Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Prejudice”

Conflict – Trust Building: why tension can improve trust

In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni identifies conflict as being essential to great team work.  The problem is many of us see conflict as a bad thing, but when we’ve proven we can trust each other, conflict is something that helps us build each other up.

Instead of conflict being about tearing each other down, we need to see how conflict sharpens us.  When someone disagrees with one of your ideas or plans, remember they are not saying they don’t like you.  Instead they see a short coming in your plan or a flaw in your idea.  More often than not, they’re wanting what’s best, just like you are.

If you are slow to engage in conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person will receive the critique with a teachable spirit.

If you are on the receiving end of conflict, choose to trust.  Trust that the person you are in relationship with is working for your good.

The Hebrew Proverb captures this best:

As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
(Proverbs 27:17)

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Conflict – Seeking Revenge or Forgiveness: An attempt to make things right

N.T. Wright has said: “If confrontation has to happen, as it often does, it must always be with forgiveness in mind, never revenge.”

Why do you think it is so difficult to seek forgiveness in a confrontation?

Why is it so easy to seek revenge?

What rules can you apply to relational conflict that will make forgiveness more likely than revenge, when all is said and done?

Here are 6 rules I’ve suggested when it comes to conflict:

 1. Respect your the other

2. Practice the proper time & place concept of a fight

3. Use a time-out to cool down so you don’t cross the line

4. Don’t get caught up in the past or use names

5. Stick to the real issue

6. Be willing to lose

Few of us actually enjoy conflict, even fewer of us work to resolve issues and find forgiveness for the wrongs in our life. More often than not, when we engage in conflict, we are hoping to be proved right. After all vengeance is our attempt to make things right by our own power.

We see time and time again that vengeance might feel good in the moment but it often destroys not only the most immediate relationship, but many others along the way. Forgiveness on the other hand restores relationships.

Saying, “I’m sorry,” has a way of making things right that vengeance can’t even fathom.

#Ferguson Makes Me Mad!

I don’t know how else to say it, “#Ferguson makes me mad!”

I realize there is more to this whole situation. I realize that I am writing this post from my position of privilege and distance.

Now, let me state this clearly, I’m not mad at the residents of Ferguson. I’m not mad about those upset about the news of another unarmed young black man shot by a white male, police officer. I’m not upset at the police who are trying to protect the property of others. I am mad at the crowds!

The crowds of journalist – sure they’re just reporting what is happening. They are also escalating the situation because there are those who long to be seen on TV who are pouring into the area. If we reduced the number of journalists on the streets, we might not see all the footage, but there will also be less men and women in the midst of the crowds. To the reporters looking to establish themselves, GO AWAY!

The crowds of rioters – yes, we should assemble and peaceably protest, but looting and rioting makes things worse! The opportunist pouring into the area make the peaceable protestors look bad. For those looking to steal, kill, or destroy, GO AWAY!

The crowds of police officers – I get that you are doing your job, but when you arm up in riot gear that you purchased from the Pentagon, you become soldiers fighting an enemy. The citizens in the streets are innocent. It is not your job to defeat the enemy. It is your job to protect and defend. So instead of lining up in the streets like an invading army, line up in front of properties needing protection from looters. When you become a crowd of officers, you become an army. Our culture has a simple response to invading armies, GO AWAY!

There is quote from ‘s book Farewell to Mars that goes something like this:
 
The crowd is almost always wrong!
 
When we get into crowds we do things we wouldn’t do on our own. The mixture of hormones and emotions begin to circulate among the participants. Our bodies begin to chemically respond stirring primal feelings. In crowds we become vulnerable to suggestions. Then all it takes is for one or two little things to tip us over. Anger boils over into rage. Fear escalates into paranoia. We overreact in the crowd! This is why things are funnier, scarier, lovelier, or whatever when we experience them with others.
 
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Ferguson is a city. #Ferguson is a crowd.
 
Will you join me in praying that #Ferguson is disbanded. Pray for the individuals of the city of Ferguson. Pray for those tasked with protecting the city and its residents. Pray for cool heads. Pray that darkness is overwhelmed by light.
 
We need to speak up for the injustices that black citizens face. Parents should not have to tell their children they have to be more diligent about their body language because of the color of their skin. The statistics of the disproportionate percentages of police actions against men and women of color should cause us to explore and act for new solutions. 
 
We need to address our own fears and racisms. As I said in a previous post
– not every gay person has an agenda
– not every black person is in a gang
– not every Hispanic is a drug dealer
– not every feminist is a bitch
– not every redneck is a racist
– not every rich person is greedy
– not every poor person is lazy
– not every Christian is…..
 
Our world needs to change. Maybe #Ferguson will make us mad enough to actually do something different.
 
Thanks for reading my opinion. Add your thoughts. Please remember that you may be speaking out of your position of privilege and that others will read your comments from their position in life. Don’t refrain from expressing yourself, just do so respectfully. 

It’s not just a black problem!

I was born in 1975.

An African American male born in 1975 and who didn’t finish high school has a nearly 70 percent chance of serving jail time by his mid-thirties. That’s 53 percentage points higher than a white male born in the same year who also lacks a high school diploma.

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/5/5683220/Americas-mexico-prison-rate

What is it in our laws that created this?

What is it in our culture that makes this acceptable?

Consider this:

An African American child whose father didn’t complete high school has a 50 percent chance of seeing her father incarcerated by the time she’s 14.

This is an unfortunate reality in our society. It is a generation affecting issue.

I will be looking for ways to make a difference.

We Are All Prejudice

The headlines for the past year or so have reminded us that the issues of race, gender, orientation, and a myriad of other identity markers still exist. Whether the news headline is the stupid comments of someone, the poor choices of another, or even the offhanded neglect, we see prejudice has not disappeared.

As long as we see someone else as an “other” we will wrestle with prejudice. For many of us, we don’t like to think of ourselves as prejudice, but when we are stressed, pushed, or tired, our preference for those like us arises and our dislike for those not like us is evident.

I grew up an “Army Brat” and I am grateful for the perspectives it brought to my life. I met people from across the globe with mixed family heritages and viewpoints. I count this as foundational in my worldview. The fact that my two best friends in high school were from a different ethnic backgrounds and that many of my closest classmates were too, has helped shaped the way I see race, gender, and many of the labels we place on a one another.

I think the way we battle prejudice is with perspective.

If you’ve ever said, “you’re not like he rest of them,” then you’ve admitted your preference and prejudice, but you’ve also taken a step into perspective. When we are able to perceive others for who they are instead of the caricatures we have been taught, things change.

Let’s be real:
– not every gay person has an agenda
– not every black person is in a gang
– not every Hispanic is a drug dealer
– not every feminist is a bitch
– not every redneck is a racist
– not every rich person is greedy
– not every poor person is lazy
– not every Christian is…..

I hope you get the point.

Let’s stop accepting the prejudices out there. Let’s start gaining perspectives on how others see the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech resonates so strongly with our society because it points out our differences, but it also helps us dream of a different perspective, of valuing one another.

King was not the first nor the last to dream of seeing one another differently. Without a doubt King’s dream was influenced by the one who did not live within prejudice but rather brought a new perspective.

In the first century, a leader of a minority group of devoted followers of The Way, wrote these words:

Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (Romans 5:7-11 NLT)

Paul is writing this to remind the followers of The Way who lived in Rome that thought they were different than God, and had offended God, God did not allow that to make him prejudice against them. Rather God’s perspective of humanity caused him to act to bring friendship.

How would our world be different if we combated prejudice with the perspective of friendship?

I’m not perfect in this effort to gain the perspective of friendship. I hope you’ll help me, as a friend, when you see me act out of my preference or prejudice.

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