Can’t Do is a Lie

3 min readJan 27, 2024

I hail from a community that’s been told what it can’t do for so long, it’s in the DNA. Can’t do is it’s religion. I was born in a community where the loudest, most numerous voices eat their leaders and celebrate their remains. A community that no longer builds the tallest, most brilliant buildings the world has ever known but kicks over the stones. A community that silences and mutes, injecting generational curses into its youth.

But this isn’t for them.

This is for the DOrus. This is for the believers. This is for those who refuse to accept the can’t do religion. This is for those who know there is a river of courage, accomplishment, brilliance, and sacrifice. This is for the architects who built the pyramids. For the mathematicians who calculated the trajectories of the stars. For those who forged irrigation systems, and fed their people from dry land.

It’s for those who taught philosophy while erecting cities, and sprinkling gold through the sands. It’s for those who dared to declare I’m the king of the world, I am the greatest. It’s for those who confronted apartheid, with blistered hands and souls, bodies wasting away in jail, and emerged dignified, presidential, and forged a freer world.

This is for the courageous who shepherded the underground railroad when the train stations were closed. Who cried freedom, and flew planes while being bulleted at home. For the dreamers. For the people who believe stumbling is not falling, and in every adversity lies the seed of progress. For those who imagined soul ships returning home, rather than to wicked lands.

It’s for those who toiled in the dark, renaissanced Harlem, and beautified ebony faces. It’s for those who journaled freedom and grandfathered social science, a couple generations removed from being an illegal for reading. It’s for those who rage lyrics, that echo humanity and victory.

It’s for those who refuse to accept a religion of can’t do.

Refuse to accept a losers creed.

This is for those who choose what can be done.

Who choose progress over popularity.

Who choose pressure over comfort.

For the trailblazers.

For those who do.

I’ve been told what I can’t do all my life.

Can’t do, may be where I’m from.

But it will not define where I’m going. I drink from a different river.

You can’t attend that college.

You can’t make Afro-Studies a department.

You can’t pass the licensing exams.

You can’t hire those people.

You can’t fund those people.

You can’t build that kind of business.

You can’t build that kind of organization.

You can’t speak like that.

You can’t think like that.

You can’t walk like that.

You can’t lead like that.

Who are you to be confident?

Who are you to be proud?

Who are you to believe?

Who are you to refuse to drink from the cup of mediocrity?

Who are you to refuse to accept this plate of impossibility?

Who are you to slap away excuses?

Who are you to dare to believe those people can achieve?

Who are you to dust yourself off, and stand tall again?

Who are you not to humble, bow, and martyr your aspirations before the can’t do?

Can’t do, is a liar.

Can do, is the answer.

The world around us wasn’t built by the exceptional. It was built by everyday people who were willing to do exceptional things. Go build something.

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I’m believe that change can occur when people are equipped with the tools to exercise agency in their lives. Entrepreneur. Writer. #catchjsbuford