that, especially on a college level, a lot of people are excited about the fact that I’m a lawyer, and not a rapper or a ball player, and coming, and speaking to them. And I think that it’s a lost generation out here, because nobody’s trying to connect that generation to the previous generation. And we have to bridge that gap. I mean, even with our generation—you and me. You know, you look at our elders, it’s a big gap there. Nobody has bridged that gap. And that’s the key: We’ve got to bridge that gap, because, we’re only one generation removed. If we don’t teach the next generation, then they will never know. So, the key is for us to remember: We want to be teachers; but, we want them to feel comfortable enough to understand that we’re their friends too.

AMM: What's coming up for you? What do you have going on next?

WB: I’m leaving here; I’m on my way to Tampa for the NABJ [33rd Annual Convention and Career Fair]. I’m leaving here, and going to Rev. C.T. Vivian’s birthday in Atlanta. Then, I’m going to Tampa; then I’ll be leaving there to go to New York. I’m going to be doing a lot with Black Enterprise and Our World with Ed Gordon, so, I’ll be doing some stuff with him.

AMM: Any books coming up? Possible TV shows? Or, you can’t tell me yet?

WB: I can’t tell you with the TV show, but, the book is out right now: “The Truth About Black and White”—Amazon.com. You can pick it up.

AMM: Real good. Excellent…Thank you.

(Visit Warren Ballentine "The People's Attorney" at http://www.thetruthfighters.com)

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