It’s Time to Quit Operating on CP Time

“You know how we are.” It’s a stereotype that, for some, is all too real and all too frustrating.

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I know I shouldn’t punish another production company, car company, co-worker or potential business partner based on those experiences. Yet I find myself doing exactly what I’ve urged executives and managers in my business not to do: let preconceived notions, stereotypes or biases get in the way of hiring or promoting African Americans. Colored People’s Time is one of those stereotypes, and I am one who holds that bias. But based on experience and based on our embrace of CPT, it doesn’t really feel like a stereotype anymore. It feels like the truth. 

I spend a lot of time talking to black students and young black professionals. I always remind them that they’re representing all of us, of the unique challenges ahead for them and of their responsibility to make the path easier for the next young black man or woman who’ll walk in their shoes.

Given the vastness of the problems plaguing our community, punctuality may seem to be the least of them. But it may also be the one over which we have most control. And it’s a big deal. I’m not talking about someone showing up late for a drink or to your house. I’m talking about my experiences in professional settings. And that’s why I reacted the way I did at the awards luncheon. There’s just no excuse.         

We’ve all been late at some point in our lives and probably had legitimate reasons for it. But this week, CPT totally stopped being funny to me. And I’ve become increasingly frustrated with giving some folks a pass who often turn out to be the same folks who want me to give them a chance. 

Being on time shouldn’t be too much to ask. Yet every day it feels like another one of my stupid questions.

T.J. Holmes is a journalist and TV personality. Formerly of CNN, he currently can be found at MSNBC, and his commentary can be found online. Follow him on Twitter.