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Monday Motivation: Is THIS How Real Change Happens? (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 6.09.10 PMMonday Motivation:
Is THIS How Real Change Happens? (VIDEO)


Hey everyone! Happy Monday.

Let me ask you something…. How many friends do you have who are unlike yourself? Different sex? Different Religion? Different orientation? Different race? Different views?

Do you take the time to learn about what their lives are like? I mean REALLY like? Do you wonder why they do what they do? Why they believe as they do? What life experience they have that, though different from your own, can ultimately enrich us all?

Take stock. If you look around and your circle is pretty homogeneous, well.. it’s time to change. Time to GROW!

BUT..change is scary and not something people embrace easily.

Related: Raisin’ In Minnesota: All The Colors In The Box: Talking To Kids About Race

This last week is a perfect example.

As you know it was a horrid, bloody week; first the shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man killed by police in Baton Rouge as he was selling music outside a convenience store. Next, Philando Castile, who was shot by an officer in his car as his fiancee live-streamed the event on Facebook.

Then came the horrific shooting of 12 police officers during a #BlackLivesMatter protest in downtown Dallas. 5 law enforcement officers were killed by a man who said he wanted to kill white cops in retaliation for Castille and Sterling.

Against this backdrop, I posted several things on my Facebook page.

First was this picture with the following text:


I’m going to just put this out here. You can do with it what you will. You can leave a comment if you want. I probably won’t respond because I’m tired. And scared. 
I am the mother of a young, black man. He’s cute, bright and a bit of a smart ass, has been since the 3rd grade. I used to laugh to myself, “He’ll be a great leader if we can get him out of grade school.” 
He’s a high school graduate, on his way to college. He has wheels and he’s cocky. Is that a crime? No.
Unless he insistently asks questions of the wrong person.
Unless he’s pulled over in the wrong neighborhood.
Unless someone thinks he looks suspicious.
And I worry.
I worry every time he walks out my door.
I worry because he is blissfully naive.. “Mom that’s not going to happen. You watch too much TV.”
Do I?
Sometimes I wonder.
And sometimes, that signal comes in loud and clear.
It was a mother’s plea.. her concern about her son, and rightfully so. One of the many responses to that post came from a woman named Paula Kay.
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Her oversimplification of the issue was astounding. But the ensuing back and forth was even more so. I would love to share with you how she detailed growing up in a poor neighborhood and how white privilege didn’t apply to her (because she grew up poor) and on and on and on but I can’t.
Because she deleted her entire comment stream, then blocked me on Facebook.
A day later, after the police shootings, I recorded a live video on Facebook. Here it is. (It’s sideways but straightens out in a minute)

That video was shared 12 times and viewed more than 2,000. A friend of mine asked her friends to watch it and some of them did, including a woman named Jill Johnson Hauser who commented (on my page). “Black people scare me.” She went on to detail why (she had been approached by 3 black men on a street at 9pm and they asked her if they could talk to her, she grew up in small town in Wisconsin and the fact that, of all the criminals she’d seen on TV the majority were black).

I would love to share her comments with you but, like Paula Kay, she also deleted them.

A day later, I posted this picture (with text below) you remember, the one of Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale when she.had.HAD IT!

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The last 24 hours on FB have been quite interesting. Mainly because I can’t really believe that people are so naive. 
1. Woman tells me teaching my son to be respectful and not to wave around a gun and he’ll go far in life. 
2. Another woman, “Black people are scary.” She reached this conclusion based on the few she’s seen in person and on TV news. 
3. Friend posts that he (a white male) was pulled over several times as a teen and he was polite therefore nothing bad happened to him. His wall is filled with people echoing his sentiment.
4.The number of friends, mostly white, who have been radio silent about this issue.


I then got cryptic comment from a Mike McNamara who was not a Facebook friend but someone who followed me.

“Thanks Rene, that was helpful.”

That was soon followed by this message on LinkedIn.

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After checking out his profile and wracking my brain to figure out where I knew him from (turns out I don’t) I began to think a bit more about his actions, which included blocking me on Twitter.

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Deciding you don’t want to associate with someone, for whatever reason, is absolutely your prerogative. But most people just quietly #Unwind; they disconnect from the person without saying a word and no one is the wiser (I have 20,000 followers on Twitter; I’m not exaggerating when I say I don’t recall a single tweet from this man. It’s fair to say he would not be missed by me).

But his last comment was meant to draw blood. It was meant to humiliate. It was meant bully. It was meant to silence.

“If you believe that, it’s cool. I pegged you for more of a leader.”

Yeah. No.

See, I recognized that exactly for what it was. Mike McNamara was trying to make me question my leadership abilities because my opinion is unlike his (I don’t think we share the same values, Rene).  And the fact that he too (Like Jill and Paula before him) wouldn’t stay and defend their side, speaks volumes. They would rather pick up their ball and bat and go home.

They really aren’t interested in people who are different from themselves; hell Mr. McNamara said that himself.

Which means they aren’t interested in changing or understanding, even if it means solving BIG problems.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. McNamara works for Equifax.  Equifax is a global, Fortune 500 company. Smart companies know that diversity is good for business; diversity of thought, opinion, race, creed, color, orientation.. all of it. The fact that Mr. McNamara does not appear to be interested in people other than those who share his values, should be of great concern to a global entity that serves all people.

Related: Race and Racism: Why Is It STILL Too Hot To Handle?

There are lessons to be learned last week, from the front lines of the horrific shootings to the fallout from them.

The path to change, growth and understanding is not to delete your comments, block people who think differently and retreat to your place of safety. You stay. You learn. You share. You communicate. And then you grow together.

I’m game, even if Mike, Jill and Paula are not.

What about you? How do you think we can learn and grow together as a country?




  1. Angela

    July 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    It saddens me that we live in a world where racism is still so prevalent. I think there are many things that add fuel to the fire. The media seems to play up crimes where black men are involved and we are told that our prisons have a much greater number of blacks than whites. Parents that were raised with prejudices raise children with prejudices. White people tend to see the world from their own point of view, and we don’t like to think that this still goes on in the world.
    I don’t know what the answer is, I wish I did. I do believe that white people need to educate themselves and admit that this is going on all around us. Our only thought when we see flashing lights in the rear view mirror is “great, I’m going to get a ticket.” We need to realize that if you are black and see those lights, you are scared. We need to know that when blacks are sentenced more harshly than whites, you end up with more blacks than whites in prison. We need to realize that sometimes the police officer is right to shoot but there are times that they shoot innocent people based on the color of their skin. That should make everyone angry.

  2. Karen McKee

    July 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I am your #4 and I am sorry. Sorry that I am afraid to speak up without being afraid. I truly do not know what to say. I have never been in the shoes of an African American person. I have been the only white person at an all black wedding and another time at an all black church. Did I feel uncomfortable? Yes. Did I use it as a life lesson? Yes. I learned that the undertones of racism exist even though we don’t admit it. I got caught shoplifting as a kid. Every time I went into a store after that I felt like all eyes were on me. I am trying as a white woman to relate to every day happenings that an African American person has to live. It is uncomfortable, it is so justly unfair and it sickens me. Through my 27 years of teaching young children I have worked with a diverse group of children. Black, White, Asian, Russian, Hispanic and on and on. I don’t see color or ethnicity, I only see human children. The difference between seeing race or ethnicity becomes apparent when it is brought to the attention through negative standards and means. I only have these children for 3 hours a day. They have to go home and live their lives. Some will live in fear. Some will live in shame. Some will never know what it is like to be of a different race or culture because of “White” privilege. My grandpa was horrified that I had a black friend and that I associated with any one other than white people. The only time I disrespected him and gave him a piece of my mind was to defend my black friend and her sister. Of course they were going to swim in our pool whether he liked it or not. He had been robbed at gunpoint and pistol whipped by a black man when he was a young adult. He associated all black people as bad for the rest of his life because of this one incident. He lived in Wichita, Kansas. In 1986, I spent a Summer doing Beach evangelism in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The maids for the Hotels were mainly black women. I got on a bus to go to Pauley’s Island and was the only white gal. Being from California, I spoke to everyone. The South was still very repressed back then and they looked at me like I was from another Planet. To sum up my points, I first of all want to apologize for being your number 4. Secondly, I spoke up for you long ago even though you were not aware of it. You see it was you and your sister I chastised my Grandpa about. I am very proud of that moment because you were and are very dear to me. Thirdly, I am trying my very best to be a Teacher that teaches diversity and love among all other things. This World is changing and not for the better. We can start at our own level and take a look at our own lives. Thank you for your video and article. I hope I have spoken up a little bit. Love you!

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