Last week we released a blog entitled Never Stop Chasing. The focus was to inspire coaches to never quit chasing their dreams. Coach Bauer made a compelling case that pursuing the right kind of dreams is essential to our character formation. The pursuit itself is very formative in our lives to become the right kind of people in the process.
In light of current events it’s hard to talk about “chasing dreams” without thinking of a very specific “dream” that we all need to be pursuing together. It’s the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. laid out for America on August 28, 1963.
In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King has given all of us a healthy prescription to follow if we want to be advocates for racial justice.
In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King has given all of us a healthy prescription to follow if we want to be advocates for racial justice.Click to tweet
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What a powerful and beautiful vision for the ideal. Sadly, this compelling vision of the future gets mocked and derided with every act of racism and injustice that gets perpetrated against people of color in this land.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” – MLK
The question is, as white Americans, how can we join the fight in a meaningful way? This is the question we’ve been chewing on. How do we go beyond surface statements? How do we get beyond defense mechanisms and the willful ignorance of many who are like us? Where will we get our information? Social Media? One-sided sourcing? Where can we get the truth?
It reminds us of the lyrics from a song written by one of our favorite musicians, Eric Stark. In his artistic rendition of “My Father’s World,” he penned these words that poignantly describe the situation we are facing in our search for truth:
Propaganda bombs explode, rhetoric abounds;
Manipulation, schools of thought, confusion caused by the fog that surrounds;
the words of politicians, priests and kings.
Each side claims the truth, the power to control is their pursuit.
But my hope resides not in the politics and pride of self-righteous rulers who want to take me for a ride.
Make my payment to Leviathan, don’t ever ask “why” again.
Peace and safety they’ll provide when the price is right and then, comfortably tonight you will sleep in your bed.
In your head, dancing sugar plumbs fail to appear;
It’s not “all good,” can’t believe all you hear.
The truth’s been capsized, everything upside down.
Left field. Right field. Both lost it in the lights.
Ball dropped. Error. Score another run for prejudice, suspicion, destruction.
Same as it ever was these kingdoms of man.
After this damning critique of the present state of affairs, the song moves toward the same hopeful picture of the future that inspired MLK’s dream. It’s a picture where “liberty and justice for all” are truly experienced by all.
But for liberty and justice to be experienced by all, we must speak and act in ways that don’t undermine our cause. I want to be careful that this does not come off as some sort of arm-chair judging of those on the street protesting. We have no right to judge those who’ve experienced years of covert and overt discrimination… God forbid that we do that.
We can talk to white America. We will talk to people who look like us. How should we speak out in a way that actually helps the cause?
First of all, we should be very thoughtful in how we speak. Personally, we’ve been doing a lot of listening, reading, thinking and processing before typing this blog. Here’s why: before we open our mouths or begin pecking away on keyboard, we better make sure our hearts and our minds are wide open first. Then we need to learn. We need to contemplate. We need to empathize. We need to grieve.
MLK’s dream was for a day when people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the content of a caricature.Click to tweet
MLK’s dream was for a day when people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the content of a caricature. As the “propaganda bombs” explode on the American scene in 2020, the agenda seems to be this: caricaturize and polarize. So how can we get beyond the caricatures that drive the division?
First, if you don’t have any real-world relationships with other people from different races and ethnicities, then that’s step one. Engage. Become friends. Listen to their stories. Here’s just one example of the things you can learn.
It’s too easy for white Americans to dismissively brush off the claims of systemic injustice by politicizing the issue. Taking their cues from their favorite talking heads, too many simply stick their own heads in the sand. If we are unwilling to face the truth of our past head on, then subtle lies will continue to enslave us in the present.
But if we will engage others to learn more about their experiences, we’ll find out that there is far more that unites us than divides us. We’d find others who share in our hopes and fears. We’d find husbands, wives, mothers and fathers who all want the same things for their children as we want for ours. We’d find out that the “us” vs. “them” divide is a diabolical lie.
There is no “them.” There is only “us.”
It’s our hope that the coaching community will take full advantage of this opportunity to teach/model this truth in their communities. At the 3D Institute, we are already beginning to develop resources to help create the conversation on teams. If you are aware of other great resources that can help coaches lead in this area, let us know. We are always looking for partners who have resources to help coaches fulfill their higher purpose.
Here’s the bottom line…
For the U.S. to actually become “US,” we must keep chasing the dream of Dr. King. Like never before, may we ALL work together to see his dream become reality. Until the day the dream is seen with eyes wide open, may we all do our part to keep the dream alive.