Is success really unbiased with regard to race? Does everyone in America have the exact same opportunities and resources?

Many people think so.

A few weeks ago, I asked a question the question “What are the biggest challenges facing Black entrepreneurs?” on LinkedIn. Take a look at the response I got from a man named George, who happens to be Caucasian. (I’ve edited his statement slightly to correct spelling errors and remove a few irrelevant remarks.)

“Blacks, like everyone else should understand whatever they face, everyone faces. Lack of capital, lack of connections, lack of confidence, lack of courage, lack of time, lack of “good” experience, sometimes lack of family support, sometimes idiotic friends, lack of motivation, etc.

It is not “worse” or “better” for blacks. Stop making people believe they have it worse because of race or religion or sex or accent or anything: the playing field is leveled against you, (and anyone else not already-filthy rich). Just go out there and mix it up with the others already on the field. There are no challenges for “blacks only,” it can’t be, as success and failure is color-blind! Jesse Jackson might disagree with me but then again, it is his job to disagree…what does he know about challenges or rush-hour traffic? You should change your question to “what are the biggest challenges to entrepreneurs,” to make it more logical.”

Here’s how I responded via email:

George,

“What does it feel like to have a menstrual cycle? As a man, you don’t have the experiential framework to answer that question. It would make sense for people to refrain from talking about something they simply cannot understand.

“No doubt, it’s tough for every entrepreneur right now, with the exception of the ‘already-filthy rich’ that you mentioned. Some challenges do apply to everyone. But each segment has also faces its own individual challenges.

“An immigrant who speaks little English will face unique challenges native speakers don’t.”

“Senior citizens are discriminated against in certain industries, whereas young people are marginalized in others.”

“Not long ago, I overheard someone say that they wouldn’t be treated by an African American doctor with his hair braided. Granted, it may have been more about the hairstyle than race. But the fact that a cultural expression such as hairstyle can create a negative impression (conscious or subconscious) is a unique challenge, isn’t it?”

“Having said all that, there is documented evidence that black-owned start-ups are 5 times more likely to fail than white-owned ones. This indicates that SOMETHING is going on, and it suggests that black entrepreneurs have challenges to overcome that their white counterparts are less likely succumb to.”

“Attribute that to whatever you like. But it sounds like evidence that success may not be as unbiased as you think.”

In my opinion, George’s comments illustrate how a majority tends to be blind to the circumstances faced by the minority. They’ve never walked in minority shoes, so it’s difficult to understand what they’ve never experienced.

In the same way that a man can’t tell a woman “Menstrual cramps don’t hurt that bad,” I don’t think white people can tell black folks or other ethnic groups that “Success is colorblind.”

So, which side of the issue do you fall on? Is opportunity unaffected by race or cultural factors? Are we all really equal?