Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Race”

I Love a Good Fight!

I’ll admit it, I love a good fight!

Sometimes my wife doesn’t appreciate my passion for this. Sometimes my kids find this exasperating. I’ve been known to wear out my colleagues in a meeting because of this. What can I say, I’m a passionate guy. 

Sometimes, I get carried away. I remember chaperoning a trip to Six Flags with some teenagers. The boys wanted to ride the “Tea Cups” and see how fast we could go. It’s hard for me to back down. I made sure we went as fast as I could get us. I was on the brink of throwing up, but I wasn’t going to quit. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was feeling queazy. On the next ride, one of the boys tossed his cookies because of the fight at the Tea Cups.

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Simon Sinek recently tweeted:

Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.

Wow! I’m not sure it could be said any better.

I recently read a blog about all the things the church is doing wrong. Ok, I’ve read several of those blogs (too many to link to). Without a doubt, these bloggers are right about almost everything they post. Some are posting out of their disgust of the church, others are posting out of their disgust for how off track the church has become. There are even a few that are posting as prophetic voices for the church. My favorites are those who are clearly posting because they love the church. Let’s fight for the church!

I along with many others have retweeted, blogged, and posted about #Ferguson and the racial challenges in our society. The fights displayed on this issues have stirred us. What we need to ask ourselves is have we stirred one another to know what we love or what we hate? I want to fight for equality!

I took the #IceBucketChallenge and didn’t fight against the negative sides of the trend. I fought for those need awareness raised about ALS.

Over the past two years, I spent a great deal of my time fighting in a struggling school district. The school district my family was a part of had a huge gap in parental and community involvement. I believe this greatly influenced the struggling test scores and overall impression of the school district. I fought for greater participation and involvement. I entered this fight with the PTA of our school, county, and state. Why did I fight? Because I believe in education and I believe in bettering things. I fought because I love seeing things get better.

In a couple of months, I plan to attend Fight Night with my wife. This marriage enrichment session with Les & Leslie Parrott should be fun. I will fight for my marriage.

This fall, I will enter into a fight with 9 others as we fight to award grants designed to help change the world.

Throughout my life, I want to be known as someone who fights, who loves a good fight! I want my fights to be for things, not against things. I want to be remembered for loving not hating.

Where are you fighting? Is it against something? Are you helping people hate? Or have you chosen to fight for something? Have you inspired them to love?

Go on, jump out there! Start a fight! But make it a good one!

(Think Mel Gibson, Braveheart, “I’m gonna pick a fight!”)

Share your thoughts in the comments. Tell me where you are fighting. Maybe I can encourage you in your fight.

#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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