Are You An Opportunity Winner Or An Opportunity Loser?

Winners see opportunity where losers see imperfection.

In 1947, Morgan State University saw imperfection in Vivien Thomas. Thomas contacted the school wanting to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. He had life experience in the field of medicine that he hoped would qualify for academic credit and shorten his time attending the university. Morgan State saw only imperfection because Vivien Thomas was black. Morgan State insisted that the black man would have to take all freshman classes before graduating. Vivien Thomas decided he would be too old when he graduated and gave up his dream of becoming a doctor.

What was Vivien Thomas’ life experience? He developed techniques and instruments for heart surgery, specifically surgery to save the lives of babies with heart defects. Morgan lost bragging rights by excluding a medical pioneer from its list of alumna.

In 1930, white surgeon Alfred Blalock saw opportunity when a black teenage male carpenter applied for a job as a surgical research technician. Because Alfred Blalock hired Vivien Thomas, Alfred Blalock is now revered as a pioneer of heart surgery with Vivien Thomas. Vivien Thomas taught heart surgery techniques to all of the first white surgeons. They came from around the world to Johns Hopkins Uniersity in Baltimore to learn heart surgery. Johns Hopkins University won bragging rights for having a medical pioneering team on its staff.

Note: According to Vivien Thomas’ autobiography, he never worked as a janitor at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt paid him janitor’s wages because he was black, but he worked only as a surgical research technician. Dr. Blalock eventually got him better wages.

In 1937, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit saw imperfection in Vivien Thomas as a colleague of Alfred Blalock. Henry Ford offered Alfred Blalock the position of surgeon-in-chief. Blalock would have been able to run his own department, train his own men, and do more research. When Blalock insisted on bringing Vivien Thomas with, Henry Ford Hospital said they never hired blacks. Henry Ford Hospital lost. Johns Hopkins University hired Vivien Thomas with Alfred Blalock and won.

In 1943, pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig saw opportunity in the Alfred Blalock/Vivien Thomas team. She came to them with the idea of creating an operation to help “Blue Babies”. Blue Babies are born with defective hearts. Taussig saw opportunity in the Blalock/Thomas team for developing a heart surgery to correct the defect and save babies’ lives. Helen Taussig won. She received the Albert Lasker Award for outstanding contributions to medicine. Johns Hopkins was a double winner for seeing opportunity in mostly deaf female doctor Helen Taussig.

Obviously, Morgan State University and Henry Ford Hospital are no longer the losers they were in 1947 and 1937. Most institutions were losers back then. Morgan State’s list of famous alumni includes many people of color. Henry Ford’s roster of surgeons includes many people of color. They have both joined Johns Hopkins University as winners.

Seeing opportunity instead of imperfection, Johns Hopkins University created more opportunity by putting Alfred Blalock, Vivien Thomas, and Helen Taussig together in one place. Alfred Blalock, Vivien Thomas, and Helen Taussig were all determined problem solvers. Together they solved one of the biggest problems in history — how to safely operate on human hearts to save human lives.

Determined problem solvers are smart employees, according to Danny Shader, CEO of Good Technology:

“Profitable innovation comes not from inventing a product, he (Danny Shader) maintains, but from having a team of smart employees who figure out how to do a better job every time they interact with customers. ‘That sort of innovation will do a lot more for your company than a piece of parchment (patent),’ he says.”

What do you see? What do your employees see? Are you creating more opportunity by putting a variety of determined problem solvers together in one place? Are you giving yourself opportunities to win big?

Vivien Thomas

Alfred Blalock

Helen Taussig

Johns Hopkins University

Henry Ford Hospital

Morgan State University

Olympians Of Opportunity

Partners of the Heart: Vivien Thomas and His Work with Alfred Blalock
Vivien Thomas

“Relax. Let your guard down: Why patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property protections are bad—that’s right, badfor business”
David H. Freedman
Inc. Magazine
August 2006


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots



What White Supremacists Have To Give Up To Live Purely White Lives

In the process of adding new examples.


White supremacy definition:

“the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior
to people from all other racial groups, especially black people, and are
therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society.”

White supremacists and white nationalists see other racial groups as threats to their supremacy, especially since the white population is declining compared to people of color. Many white supremacists and white nationalists feel they have the right to kill to protect themselves from other racial groups.

But to prove they are the dominant group, white supremacists have to prove they need nothing from any other racial group, especially blacks. Therefore, to protect themselves from all other racial groups — especially blacks — they should live purely white lives. To live purely white lives, white supremacists would have to give up:

Airplane travel

Blood transfusions from blood banks

Carbon light bulbs


Color IBM PC monitors

Controlled drug delivery

Driving through traffic lights

Eye disease diagnostic tests

Food delivered by refrigerated trucks


Gunpowder and firearms

Hearing aids with electret microphones

Heart surgery

Home security systems with cameras

Ironing Boards



Peripheral devices for computers (disk drives, printers, monitors)

Potato chips

TV remotes

Vanilla extract

Following the descriptions below are examples from other groups who threaten white supremacists. I will add more examples as I find them.

Perhaps the best way to make use of the examples is to mention the origins as each example comes up in daily conversation. Talking about the origins in social situations where you are surrounded by people means more than one person should hear you. Also take advantage of social media opportunities to mention the origins. In my experience, indirect methods can sometimes be more effective than direct methods.

“I’m glad the Totonacan Indians of Mexico learned to extract vanilla
flavor from vanilla beans hundreds of years ago. It’s one of my favorite
spices, and it’s in lots of the food I eat.”

“My mother had heart surgery and it saved her life. If black man
Vivien Thomas hadn’t developed the techniques for heart surgery
when he did, my mother might be dead now.”

“Funny that so many people think that Jews are all about finances
when a Jew invented the TV remote control.”

Iowa Congressman Steve King:

“I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where these
contributions that have been made by these categories of people that
you’re talking about,” King said. “Where did any other sub-group of
people contribute more to civilization?”

“Than white people?” asked host Chris Hayes.

“Than western civilization itself,” King responded, “which is rooted in
western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America,
and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world.
That’s all of western civilization.”

“Congressman Steve King: whites aided civilization more than other ‘sub-groups'”
Scott Bixby
The Guardian
July 18, 2016

Conservative Essayist Lawrence Auster:

Recently I wrote:

And that is all that blacks as an organized community have to
contribute to our civilization: endless complaints about white
injustice to blacks, and endless demands for the wealth and
goods that white people have produced, and that blacks are
incapable of producing.

To which a Christian blogger, Johann Happolati, responds:

This is absurd. In music alone (no small thing) blacks have made
many enduring contributions to civilization.

To avoid misunderstanding, I should have clarified the difference
between civilization and culture. While completely satisfactory
definitions of these concepts are not possible, and there is always
going to be some overlap between them, they are nevertheless
distinct. Civilization refers to the ordering principles and values
of a society: law, morality, government, philosophy, religion, science,
and technology, as well as art at its higher levels. Culture refers to the
expressions of a people, whether at the level of ordinary life, in the
sense of manners and morés and what we call a “way of life,” or at
the level of the arts and entertainment. Blacks have certainly made
contributions to our culture, in the areas of popular music and
idiom. They have made virtually no contribution to our civilization.”

“What Have Blacks Contributed To Our Civilization?”
Lawrence Auster
View From The Right
April 24, 2012

NASA named a 40,000-square-foot building the “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility” because Katherine Johnson made no contributions to science or technology?

Blood banks and heart surgery are not science?

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall made no contribution to law?

“Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court
justice. Prior to becoming a judge, he founded and became the executive
director of the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund.
His most well-known case as a lawyer was Brown v. Board of
Education of Topeka
available in HeinOnline’s U.S. Supreme
Court Library.
ScholarCheck statistics reflect that this case has
been cited by nearly 22,000 articles and more than 2,300 subsequent

“Research African-Americans’ Contributions to Legal History”
Shannon Sabo
HelmOnline Blog
February 16, 2016

Eugene Jacques Bullard made no contribution to France during World War I?

“During his lifetime, the French showered Bullard with honors, and in 1954,
he was one of three men chosen to relight the everlasting flame at the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier in Paris. In October 1959 he was made a knight of the
Legion of Honor, the highest ranking order and decoration bestowed by France.
It was the fifteenth decoration given to him by the French government.”

Story: Eugene J. Bullard
Dominick Pisano
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
October 12, 2010

You get the idea.

Airplane Travel

In 1953, a small Piper propeller plane “literally fell out of the clear blue sky and crashed to the ground” after going through the trailing wake of a larger plane. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) engineers assigned employee Katherine Goble the task of analyzing the photographic film record of the flight’s vital signs. Goble noted airspeed, acceleration, altitude, and other metrics. She made the required conversions using equations the engineers supplied for analyzing the converted data. Finally, Goble plotted the data to give the engineers “a visual snapshot of the plane’s disrupted flight”. The engineers then set up an experiment recreating the circumstances of the accident. They also gave that data to Katherine Goble to analyze.

The data revealed that when a plane passes through an area, it can leave air disturbance that lasts for as long as half an hour. The wake of a larger plane can make a smaller plane stumble and fall out of the sky. Other research found the same consequences. Because of that combined research, new air traffic regulations required minimum distances between flight paths. After Katherine Goble’s husband died, she remarried. As Katherine Johnson, she is known through the book and movie, Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures
Margot Lee Shetterly
New York: HarperCollins
2016, quotes on page 128.

Blood Transfusions From Blood Banks

Father of Blood Banks Charles Drew, a black doctor, figured out how to process and preserve blood plasma, “banking” it for later use.

“Charles Drew”

Carbon Light Bulbs

Black man Lewis Latimer worked with Thomas Edison, helping to develop and patent the carbon light bulb.

Lewis Howard Latimer
Updated: February 2024


The discovery of the coffee bean happened during the 8th century in Ethiopia or Yemen. The 15th century Sufi monasteries of Yemen have the first credible evidence for either coffee drinking or information about the coffee tree. Coffee spread throughout the Arab world before reaching Europe.

“Coffee and qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global”
John McHugo
BBC News
April 18, 2013

“The History of Coffee”
Gourmet Coffee Lovers

Color IBM PC Monitors

Black man Mark Dean helped lead to computer monitors with color.

Mark Dean
Updated: January 13, 2021

Controlled Drug Delivery

Uruguayan Alejandro Zaffaroni’s companies invented Glucotrol to treat diabetes, Duragesic to manage chronic pain, Nicoderm CQ to quit smoking, and Transderm-Scop to prevent nausea and vomiting from motion sickness.

“Alejandro Zaffaroni”
Memorial Tributes: Volume 20
The National Academies Press

“ALZA Corporation History”
Funding Universe

Eye Disease Diagnostic Tests

Vietnamese-born biophysicist Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh invented optical scanning diagnostic equipment that can detect and diagnose eye diseases.

“Tuan Vo-Dinh”
Duke University

“Tuan Vo-Dinh”
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Gunpowder and Firearms

The Song or Sung Dynasty (960-1279) of China produced gunpowder and firearms.

“The Chinese Invention of Gunpowder, Explosives, and Artillery and Their Impact on European Warfare”

Heart Surgery

In 1930, white surgeon Alfred Blalock hired 19 year old black male Vivien Thomas to work in his surgical research lab. Thomas developed the techniques and the first instruments for heart surgery. Thomas talked Dr. Blalock through the first dozens of “Blue Baby” heart surgeries. Dr. Blalock required every surgeon learning heart surgery to take a class in surgical techniques from Thomas. All the first white surgeons from around the world learned the techniques for heart surgery from a black man who had no formal education beyond a high school diploma.

“It’s A Wonderful Story, It Brought Tears To My Eyes. Thanks For Letting Ss See It But Try It Elsewhere”
Jack Limpert
November 6, 2014

“Something the Lord Made”
Katie McCabe
The Washingtonian
August, 1989
Reprinted on Longform Reprints

“Vivien Thomas Pioneered Surgery That Saved Millions Of Lives”
Scott S. Smith
Investors Business Daily
February 22, 2016

Home Security Systems With Cameras

Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system with cameras.

“This African American woman invented your home security system”
Stephanie Buck
June 13, 2017

Music In 20th Century America

“We now know with the benefit of hindsight that the black  population of the Americas, almost all of them descendants of slaves, would reinvent popular music in the twentieth century. And they did it in so many ways: first with ragtime and the blues, then with early jazz and swing and the first stirrings of R&B, and again with soul, reggae, samba, boogie-woogie, doo-wop, bebop, calypso, funk, salsa, hip-hop, and numerous other genres and subgenres and hybrid genres. Even when white musicians stepped forward with their own distinctive popular music styles—whether it was “British Invasion” rock, disco, bluegrass, or whatever else climbed the charts for longer or shorter durations—they almost always did so with heavy borrowings from black sources or inspiration. No European cabaret, however fashionable or disreputable, could compete with this outpouring of creativity and innovation—one that continues in the current day.”

Music: A Subversive History
Ted Gioia
Basic Books
2019: Page 310


Chinese court official Cai Lun (also Ts’ai Lun) invented paper and the process for manufacturing paper.

“Cai Lun”
Encyclopedia Britannica

Potato Chips

African American/Native American George Crum was a chef who invented potato chips to please a picky customer.

“George Crum”

TV Remotes

Jew Robert G. Adler “was definitely the father of the clicker”, according to Jerry Pearlman, former chairman and chief executive of Zenith Electronics.

“The inventor of the ‘Remote Control’ dies.”
AnandTech Forums
Discussion started by techs
February 20, 2007

Vanilla Extract

The Totonaco Indians of Mexico were the first to extract vanilla from vanilla beans. Totonacans used vanilla as a medicine and a perfume. Aztecs later adopted vanilla and used it to flavor a chocolate drink. Eventually, the French learned how to cultivate vanilla beans and vanilla became one of the most widely used spices around the world.

“The History of Vanilla”
In Depth Info

Two More Threats to Superiority

For purity protection from people with disabilities and homosexuals, white supremacists should also give up:




Because she sees the world in a different way, autistic Temple Grandin understands animal behavior. Her insights have improved every step in the beef production process.

“Temple Grandin on how the autistic ‘think different'”
Karen Weintraub
USA Today
May 1, 2013


Homosexual Alan Turing was the father of computer science.

“Why Alan Turing is the father of computer science”
Jay McGregor
June 7, 2014

White supremacists should walk their talk if they want everyone else to accept their inherent superiority.


Any group of people can discriminate. Some gays are now joining white supremacists in discriminating against blacks and Jews.

“How the Alt-Right Is Using Sex and Camp to Attract Gay Men to Fascism”
Donna Minkowitz
June 5, 2017

Anyone who stereotypes others is practicing Foolish Failure at least. Full-Blown Failure, Fanatical Failure, Finding Fault Failure, and Blunder Backfires are also possible. Even intelligent people make failure choices.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Soft Skill Power Strategies

Learn strategies for free in the blog posts

Gossip Posters

Gossip Proverb

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

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Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots



If Mitt Were Willing To Share, Would Ann Have A Cure For MS?

The techniques for heart surgery were invented by a black man who began his surgical research career as a nineteen year old. His whose job experience was carpentry and working as an orderly in an infirmary. Because few people had attempted heart surgery before, this black man with only a high school education invented instruments to make heart surgery possible. Some of his instruments are still used in operating rooms today. Vivien Thomas (yes, Vivien Thomas was a man) grew up in a low income household. Vivien himself received a janitor’s wages from Vanderbilt University while he was working as a surgical research technician. In the 1930s, Vanderbilt paid all black males janitor wages no matter what kind of work they did.

Let’s play a little It’s A Wonderful Life, that Jimmy Stewart movie where the main character learns what the world would have been like if he had never lived. What if Vivien Thomas had grown up with inadequate food, inadequate health care, and inadequate education? What if all of those inadequacies made Vivien Thomas unable to fulfill his potential of inventing the techniques and instruments for heart surgery? Vivien Thomas’s wages were so low that he considered switching jobs to better support his family. What if his inadequate pay forced him to stop working on the techniques for heart surgery and go back to carpentry? How many people in your life (you?) would be dead or never born if Vivien Thomas had been unable to invent the first techniques and instruments for heart surgery?

Someone else would have invented the techniques for heart surgery eventually, but it could have been decades later. Heart surgery would not be what it is today, so more people would have died instead of being saved. If your family has a history of heart problems, you might not have been born.

What if a child who could have grown up to develop the cure for multiple sclerosis did not develop the cure because inadequate food, inadequate health care, or inadequate education prevented the fulfillment of his or her potential?

If Mitt Romney would share some of his millions to make sure children of all colors had adequate food, adequate health care, and adequate education, perhaps one of those children would grow up to develop the cure that would give Ann Romney her health back. Mitt and Ann should hope that it’s not too late for the cure to be discovered in their lifetimes. Keeping money in offshore accounts doesn’t seem to have done much for Ann’s health.

Mitt has to hope his wealthy peers are generous with their money as well so the door opens wide enough for that particular child to walk through. We cannot assume that child has been or will be born in the United States. Vivien Thomas was born in New Iberia, Louisiana where he went to elementary school. He attended high school in Nashville, Tennessee. No one could have decided that the black children of New Iberia, Louisiana and Nashville, Tennessee should have all of their needs satisfied to make sure one child could grow up to invent the techniques and instruments for heart surgery. No one can look anywhere in the country or the world to decide that one particular group of children should have all of their needs satisfied so that one child could grow up to develop the cure for MS.

And while the open door would let that child through, it would also let through children who have the potential to grow up and improve lives in all kinds of ways. What other health problems plague your family?

If you focus on money, all you get is money. If you focus on creating opportunities, you receive the benefits of those opportunities. Why hasn’t Mitt Romney figured this out? Because he was too busy thinking up reasons to justify his claim that 47% of Americans don’t “take personal responsibility” or “care for their lives”?

“In Search of Vivien Thomas”
Damon M. Kennedy, DO
Texas Heart Institute Journal
January 2005; 32(4): pages 477-478

“The Real Truth Behind The 47 Percent – Why Aren’t Those People Paying Federal Income Taxes?”
Rick Ungar
September 19, 2012


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots


Wrong Age, Wrong Color, Wrong Status, But The Right Person For The Job

He was 19 years old. He was black. He was a carpenter.

But Vivien Thomas was the right person to develop the techniques for heart surgery.

In 1930 white surgeon Dr. Alfred Blalock ignored all the wrongs and saw something right about the teenage black male carpenter. Dr. Blalock hired Vivien Thomas as a surgical research technician at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Vanderbilt University paid Thomas as if he were a janitor, because all blacks at Vanderbilt received janitor’s pay no matter what their real jobs were.

But Vivien Thomas was the right person to invent instruments for heart surgery.

When Dr. Blalock considered a position at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and wanted to take Vivien Thomas with him, the hospital let Blalock know that Vivien Thomas would not be welcome.

But starting in 1944, Dr. Blalock performed the first heart operations at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore with Vivien Thomas standing on a stool behind him, looking over his shoulder. Blalock needed Thomas to coach him through the surgery Thomas had developed.

Years after doctors from around the country and around the world came to Johns Hopkins to learn the heart surgery techniques Vivien Thomas had developed and a year after Vivien Thomas developed a complex surgical technique called atrial septectomy, Thomas looked into fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor. He applied to Morgan State University. Morgan State ignored Thomas’ pioneering accomplishments and told him he would have to take all of the basic freshmen courses.

But Dr. Blalock had Vivien Thomas doing surgery alone on lab dogs within weeks of hiring him when Thomas was still 19 years old. The techniques Thomas developed became the basis for a variety of heart surgeries.

Johns Hopkins awarded Vivien Thomas an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1976. Today, Dr. Thomas’ portrait hangs next to Dr. Blalock’s portrait in the lobby of the Alfred Blalock Clinical Sciences Building at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Questions To Ask Yourself

“How many people in my life have benefited because a white male surgeon ignored all the wrongs and hired the right person for the job?”

“How much have I lost because someone else saw only the wrongs and refused to hire the right person for the job?”

“What can I do to encourage other people to hire the right person for the job so that I don’t lose any of the benefits the right person would create for my life?”

“How am I going to make sure I choose the right person for anything?”

Note 1

In the decades before Dr. Blalock hired Vivien Thomas, individual doctors performed early forms of heart surgery. The surgery developed by Vivien Thomas and performed by Dr. Blalock was the surgery that made the world take notice and brought you whatever benefits heart surgery has created in your life.

Note 2

Several online references write about Vivien Thomas as a janitor. According to Thomas’ autobiography, he never worked as a janitor. He was paid as a janitor, but never worked as a janitor. Dr. Blalock hired Thomas to be a surgical research technician and put Thomas to work doing surgery on dogs his very first day of work. Within weeks, Dr. Blalock had Thomas doing the surgery by himself.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots