152: Being Helpful: 3 Suggestions For Entering The Conversation On Race, Justice, And Unity
In this cultural moment that we are in right now with the Black Lives Matter Movement, it is not anymore acceptable to stand idly by and remain silent. If you are willing to join in on the fight but not sure how, then Thane Marcus Ringler has the episode for you! Being helpful, he provides three suggestions for entering the conversation on race, justice, and unity. He shows how we are all capable of stirring up change in the world. And while the change may not happen overnight, never get discouraged and continue to engage in these important conversations. Start with these three things Thane shares in today’s show.
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Being Helpful: 3 Suggestions For Entering The Conversation On Race, Justice, And Unity
This is a show all about learning how to live a good life. We believe that it takes living with intention in the tension. Life has many tensions that we get the chance to live in the midst of daily. We believe the best way to do that is by infusing intention and intentionality into all that we do. Thanks for being a fellow Up and Comers joining us in this process of becoming, and that is hopefully the process that we’ll be in our whole lives. If you are new here, there are a couple of easy ways that you can help us out. The first is leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or Apple Podcast. That is still a great way to support the show. It takes about one minute of your time. We’ve got almost 100. It would be sweet to crack through that triple-digit mark. Drop a five-star rating and leave us a review.
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This episode is all about being helpful. This is going to be a shorter episode where I share a few things I’ve been thinking through in my own life about this concept of engaging in helpful ways. We’re doing a series on race, justice, equality and unity in America. Speaking to this cultural moment in this conversation that needs to be had. I entered into the conversation on Episode 149. I have been trying to engage with it ever since. I’ve had several friends on. I’ll keep having more people on to discuss what unity looks like, how we can grow, how we can change and how we can fight the systemic injustices and racism that is embedded in our country’s history. It’s something that we can’t avoid. We can’t pretend anymore it doesn’t or hasn’t existed. It’s been enlightening for me and helpful. I want to love, serve and support my black brothers and sisters through this time and going forward.
I want to chat about the ways we can be helpful and engaging in the conversation, which is why it’s being helpful. In talking with a brother, he highlighted the fact that this conversation around race, justice and unity is one that seems both infinitely complex and nuanced. At the same time, it seems profoundly simple. It’s the idea of treating each human as God sees one another and of having infinite worth and value. Each human being is created in the image of God, and all being of the same kind with no one being better than the other because of the fact that we are all sinners or fallen or not perfect in any way. We all have flaws.Racism and inequality are, at its core, a human issue. Click To Tweet
As I shared in the introduction to this series, my heart is to learn, listen and grow. I have undoubtedly done that in the past months. I’ve been encouraged through the personal relationships and conversations I’ve had with people on all sides of the spectrum and from all walks of life. Coming away from that, I truly believe we are more united than divided. If we separate from each other as a result of the news or the social media bottomless pits or the extremists on all sides, if we can separate ourselves from those things, we will see that there’s far less division around these issues than we may expect.
While there’s less division, there’s still much change that needs to happen. This change will not happen overnight. One of my favorite quotes on this idea is from one of Tim Ferriss’s mentors and teachers, Ed Zschau. He said, “If you’re going to make a difference in society, changing the world for the better, you better be prepared for a long journey.” He went on to say, “You don’t get a quick return creating value for the world. You get a quick return doing something that doesn’t matter.” He makes a point powerfully that we all need to buckle up for a long road ahead. It takes belief that the road is possible, which is also known as hope.
A fun fact or a teaser for you. I’ve got an eBook that is launching soon. It’s all about the power of hope and how to catalyze more hope in our lives. Something that I believe we could all use more of. It’s a little teaser for you Up and Comer audiences. First off, it takes belief that it’s possible, but it also takes a blend of patience and persistence. Along with hope, patience and persistence, I want to share a few perspectives that have been helpful for me and ones that I hope can be empowering for you as well. There will be three perspectives I’ll share.
The first is the idea of anti-politics. Let me explain what I mean. One of the phrases I’ve been learning more of is the idea of anti-racist or anti-racism. What I’ve come to learn about it is that it isn’t just saying the fact that “I’m not racist,” but rather it is actively and proactively engaging in conversations and actions to help work against racist tendencies, systems, structures or even people in our world and our lives. Similarly, it’s comparable to the idea of antifragility in Nassim Taleb’s book, Antifragile.
In order to be anti-racist and to embrace that idea in our individual lives, we must also posture ourselves to be anti-politics specifically on this issue. This does not mean I am anti-government or anti-politics in all things. It means that I’m separating the core issue from the surrounding noise and extraneous issues that come with it. Racism and inequality at its core are a human issue. When we get distracted and confused from the political discourse and agendas surrounding it, we lose focus and an ability to impact the core issue at play, the issue of human rights, equality and unity.
What this may mean for you and what it has meant for me is that you may need to disengage with the political discussion in order to be more helpful towards the essence of what matters. The question to ask ourselves is, are we being discouraged, distracted and deterred by engaging in the politics of the issue? Are we being more divided or united? For me, the answer has been simple and clear. In this realm, I need to be more anti-politics in order to be more pro-human and anti-racist. That is the first idea, separating the politics and agendas from the core issue, the essence of what’s at play.
Embracing Conversations, Removing Debates
The second idea speaks to how we engage with this issue with one another, with how emotionally charged and for good reason, this issue and time is, and the deep-rooted and systemic hurt that has taken place. Many of the discussions between one another can turn from a conversation into a debate. This is something we need to actively work on changing. To understand why, let’s first compare the two. In a conversation, both sides are being heard. It is often an open dialogue. There usually isn’t a prescribed agenda and is either casual or curious in nature. In a debate, typically both sides are pitted against each other. There is a winner and a loser. It is often true that making a strong case is much more important than listening or hearing the other.
Usually, it ends up creating more division or more animosity. Then comes a question for self-reflection. How many of my interactions were more characteristic of a debate instead of a conversation? I’ve increasingly come to believe that debates aren’t helpful in everyday interactions. This is why I’ve been asking myself, how can I better facilitate conversations without falling back into debates? This is asking the question, how can I promote uniting conversations instead of dividing debates? What we need right now is unity, not winners and losers. I want to be known for healthy and helpful conversations, not discouraging and dividing debates. That’s possible for me just as much as it is possible for you. The second perspective is how we engage with each other around this issue, embracing more conversations and removing debates.If you can't lead yourself, there's no way you will be able to lead others. Click To Tweet
The third and final idea is the concept of leadership. One of Tim Ferriss’s interviews was on George Raveling, who is an 82-year-old black man, former basketball coach and Director of International Basketball at Nike. He’s an incredibly inspiring man. I’d encourage all of you to check out both of his interviews on Tim show. One of the things that Coach George pointed out is this vacuum of leadership in our country and in our world. He asked the audience and Tim if they could think of the top three leaders in our world that aren’t in the corporate world. Crickets. This was surprisingly profound.
I do believe that we are experiencing some sort of a systemic lack of leadership. A type of leadership that unites, empowers, and is respected by all. These are men and women of character, resolve, commitment and integrity. We need more of these people in our world now and always. It was a unique question that caused me and us to consider, where are the leaders that we would want to look up to in the world? That’s a big question. Coming from and out of that question always is, what can we do? This last call to action is the cry for self-leadership. If you can’t lead yourself well, there’s no way you will be able to lead others well. What we need now more than ever is for myself and each one of you reading to take up the call to action of leading ourselves well and of becoming leaders. There’s always a demand for good leaders. We always can start with ourselves.
What does it mean to be a good leader of self? I believe it’s incredibly simple. It’s choosing to do what you know is right for yourself and others. It means taking ownership and never settling for less than you’re capable of. It means living and being the person that you say you are or as a person you want to be. It means swimming upstream, taking the harder path, choosing to go down the long road because you know that in the end, it’s worth it. We all have a choice and we can choose it daily. Am I going to be a good leader of myself so that I can eventually be a good leader of others?
To bring this to a close, let me repeat the three ways that I am striving to engage this cultural moment in helpful ways. The first way is understanding the core, the essence of the issue. Thus, being anti-politics, meaning removing myself from the political discourse and agendas so that I can be more focused on better loving, supporting and uniting my fellow humans in life.
The second is by proactively engaging in unifying conversations and not allowing myself or others to denigrate into dividing debates. Third, by daily choosing to live a life of leadership for myself first and then hopefully, for those around me in my life.
These are things that I know you are capable of because I am capable of them. We all are. It all takes a choice. It all takes infusing intentionality into our daily lives. That’s what we’re about here as Up and Comers. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being part of this conversation and engaging with me as I try to engage with others in helpful ways. Let’s continue walking forward together, pursuing unity, justice and equality for all. We hope you have an up and coming week.
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