Insight from Dr. Jim Garlow:
The entire nation was on the same page when they saw George Floyd murdered. Everyone knew it was evil. That moment was the time for mature discussions on race to occur. But if we are not careful, that moment could be squandered by what has happened since. Can we regain the “oneness” of that moment – and discuss matters in a way that produces racial healing and addresses key issues?Below I will list 20 things that could help us in conversations that would move us toward racial healing. Then I will list 18 things that could block any opportunity for such healthy and healing conversations.
1) LISTEN: Since 2015, I have met privately with blacks and stated, “Teach me. Tell me about your experiences. Help me to understand.” I urge you to do the same. Then listen. We, as whites, can learn some things. In those conversations, whites, be quiet. You can ask questions, but don’t interrupt. Don’t say “Yes, but.” Listen and ponder.
2) KNOWING WHAT NOT TO SAY AS A WHITE #1: Do not say, “Some of my best friends are black.” It is best not to say this. (Personal note: I have three sisters-in-law and one nephew that are black. I will only share that if I feel it truly enhances the conversation with the black person. Otherwise, it does not need to be said.)
3) KNOWING WHAT NOT TO SAY AS A WHITE #2: Do not say, “I am not a racist.” You might not be, but it is better to listen and learn for now.
4) KNOWING WHAT NOT TO SAY AS A WHITE #3: Do not say, “Well, I never owned slaves, and you never were one.” While that is true, some things are better left unsaid.
5) WHITE VIRTUE-SIGNALING: Stop it. It does nothing truly substantive. Whites, you have no idea how pompous it looks. Stop it. I have heard blacks speak of how offensive this is. It is pandering, and everyone knows it.
6) WHAT NOT TO SAY AS A WHITE UNLESS IT IS REDEMPTIVE TO THE CONVERSATION: “Well, my ancestors fought for the North.” While it might be true, please don’t share that unless it genuinely brings redemptive tones to the conversation. (Personal Note: My great grandfather fought for the North, for real, and we still have his musket, but it does not have to be stated in most conversations. It isn’t relevant. This is not about your ancestors. This is about their present-day black experience.)
7) WORDS THAT CONTRIBUTE LITTLE: Can we have a decent conversation without using the terms “racism,” “privilege,” and “reparations,” and instead, tell our stories? (Personal note: From 2015 to the present, I have been in numerous productive conversations with blacks – asking them their experiences. One conversation was not. That particular person just wanted to condemn everyone as a “racist.” Avoid trying to talk to anyone who has the proverbial “chip on their shoulder.” Avoid them. There are many other persons with whom you can have productive, healing conversations.
8) IDENTIFICATIONAL REPENTANCE: I believe in “identificational repentance,” that is, repenting for things you did not even do or even know about. This careful and tender sharing of thoughtful words can produce healing in a person who has been wronged. For example, my wife has asked Jewish Holocaust survivors for forgiveness, although she was never a Nazi. Elderly Jews have wept openly upon hearing the words, “I am sorry, so very sorry.” In pastoral conversations, I have asked women for forgiveness for what men (whom I never knew) have done to them. They wept as healing came. It is appropriate – in my opinion – to ask blacks, who have experienced the pain of hatred and discrimination, for forgiveness even though you or I were not the whites who did that to them. There is biblical precedent. Moses repented on behalf of the people. Daniel did the same, as did Ezra. The Holy Spirit can use this to bring healing to wounded black brothers and sisters. The steps are (1) acknowledgment of the offense, (2) repent before the Lord, (3) ask for forgiveness, and (4) work towards restitution.
9) ONE RACE: Dr. Alveda King, the niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. constantly reminds us that we are one race. Different ethnicities admittedly, but one race.
10) FOCUS: Knowing that substance is more important than images, focus on those things that can truly address the lives of blacks. The outstanding blacks who hosted “The Reconciled Church” event a few years ago taught us, as whites, that there were four key areas that needed our joint attention: (1) education, (2) economic realities, (3) judicial reform, and (4) prison reform. I would add a fifth – the most important – helping reestablish the black nuclear family.
Note: This is not the same as “white guilt” where people wrongly say, “We did it. We killed George Floyd.” No, we did not. Derek Chauvin did it. Identificational repentance is when you ask for forgiveness on behalf of another, the one who did the wrong. You are not assuming the sin upon yourself. “White guilt” is shame-based, a tool of the Evil One. He assigns false guilt. “White guilt” oppresses. Identificational repentance releases. It is designed to bring redemptive healing to the suffering one, not blame to persons who never committed the act.
11) EDUCATION: If blacks could be released from horrifically-failing urban schools and allowed to use vouchers, there could be an enormous difference in black academic achievement. Tragically, this is blocked by teachers’ unions and many Democrats. Interestingly, they cry “choice” except where it could help black school-age children. In the meantime, what if white retired seniors were connected – in large scale – to help tutor black children in after-school programs. It would help students, bless seniors, and fostering tender, caring, new relationships that could have long term implications.
12) ECONOMIC: The Democrats do a superb job of “talking” about the poor, but have policies that produce a permanent underclass. The Republicans are not adequately empathetically articulate regarding the poor, yet they have policies that successfully lift them socioeconomically. Consider the fact that pre-COVID-19, the Trump economy, had the lowest unemployment for minorities ever! Ever! And look at the “opportunity zones” that are being developed in thousands of inner-city neighborhoods – that the news sources do not share. Read and study widely on this and see where you can help make a difference. Know the five biblical economic principles that must be present for a community or a nation to prosper. Economics is not a subject foreign to the Scriptures. The Bible speaks of sound national economic principles. These are moral, ethical, biblical, theological issues that we all need to know.
13) JUDICIAL: My eyes were opened on this only in recent years. The good news is that both Dems and GOP have desired to see progress. Included in this would be the area of policing guidelines. Examine carefully the Executive Order signed on this. The heart of the judicial matter is this: Many (most?) whites can afford an attorney when they get into the legal system. Many (most?) blacks cannot afford one and thus have a public defender. At that point, one is lost in the system. At that point, the “judicial system” is neither “judicious” nor “systemic.” Most whites do not understand this. Most blacks do. We, as whites, need to listen and learn from blacks on this issue. This is one where real progress has been made in the last two years. We can continue to work together on this.
14) PRISON: My eyes were opened on this one as well – only in recent years. The good news is the Trump Administration has made enormous positive steps. The tragedy is that most people do not know this and have never read about what has happened in this area because the news sources – who get higher ratings from bad news – do not report it. Become informed. This is solvable. We can all work together on this.
15) FAMILIES: The greatest single predictor of a child’s future life is if his/her parents (1) get a high school degree, (2) get married, (3) then have children – IN THAT ORDER. Notice that a college degree is not listed. Even a high school diploma makes a difference. Under President Lyndon Johnson, the “Great Society” legislation devastated the nuclear black family. The family unit had managed to withstand the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow but was crushed by Johnson’s policies. Little boys who have no daddies are at an enormous disadvantage. Little girls who have no daddies are equally disadvantaged. Fatherless children are many times more likely to be involved in criminal activity and end up in prison. THE MOST CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURIAL THOUGHTS MUST BE EXPENDED FINDING WAYS TO HELP REESTABLISH THE BLACK NUCLEAR FAMILY. It baffles my mind that one of the 13 guiding principles of “Black Lives Matter” states, “We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, and especially ‘our’ children…” END OF QUOTE. The best way to bless black children (and all children) with a bright future is to be raised in homes with a daddy and mommy who love each other and stay together. Three out of four black children do not have that. Find every way to help black families be formed and stay together.
16) KILLING: Help all whites and blacks understand that the most racist organization is Planned Parenthood, founded by Margaret Sanger for eugenics, that is, for the purpose of killing blacks. Planned Parenthood alone kills 247 black babies per day. The total number from all abortuary-killing centers is considerably higher. Work to expose this evil organization and its distinctively racist past and present.
17) PANDERING: Whites must stop saying dumb things and doing pandering actions. (It seems as if the “Spirit of Stupid” has fallen on many whites.) Sometimes it is best to be silent.
18) KNOW IT ALL: If whites are not prepared to listen and learn, any conversation is in vain. Ask questions. Listen. Learn. Grow.
19) SOLUTION SUNDAY: Senator Tim Scott (black) and Senator James Lankford (white) have suggested that every person select a Sunday in which they go out to eat with someone of a different ethnic background – black, white, Hispanic, Asian. What would happen if 330 million Americans did that? They won’t, you say? Well, how about you?
20) PRAY AND FAST: This issue is so entrenched, “some things come only by prayer and fasting.”
If you are a white who wants to be chic and hip, posting symbols and hashtags, read no more please. If you love to pander and posture over this issue, do not read further. If you are a black who views anyone who disagrees with you as a racist, read no further. If you are riddled with anger and want to destroy property and lives, read no further. If you are hell-bent on destroying a particular candidate you don’t like, then read no further.
But if you truly care about racism, and long to see God touch and heal our nation, read on. Read with a prayerful heart.
So many things have happened since the murder of George Floyd. Most of them are not helping the needed national conversation. Some things can help a conversation – like those listed above. Some things will discourage productive conversations toward racial healing. Here are 18 things that will decimate a healthy, constructive conversation:
1) PROTEST SIGNAGE – OBSCENITY: Protests have a long and often meaningful history in the development of national discussion. They can be useful. However, when protesters carry signs with obscene messages, it only repulses many who might have otherwise been sympathetic to the cause. Obscenity can show a character deficiency, a lack of intelligence and vocabulary, and a darkened heart. Protest organizers and responsible participants – challenging though it might be – need to send clear directives and use peer pressure for how to communicate in compelling ways. I recognize that most people today use the four-letter word freely. But if you want to have truly adult conversations, it is best to avoid obscenities.
2) PROTEST SIGNAGE – POLITICAL: To see our nation healed, we will need people from both – or all – political spectrums. Protests that deteriorate into attacks on one party or the current administration rule out healthy conversations that are needed. If signage deteriorates into Trump-hating, the opportunity for productive, healthy conversations is lost. (Note: If the goal of some protesters is merely political, then state it, and don’t try to pretend that you are ultimately concerned about racial healing.)
3) WHITE GUILT: Calling for whites to apologize for being white, whether done by a white or a black, is – at its core – racist and absurd. That would be like asking for a black to apologize for the fact that he/she is black.
4) PRIVILEGE: To have a meaningful and constructive discussion on racial healing, accusing people of “privilege” only angers and polemicizes. Screaming “privilege” is counter-productive.
5) BLESSING: Perhaps a better term to use is “blessing.” In a recent lesson on “white privilege,” students were made to feel guilty of “privilege” if they had both a mother and a father, and if their parents were still together in marriage. That is not “privilege.” That is a blessing. Children have a considerably stronger chance of succeeding when they have both a daddy and a mommy – married to each other. That is not “privilege” – something to be ashamed of. In our discussion, we can talk about how to see greater “blessings” released upon minorities?
6) RIOTS: Rioting, looting, and burning buildings have not created a mood for people even to desire to discuss the issues. Elected officals need to use force to stop this.
7) GOVERNORS AND MAYORS: Governors and mayors that have allowed vandalism to continue unabated have “blood on their hands” for creating more racism, not less. They have harmed us of the moment to have an important, serious conversation by hijacking the message by allowing it to be overshadowed by antinomianism and hooliganism.
8) ANARCHISTS: Every person who desires racial healing should in no uncertain terms denounce the violence.
9) SOCIALISTS/COMMUNISTS: If you are a protester who marched to put the focus on racial themes, then denounce in no uncertain terms that your goal is not a pro-socialist, pro-Communists (a Communist is a socialist with a gun), anti-American goal. If you are trying to re-make the economic foundation of America into socialism, then stop acting like your driving concern is racial healing. True socialism – in every nation in which it has been tried – leads to widespread poverty.
10) NETWORKED: Every person who desires racial healing should in no uncertain terms deplore the orchestrated, networked, organized nature of chaos and mayhem caused by George Soros-types who have waited for this moment and who are funding it. They care nothing about racial issues. They care only about destroying Western Civilization, specifically, America.
11) POLITICIZING: The tonality of what began as a tender and moving Houston memorial service for George Floyd – a moment that the entire nation was drawn to – was offensively politicized by Al Sharpton and others like him. These have used the death of Floyd to fan hatred towards Trump. This stops healthy dialogue.
12) SAINTHOOD: George Floyd was tortured and murdered. We all saw it, and his killer will rightfully pay a dear price. That moment brought the entire nation together. But stop doing what happens in so many funerals, when speakers feel the need to place “sainthood” on the deceased who most certainly was not a saint. Floyd had a long criminal record. It is not good. Don’t lie about it. Putting up pictures to portray him as an angel – with wings and halos – is dishonest and lacks integrity. None of us is perfect. None of us will become angels. None of us will have haloes. None of us. It is wrong in any funeral to attempt to “canonize” a person. So, please don’t do it with Floyd. And no, he is not a “MLK, Jr.” This type of thing only “clutters” the conversation and takes it off course. He was murdered. We all can agree. That is a great starting point for a badly needed discussion. Don’t canonize him. It is not needed. His death was horrific. Let’s start there.
13) BLACK TO BLACK: if some black holds conservative views, stop calling him/her an “Uncle Tom.” Such name-calling reveals that there are partisan issues.
14) STATUES: Tearing down statues does not draw people into conversations. There are critical issues of race to discuss. Ripping down 100+-year-old statues does not produce substantive change and reduces the chances for meaningful, constructive, substantive dialogue. But it gets even worse. It reveals ignorance. Rioters in a “Black Lives Matter” protest in Boston recently defaced the memorial to the 54th Regiment of Black Soldiers who fought in the Civil War. That is absurd. Defacing the statue of Abolitionist Matthias Baldwin smacks of ignorance. Defacing the statue of Neil Kinnick, the only football player for the University of Iowa ever to win the Heisman Trophy, in 1939, and one who died in World War II, shows little understanding of reality.
15) BLACK LIVES DO TRULY MATTER: Know the difference between declaring that “black lives matter” which they do – to God, and to all persons of decency – and the organization “Black Lives Matter,” which has 13 guiding principles. Google for yourself to see that it includes “queer affirming” and “trans-affirming” (thus the “Black Trans Lives Matter” protest recently), and “disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family structure.” A United Kingdom Black Lives Matter “GoFundMe” page stated that we are “guided by a commitment to dismantle … capitalism….” Distinguish between the theological truth that black persons matter to God and BLM. White pastors should rightfully declare the scriptural truth that black persons do genuinely matter to God and us. But their denial and ignorance regarding the now clearly codified BLM principles make them look like pawns, not prophets. White pastors can play a crucial role in healing, but embracing an organization with distinctively anti-Scriptural core principles is not helpful.
16) DEFUND THE POLICE: To have a serious conversation about race, stop saying utterly ridiculous things, such as “defund the police.” To get rid of corrupt cops is a good thing. To condemn all cops shows a lack of sanity. Minneapolis residents called 911 recently because of a shootout that killed one and injured 11. Instead of calling 911, they should have called all the members of the City Council who have decided to defund and dismantle (their words) the entire police department. One cannot have it both ways. One cannot chant “defund/dismantle the police” and then call 911.
17) REPARATIONS: Calling for “reparations” is a smokescreen. Let the whites who call for this, go first and give everything they have to the blacks in their community. Reparations can be done in the case of Jewish Holocaust survivors because some of them are still living. Some of the unpaid insurance policies or stolen artwork is identifiable. Such is not the case when a century and a half are gone, and five generations have passed. And who pays whom? Do the descendants of whites who fought to free the slaves pay reparations? (Reminder: There has never been a war in history in which so many people of one ethnic group died to free the people of another ethnic group.) What about the descendants of blacks who owned black slaves? (See the note below regarding this.) Do they pay reparations? Reparations – at it’s core – is a way of whites telling blacks they are victims and cannot make it without whites. That is demeaning.
The following is taken from This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your Family And Our Country,” by James L. Garlow and David Barton, pp. 24-25.) Carter Woodson (1875-1950) was a famous black historian known as “The Father of Black History.” He conducted extensive research in U.S. census data from the 1800s to document the demography of slavery in America. He discovered that among free blacks in the South, a significant percentage were slave owners (even though they were a small percentage of total slaveholders). Using Woodson’s information, Professor Thomas Pressly of the University of Washington calculated that in South Carolina, 43 percent of free black households owned slaves, as did 40 percent of free black households in Louisiana, 26 percent in Mississippi, 25 percent in Alabama, and 20 percent in Georgia. Of these black slave owners, 94 percent owned between 1 and 9 slaves, 4 percent from 10 to 19 slaves, and about 1 percent from 20 and 84 slaves. These were southern black slaveholding numbers, and in many northern states there was almost no slaveholding at all. Yet even there, black slaveholders were still very present. For example, in 1830 in New Hampshire there were only three slaveholders in the entire state, and all three were black. In Ohio, there were only six slaveholders in the state; one was black; 17 in Rhode Island, of whom three were black; in Vermont, no slaveholders at all; 75 in New York, and 21 were black; only 1 slaveholder in Massachusetts, and he was white; 32 in Michigan, none black; only three in Indiana, none black; and in Maine, only two, and one was white and one was black. So black-on-black slavery was not uncommon and existed in both the North and the South. Many Native American tribes actively participated as black slave owners. In fact, according to the census of 1860, in the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw tribes, one out of every eight persons counted in the Indian census was a black slave. And also common in Indian tribes was Indian slavery of other Indians. The first slave laws in America addressed the ownership, not just of black slaves, but also white slaves and Indian slaves as well. In fact, “from 1670 to 1720, more Indian [slaves] were shipped out of Charleston, South Carolina, than Africans were imported as slaves.”(Indian slavery actually lasted longer than black slavery: “After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson sent federal troops into the West to put an end to Indian slavery, but it continued to proliferate in California.”) Concerning white slaves, history professor John Donoghue of Loyola explains that “Like their African and Native American counterparts, [white] workers from Britain and Ireland were auctioned, weighed on scales, and bought and sold. . . . They were also whipped, branded, beaten, and starved.”
18) LACK OF PRAYER AND FASTING: We are not up against other persons, “flesh and blood.” We are up against demonic strongholds. We must pray and fast for God’s healing touch on our nation. Absent that, there will not be healing.
Dr. Jim Garlow
CEO, Well Versed