This month we will discuss:
- White apathy
- Chesapeake News
- “Don’t Do Anything Stupid – A White Man’s Guide to Racial Harmony.”
Here are a couple of quotes from people who either endorsed my book or who offered content:
- This book is like chipping paint—it’s messy but it needs to be done or nothing new will stick. If I had my druthers, I would put this book on every white man’s mandatory reading list. This book has expanded my perspectives, and I admit to trying to convince myself that I was above the fray.”
- I wish white people understood that racism exists today.
- White people like to say – I cannot be a racist; I have five black friends.
- I wish white people realized that there can be two different experiences for whites and blacks in many different situations.
- Empathy is the key to all of this—the ability to imagine oneself in another’s place and then asking the questions: Is this, okay? Is this acceptable? And if the answer is no, then have the courage to change it.
It is tempting to go off on a short essay on how divided we are today. I do not think there is any value add to that. Let’s move in a direction where we ponder solutions. What brings people together to where we have real relationship growth? The answer? A Common Purpose!!
Sometime this Fall Alabama will play a football game with LSU in Bryant Denny Stadium. There will be close to 102,000 fans there and perhaps 10,000 at the most will be LSU fans. The other 92,000 are avid Alabama football fans. Of those 92,000 there may be as many as 30,000 democrats and people that voted for Joe Biden. There will be lots of black people, white people, and other races. Those 92,000 folks will be giving each other high fives, smiling at one another and all sorts of other friendly conversations on that crisp fall afternoon as Alabama will surely pummel the Tigers from Baton Rouge. Don’t these folks usually insult one another? What happened?
In my industrial career I normally took over a facility that was in trouble. I had a process to begin to change the culture. I would get the place cleaned up (people work better in a clean environment), put in the DuPont STOP program which is an attitude-based safety program, and I would make sure everyone had a common goal or number that reflected the overall performance of the facility. For example – in a Sherwin-Williams facility that I took over, the degree of compliance to the grinding schedule (a particular paint making machine) indicated facility performance. That was our measure of success – accounting department, HR – everyone. I made their bonuses contingent on that number. Initially there would be a lot of moaning and groaning until they all began to realize that if they worked in unity to achieve the goal that good things happened – including the relationships between the people involved.
In order to experience the bonding that occurs by focusing on important things you have to show up together. For people of faith, there is no more important thing than worship and serving their God. However, Sunday, for the most part, is a segregated day. So, we need to be more innovative in getting together in this manner.
In February of 2021, a small group of us gathered to discuss and address the subject of racism. Our focus is on our faith, something we have in common. Our group has grown to about 30 involved on a regular basis and we are close to half black and half white. Getting white people involvement is a struggle. Although the hub is a large mega-church, Church of the Highlands, the group consist of members from a variety of churches both white and black and we meet at different places. The group engages in numerous public service projects – mostly associated with young people. Last week many of our group met at Matthews Elementary School in Northport and we hung with the kids and other volunteers on their “field day.” You don’t have to bond on a Sunday.
It has been a struggle to get white people involved – especially young white people and white pastors. My guess is they figure they already have it figured out and that there is no problem – or worse, they have the solution. They don’t.
Placing yourself in an environment that is unusual for you and might make you uncomfortable will be good for you. Ponder how you can make that happen. Ponder taking a step of meeting new people and go serve together. Make some new friends.
- The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. John Hancock
- Choices determine the distance between where we are and where God wants us to be.
- The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur. Vince Lombardi
- If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing. Benjamin Franklin
- Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. Iris Murdoch
- The choices I make will determine the person I will become.
- When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have a lot of fun, you can do amazing things. Joe Namath
- Presence is more than just being there. Malcolm Forbes
- One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself. Lucille Ball
- For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. Aristotle
- Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Calvin Coolidge
- We are born and we shall die. The person who is in communion with God wears mortality comfortably. To be with God is to be at home in this world and the next. Rueben Job
- Routine and discipline are inevitable factors in any true accomplishment. Elkworth Kalas
- Life isn’t much without a dog. Douglas Malloch
- God put us on earth at this specific time for a reason. It is not random. He says in Acts 17:26 that he determined when and where we would live. Knowing this, we can look at those around us in this specific time in history, and take personal responsibility to pray.
- Heeding God’s call can mean leaving home and all that is familiar. It can demand our accumulated wealth and security or dare us to place our blessings, even our lives, at risk. It can also mean simply living where we are but with an entirely new set of priorities. In every case, our particular vocation in God’s service arises from our response to the basic call to radical availability. Gerrit Scott Dawson
- Humility is the firm foundation upon which our spiritual life is built. Humility is not underestimating our worth or allowing ourselves to be defined by another. Humility invites us to say, “no thank you” to being the center of our own universe. Humility is recognizing that we are God’s creation and allowing ourselves to be grounded in that truth. Kathleen Flood
The Chesapeake Unity Foundation (CUF) is waiting for final approval from the Federal Government. We anticipate no problems. We are already working on our first project and that is providing Emotional Intelligence assessments for inmates entering a re-entry program at Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama. We anticipate these results to be poor (and they have been so far). We intend to retest every semester to track progress. This will either validate the program or highlight areas to tweak. We are excited about this effort.
If you are near to the Tuscaloosa are, please mark your calendars for June 23, which is the next “community unity” event which will be held at the McDonald Hughes Center in the West End of Tuscaloosa. We have a tentative event planned for August 23, on the east end of town at the Belk Center.
We hope to begin a project this month for the Tuscaloosa County Jail to help improve culture and performance/safety.
“Don’t Do Anything Stupid, A White Man’s Guide to Racial Harmony.”
“Many of your black employees are exhausted, scared, crying in between meetings, putting on a performance, and mentally checking out.”
This is one of the responses I got when I asked many of my black friends to answer the question, “If you could snap your fingers and make it happen, what would you want white men to understand about racism?” Most of these friends are between 25 and 55 years old and are college-educated.
Here are a few of the other answers I received:
- For them to realize it exists. Most white people do not think racism exists today.
- The KKK marched in our Christmas parade and showed up at my youth football games. I have been pulled over by the police for no reason and followed. I graduated from high school in 1997.
- When my 17-year-old son goes out at night I do not worry about him being in an automobile accident. I worry about him being pulled over by the police.
- My parents warned me to not go into a store unless I intended to purchase something, keep my hands out of my pocket and to make sure I get a receipt.
- To realize that there can be two different experiences for whites and blacks in many different situations.
I have many more comments for you to review in my new book, “A White Man’s Guide for Racial Harmony—advice for white guys.”
If you have black employees, under the surface, you have a racial problem and it adversely affects your organizational performance. Part of the problem is ignorance on the part of you, me and other white men.
Most books on racism are written by liberals, women, pastors and academics. Do those perspectives relate to the ordinary white male? Do terms like white privilege, white supremacy, and institutional racism resonate with the average white male? Probably not. In fact, they probably do more to alienate the white male and push us further back into our shell of silence.