Yes, I said it. We are going to tackle the most critical, most misunderstood, and most visual issue of the day, without getting personal or negative. In this narrative I will not mention names of individuals or groups, or ever get into the “I” or “you” or “they” mode. This will be difficult, but is imperative for all Americans to understand now. Why now? If we do not research, process, and implement a realistic method of dealing with racism in America, our society will never be able to function as it was designed to by the Founders. They escaped to the New Word to get away from the cultures of racism and bigotry that dominated life in Europe at the time. The Founders emphatically assured an environment of tolerance by all who subscribed to the tenants of the U.S. Constitution. Americans must re-visit those tenants if there is any hope of racial reconciliation and ultimate American peace within.
There can be no eradication of racism by edict, by law, by mandate, or by strife or hate. The necessary process to do away with racism is not complicated. But it is very difficult to accept and adopt by most Americans. But if racism is to ever be put away in our culture, this process is necessary. What is it? Follow along with me:
- We must be personally willing to give up the right to feel wronged. Feeling wronged and/or taken advantage of by others brings with it a spirit of entitlement that prevents any possibility of reconciliation with whoever perpetrated an act that initiated that feeling. When anyone feels entitled to any specifics that pertain to interaction with someone else, simple because we are all human and therefore prone to mess up, when we do, that “entitled” person almost always gets hurt feelings from being wronged. Adopting a fundamental default mindset that has no piece in it of ownership or right directly or indirectly attached to any action of another keeps the air clear and that person genuinely does not feel wronged.
- We must adopt a default position of blanket acceptance of others. That is impossible unless we consciously commit to look past the mistakes and errors that others make from just being humans. We must expect that association with those will naturally include human traits and actions that are by their actual foundation flawed and mistake driven. If we enter a relationship at any level with the expectation of human nature showing up, when that shows up we merely express our love and support for others and let the “chips fall where they may.” Making mistakes in life are commonplace and a certainty.
- We must resist the everyday temptations of assessing blame. How best to do that: accept that others by nature will do us wrong and by nature we will do others wrong. That acceptance will take blame out of the environment of relationships and never color the way we interact with others. That will keep the air clear instead of being constantly full of wonder and anger and mistrust that are the products of blame.
- Forgiveness MUST be fundamental in our lives. There are three types of forgiveness we must adopt and accept: forgiveness of ourselves, forgiveness of others, forgiveness from God. Admit it: we are all flawed, make mistakes, and have hurt others. If we are unwilling or unable to admit that and find a way to forgive ourselves for mistakes and/or choices made based simply on our built in propensities to screw up, how can we ever hope to forgive anyone else? When we accept the fact that it is human to be flawed, that we make mistakes and we are sorry for those and commit to not repeat them, we can then transfer that process to our relationships with others. In those — because we have accepted our flaws and forgiven ourselves — we have learned how to offer that same process to those who have in their humanity made mistakes just like we have. That will initiate forgiveness for them. Finally, we all should know that God wants to forgive us for our boo boo’s. Often we refuse to accept His forgiveness feeling we are not good enough. Here is an important fact to remember: forgiveness is not ever deserved or earned. Forgiveness is given. God gave forgiveness to us. It is foolish to not be willing to accept it and make it part of our life. That would be a tremendous waste! In doing so, we show others that there is life after forgiveness without the staggering guilt that comes with un-forgiveness of all kinds.
- We must find a way to put others in our lives first: ALL the time. There is only one way to do that. We must find a way to honestly love those who we do not know. Wow! How is that even possible? First, we must accept that love is not a feeling. Love is an action that we choose to take that must be truly selfless and without conditions. And it must be for someone else with total abandonment of any predisposition we may have for that person or that person’s circumstances. Love is actually the act of giving to someone expecting nothing in return. Unless we can achieve that mind and heart set, we can never truly love others. We all have been guilty of using the word love in selfish and self serving ways, hoping to achieve some action from another by telling them we love them. True love means exactly the opposite: “I love you,” period — no expectation of anything for giving that love away. Think about this: in a racist environment the atmosphere is charged with distrust, hate, selfishness, and fear. Even in that environment if we find a way to show acts of true love, we can actually see fear disappear. The Bible says “True love dispels all fear.” Without fear, racism melts away, and love is what remains.
- To make this change, we must be honest with each other AND ourselves. Telling and/or living lies only serves to exacerbate the already intolerable atmosphere between us. Think how much easier it would be to work through all this together if we did not have to ask “What did he REALLY mean?” when someone tells us something. It would be refreshing to be able to simply believe what we hear and move forward. Believe it or not, doing this will probably be the hardest thing many will do in this process. Why? We have processed the trait of accepting lies — those we say to ourselves and those we say to others — as O.K. Example: When someone we don’t want to talk to calls us and our wife answers the phone in the kitchen, we whisper to our wives, “Tell him I’m not here.” When our son or daughter who sees the whole thing says, “Daddy, you told a lie!” Our response is, “I really WASN’T right there by the phone. I was across the room, so it really wasn’t a lie.” We somehow find a way to make that lie OK. By the way: there is no such thing as a “little white lie.” A lie is a lie. “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
- We must learn how to “know” those people in our lives, not just know “about” them: there’s a huge difference. I know “about” many people — I know where they live, the car they drive, how they dress, where they work, where their kids go to school, their political party affiliation. That is knowing “about” them. To know them is to know WHY they live where they live, WHY they drive THAT car and dress THAT way and work at THAT job, etc. If I know someone I know when and why they hurt, how they feel about all sorts of things in their life, and they know the same things about me. Too often in this racism charged world we look at people and simply assume because we “see” them we “know” them.
- We must stop making decisions based solely on what we see and hear from others — especially in the Media. A large percentage of political decisions Americans make today are based on perceptions they make based on things others — including the Media — state as truth or given as factual “news” information. We have become lazy, primarily because we are media driven and busy. It is much easier to turn on the radio, skim the newspaper headlines, or watch nighttime news or late night monologues to use as the foundation for our decisions. We owe it to ourselves and our families to make educated decisions and choices, especially those involving those closest to us. I urge you to spend time reading and studying various sources of information — especially when you see or hear things that are so important as to initiate specific decisions in your life. Not knowing something for certain doesn’t mean one is stupid. Not knowing something for certain and not getting a factual answer by choice IS stupid. Life is too important to change for ourselves and others based on incorrect or inaccurate or false information.
I hate racism. I don’t care in what form it exists, it in every instance illustrates a disdain for others based solely on skin color or moral superiority that is not real but perceived. Racism cannot exist in a vacuum void of hatred and fear. Those two drive the narrative of racism. To do away with the 21st Century plague, we must rid our lives of these and replace them with at least those things above in this discussion. I am certain there are others that we need to consider. I want us to do that. Please do not just read this and blow it off. I do not care what you think of me. As I have said many times, just because I think something is so doesn’t make it so. I love to hear diversity in thoughts and ideas and want to read yours.
Please take a few moments and below share your comments and suggestions. I want to start today a serious conversation from all who wish to weigh in with ideas to make a course correction before it is too late. Name calling, the blame game, guilt, fear, hatred, elitism, political correctness, all must go away in this conversation. We are adults. And we care about this generation and its issues. We all want it to survive and thrive so that the next will have a great foundation on which to make our nation better.
I am NOT linking this to my Facebook page. This will only be viewable here unless you share it somewhere else. (feel free to do so if you like) My feelings about involvement in this very important discussion are simple: The more the merrier. There are a lot of people who view this site. (Yesterday 94,146 read yesterday’s post) But few take the time to comment or discuss. I encourage your input. Not trying to sell anything to anyone. I am honestly hungry to make this world a better place for my 6 grandchildren and for yours.
Thanks for joining in.