I just spent four wonderful days at the International Maxwell Certification Conference in Orlando Fla. The leaders of the John Maxwell Team and Johns Leadership teaching are a magnet for quality individuals. There were 2600 people from all over the world and I didn’t meet one I didn’t like (and I met lots). Many dozens if not a hundreds countries were represented. Every kind of clothing from 3 piece suits, cowboy boots, bright African colors and even high-top sneakers were on display, even a guy wearing a kilt. There was a mutual respect among everyone there. I made a few friends from around the world that I really connected with.
After a few days connecting with dozens of people from every corner of the earth, I saw on a TV in the background some news commentators discussing the Charlottesville incident. It hit me, I realized that not one person in any discussion I was part of all weekend had talked about racism . That was so refreshing to me. I get so tired of the media and Facebook crowd bringing so much bad attention to it (angry or bleeding heart). I really like Morgan Freeman’s take on it. He was asked in an interview what the answer to racism is, and he said “Stop talking about it”. I am so glad that is exactly what happened at my conference. Maybe everyone should try it. Morgan would have fit in well.
I have done some thinking about that over the past few days and have come up with a few observations that I wanted to share.
Now I don’t deny that racism is real, active and a huge concern in our country, but I believe that so many people of all color are actively pointing their fingers, maybe in the wrong directions. I believe that a very small percentage of people are responsible for a very large percentage of the problem on both sides. It seems to be causing unnecessary division among great people who do not deserve to be dragged into the fight. These are people only in the fight in by association because others are pointing at their skin color, no other reason. When we generalize about like people, it covers everyone and it spills over onto innocent people who aren’t asking to be part of it.
The distinction we need to be making is not between color or ethnicity. It’s a more of a matter of character beliefs based on ones worldview. We need to slice it horizontally and not vertically. It’s a degree of character, not a degree of color. Last weekend showed me that when you get large groups of people of high character together with a common value for human life, race doesn’t seem to matter much. There is a freedom to enjoy company, share ideas and learn about other interesting culture. We don’t have to question motives because of an infectious idea. A common bond of unity can only come when we view the world through the eyes of a common Creator who created us in his image. Ideas have consequences, so we need better ideas if we want better character development.
It also seems that when people with a common disregard for human dignity get together in opposition with people of other races with similar questionable values, the chances of tensions rising goes way up. People of lower character beliefs come in every color, age, gender, religion, economic class and level of education.
Poor character beliefs is a HUMAN trait based on a bad worldview, not a racial, economic, social, political or national trait. Poor character comes naturally, high character come from intentional growth.
People of poor character are drawing far too much attention and making the rest of their ethnic group (all colors) look bad by generalizing and assuming. A thief believes that everyone steals. A cheater believes that everyone cheats and a person who discriminates believes everyone discriminates. Good people see the good in people, bad people see the bad in people. So, if you believe everyone discriminates, you may be one of them!
A much smaller number of people are projecting the problem to be wider than it really is by limiting everyone else to their own inside the box, views, and assumptions.
The idea’s and beliefs that each of us hold about the world and what is true determines how we see people. The choice to love others or hate others is your choice and yours alone. No one can cause you to hate unless you choose to. No, exceptions. Character is shaped by what we choose to believe. Poor character IS the problem, and DOES separate us. Color is NOT the problem and doesn’t have to separate us. We need to know the difference and focus on fixing character rather than fixing other colors.
The next time someone discriminates against you for any reason, know that it is the ignorance in them that is causing it, and not the color of their skin.
Don’t judge a book by its color, get to know the author of all colors.