That’s right, I’m going out on a MAJOR limb here and I’m going to talk about how to TRULY change the world, specifically with regards to race relations here in the U.S. as they currently stand. You’re either going to be offended or love this. It’s a long one, but worth it. 10 to 15 minutes of reading for the chance to understand other people and start to change the world.
First a “Why?”
Skip this if you just want the meat of the discussion. Those of you following my blog know I swore off social issues just under a week ago. I was tired of the venom, and how it all made me feel. I hate failing and quitting though. I’m also a firm believer that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. Ergo, I had to take a hard look at the situation and ask myself how much of my failure was on my end. Looking back at my previous posts, I think the tone was too negative. You can be right as rain, but if you bludgeon people with it, you’re only going to alienate them.
Proverbs 15.1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Notice there it does NOT make exceptions for how correct somebody THINKS they are. So, I want to try this again, at least one more time… See if I can reach people via speaking plainly but kindly, and no longer holding back some of my religious and spiritual beliefs for fear of alienating people. Being genuine and authentic matter. On with the show!
The Actual Post:
I’m going to primarily be tackling the subject of race in America, and what I think folks on both sides need to do to come together. The general theme of “Be the Change You Want to See” is true for how to fix all the world’s problems though.
I’m likely going to offend a few white folks, and a few black folks. My only goal though is to challenge you all to look at the problem through each other’s eyes and develop a greater understanding of things.
If you want to say I have no right to speak here, you’re wrong. This country was founded on the idea that EVERYONE should have a voice. That’s why the First Amendment exists, so that you and I both always have the ability to peacefully make our opinion known.
For what it’s worth, I’ve also lived all over. Everywhere from “The Hood” to nicer middle-class areas. I’ve had friends of all races and also seen firsthand the worst that all people have to offer.
I’m going to start with white folks. We’re the largest ethnic group in the country and have the most ability to effect change.
What White Folks Should Know:
First, I get it. If you’re like me, you’re probably a decent person who genuinely wants all people to be safe, happy and have the equal opportunity to work for success in this country. You’re probably also sick of being lumped in with Klan members, told you have no right to speak, told you’re automatically a racist by virtue of your skin color, etc… It’s frustrating and hurtful.
If you genuinely are a racist or Klan member, I’ll be unduly nice and simply say “repent”. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say hate people of other races. Quite the contrary. We’re ALL God’s children. Enough said.
The rest of you, I’d simply ask that open your mind and try to understand the frustration on the other side. Up till 1964, Black folks were still dealing with segregation. That’s just 56 years ago, and almost 100 years after the end of slavery and The Civil War. Millennial black people and their children still have parents and grandparents old enough to tell them what it was like to go into a diner and see a bucket full of axe handles and bats near the door or counter in case they “Needed to be put in their place”. Things didn’t truly get better till the mid 1970s.
Yeah, I know… YOU didn’t do that. I understand that. I believe most black folks understand it also. What I am asking you to understand is that the wound runs deep. There is a small percentage of us that are determined to keep that wound open also. Black folks don’t know if you’re a good person when they first see you any more than you know if that young black man is really into hip hop culture and rap, or a thug.
The first part of bringing about change is realizing that we’re all human beings and just want to get by and be safe in our corner of the world.
When you hear somebody arguing that it’s “Black Lives Matter” instead of “All Lives Matter”, they still believe your life matters also, it’s just that they feel so incredibly threatened by what’s happening that they believe extra attention has to be put on the black lives being lost.
When you get upset over kneeling during the national anthem, understand that it has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, etc… It’s about waiting 100 years even after freedom from slavery and still not feeling truly equal in society. How far would YOU go to draw attention to the issue of your rights if the situation were reversed?
It’s easy to sit back and say that everybody has the same opportunity in America. Yes, black folks do have more opportunity than some of them have been led to believe also. HOWEVER, equal opportunity depends on an equal education for starters. If schools have poor teachers and no equipment, how good an education is ANY child going to get? Financial education is also important if somebody is to stay out of poverty once they start to get ahead.
It’s also a different world when you live or work in a poor neighborhood. There is a higher percentage of desperate people there, so the police ARE more inclined to view everybody with suspicion. I’ve lived it. I’ve almost had a cop draw on me during a traffic stop, and I got politely (which is more than many get) questioned by a cop when stopping at a 7 Eleven store at 2am also. Some black folks live this every day of their life. When people are distrustful of you, it’s natural to start wondering about their intentions as well. YES, there ARE legitimately racist cops out there also. It’s a small percentage, but they’re still out there, as this video shows:
That poor guy’s only “crime” was Jaywalking on a completely dead RESIDENTIAL street. Something everybody does. Despite the police claim that he “threw down his jacket and challenged them to fight”, the video only shows him taking it off and putting it down. Note that when the cop grabs him by the collar, his hands are still at his side too.
I was in Sacramento when that happened. There was NO hidden stuff you didn’t see, no ‘he looked like a suspect’ even. That’s why he ended up with a huge settlement from the city. I’ve seen similar situations elsewhere a few times. THIS is exactly why black people say they’re afraid of “walking while black”. So, I ask you to understand, if you’ve only had good experiences with cops, that’s not everybody’s luck. We have to do all we can to support good cops, but also make sure cops like this are fired and never allowed to carry a badge again.
That applies to the cops in the George Floyd case also. Yes, he resisted arrest prior to ending up on the ground. He may have had some hidden health issues also. NONE of that should be an excuse for pinning him for roughly three minutes instead of cuffing him. If proper procedure was followed, George Floyd wouldn’t have had those secondary issues kick in and / or died of asphyxiation.
The whole situation is more complex than most of us think. What we as a people need to do is show genuine empathy and compassion. Be willing to listen and try to understand where what you’re hearing is coming from. Ask questions like “I truly want to understand where you’re coming from, so please tell me about what led to you believing that?”
You’ll learn a lot more than you would assuming that the other person is only motivated by hate and / or laziness.
You may not be able to change the world on your own, but just by doing your own little part to be more understanding and consider the other side… just treating everybody the way you’d want to be treated, the world will take one step closer to being a better place. Enough people do it and we’ve brought an incredible amount of light into the world. I’ve used Bayside Church’s Christmas service candle lighting as a perfect example here:
This IS all it takes too. Laws (new or old) can’t change a person’s heart, and a person with a good heart doesn’t need a law to tell them what’s moral and just.
A Note For Both Sides Regarding the Media & Politicians:
I’ve ranted time and again here about the media (left and right) twisting the truth. There are plenty of posts with examples here. No need to repeat it all. I imagine some of them even think they’re doing good and forcing society in a ‘better’ direction. I honestly believe most are just exploiting all of you for the sake of better ratings. You’re being fed a constant stream of half truths to promote conflict. Anger, suffering and violence are good for ratings.
Politicans… They will LIE to your face and say ANYTHING to keep or gain power, and do NOTHING to effect real change. They’re ALL the same. Enough said.
My point being is that too many of us depend on these two groups for facts and to guide us to proper conclusions. Question everything, and actively seek the whole truth. It will likely be something you do NOT want to hear, BUT acknowledging the whole truth is the ONLY way to begin to make real change. I come from a law enforcement family. I hate acknowledging dirty cops exist. Purging them from the system is the only way to protect and honor the good cops though.
What Black Folks Should Know:
Yep, I had my run at white folks, now I’d like to talk to you. PLEASE read the first part for white folks also. It will help you understand where the average, decent white person who wants to support you is coming from.
First and foremost… Realize that the vast majority of white folks absolutely DO care about you, think your lives do matter, and want you to have the same opportunities as everyone else.
You know how it makes you so mad your skin crawls when some gang banger kills his baby mama, or does a drive by on a kid’s birthday party, and you hear some idiot say “See, they’re all like that?”…
Well, that’s how we feel when we’re told that we are all like that (racists), or that we have no right to talk about our relationships with you or other races.
It simply comes down to two wrongs not making anything right, ever. If you justify bad behavior by pointing at other bad behavior, all you’re REALLY doing is lowering yourself to the same level as those bad people.
I really do get that you have decades of frustration over everything. It sucks having to be the one to take the high ground when you’re the victim also. It takes strength to lead by example, the same strength that you’ve displayed by making it as far as you already have.
Something else to consider; there’s an old martial arts proverb that “action beats reaction”. So, in any situation the person doing the acting is more in control than the one who is reacting to what the first person or group is doing.
Now, as far as this whole silencing others thing goes… two quick counterpoints beyond what I said at the beginning of this post:
- Have you EVER listened to anyone that told you to shut up and do as your told? Outside of parents or a drill instructor, I bet not. 🙂 Nobody’s mind is changed by being lectured and brow beaten, no matter how much they deserve it.
- No matter how ignorant a person’s beliefs may be, you can never change them if you don’t understand what’s behind those beliefs, and develop some sort of rapport with the other person. If you try to relate to them they’ll try to relate to you. This is the same thing I was telling white folks that we need to do with you.
History is full of stories of wars and great generals, but who are the people that are truly remembered and honored? It’s the people like Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and Dr. King and similar leaders that have had some of the greatest impact on the world, and without ever resorting to violence. Remember that when you get out there and protest. Protest you should too, but do it peacefully.
On that note, I know it’s usually somebody else that’s starting the looting. It’s usually Antifa and occasionally even a really bad cop setting things up. Just realize despite what the media is telling you, that white supremacists have very little if anything to do with it, neither does Russia, China and Iran. This is what I meant earlier by they’re playing ALL of us for the sake of ratings.
Run the looters out of your protests, call the cops on them or just avoid them if they’re too dangerous. Do NOT let them drag your righteous cause down with them. Antifa ain’t your friend either. All they care about is causing destruction.
I’ve got to touch on a couple of sensitive areas now. Please hang with me and hear me out.
One of the areas where you lose support from people of other races is when you support cases where it wasn’t the cops’ fault. A good example is the Stephon Clark case in Sacramento. Part of the problem with cases like this is the media reporting only half the story. Stephon was a victim of a broken system though, not the cops. He was seriously depressed, had relationship problems, and was on drugs the night he was shot. He ran from cops into a VERY dark location and they couldn’t see what he’d suddenly pulled out of his pocket. I was in Sacramento, so I heard more of the story than most of the nation. The shooting was a tragedy. That Stephon ended up in that situation was a CLEAR failure of the system to have some sort of a safety net where he could get help or counseling. A case can be made that better lights for the police might have helped too, among other things. The media outright reported this tragedy as an execution though, and exploited you simply for the sake of ratings from protests and grief.
Those times when it IS a case like that, be willing to admit it and work peacefully to improve police procedure and social services, or whatever may be needed to prevent future occurrences. It will improve your relationship with the cops if they feel you’re trying to understand their end also. Most cops are legitimately good people too.
OK, last point and it’s a TOUGH one. I’ve lived in the hood and seen it though. I went to a high school that was nicknamed “Blood Bank” because it was overrun with members of the Bloods too. There is a SMALL percentage of the black community that trashes kids who want to learn and get ahead as “trying to be white”, label people like Ben Carson or Herman Cain who do get ahead as an Uncle Tom or Coon, and that consider gang banging as “black culture”.
I reject all of that, and you should also. Education is the key to a better life. Saying learning is “acting white” is really saying black people can’t learn. That’s complete crap. Dr Ben Carson is one of the best brain surgeons in the world (if not THE best), came up from the hood, and is proof positive some of you are smarter than any dang white person. Anybody that tells you not to learn is trying to keep you ignorant so they can play you. It’s that simple. I believe most of you accept all of this already. It’s a small. loud minority of folks pushing that. Don’t let them. Black folks are every bit as smart as any other race.
Same goes with crime. I’m not going to say much here. We both know the vast majority of black folks are NOT gang bangers and thugs. Do your best to minimize those voices, for the benefit of your entire community.
Ladies, YOU have the power here also. The person a black man is most likely to respect and listen to is a strong black woman. I’ve seen young black women take control of their fellow students and settle a class down. I’ve heard stories of mothers pulling their sons out of gangs, etc… Its up to you to stand up, lead the way and help heal your community and the country.
Wrapping It Up:
I try to look fairly at every side of any given situation. What I see today is two groups of good people that are having an increasingly hard time talking to each other. We’re all victims of a past we had little to do with.
We both need to change some.
We both need to be willing to talk more and actually try to understand each other.
We ALL need to come together as a united and equal people and prevent a corrupt media and leadership from trying to get us to destroy each other while they screw all of us.