How To Fix Race Relations, Or Any Relationship. (EP.240)
Here is the process:
- Take 100% responsibility for the relationship.
- Tell the other party that the relationship is important to you.
- Ask them to speak first; seek first to understand.
- Tell them about what you see and feel.
- Discuss, find and implement correcting and healing behavior.
- Oh, and take 100% responsibility for the relationship
This applies to everything from person-to-person relationships, race relations, and police and community relations. Trust is a 2-way street, with both sides being equally responsible. We will look at how that applies in today’s racial anger and confusion, but first we’ll look at some foundational principles.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
The key to fixing any relationship is to take 100% responsibility for the fix, to take 100% responsibility for making things better. Not 50/50 or 75/75; 100/100. Ideally both parties will step up to this level of responsibility. If the other party does not, then we do it–you do it. Let’s think about this for a minute. To the extent that you assign responsibility to others for whatever the problem is, it is to that very extent that you make yourself powerless. For example, if you think that you are 25% responsible for an issue, that makes the other entity 75% responsible. That clearly means that unless the other party changes, that 75% of the issue will never be solved. You have effectively given 75% of the power–your power–away. And we have 0% control over others, including changing them. We have 100% control over ourselves.
If you think that you are meeting someone halfway, I can guarantee you they feel that you are falling well short of that goal, while feeling they are doing far more than their half. From their perspective, your idea of half looks much smaller – perhaps like just a token gesture. So, instead of 50/50, let’s try 75/75. Yes? Won’t my 75% look at least like 50% to the other person? Maybe, but let’s take it up another notch; take 100% responsibility for finding a solution. What? One hundred percent? Q. What is this other person’s responsibility if I’m doing 100%? A. They subscribe to Revolution 2.0™, and take 100% responsibility also.
When you take all of the responsibility, your attitude changes toward the other person or group. And they will see it, and they will change along with you. Here is an important truism: When we change how we think about someone else, they change. This is well worth repeating: When we change how we think about someone else, they change. If you don’t believe me, try it. And try it like you mean it. Then comment and let us all know how it turned out.
Let’s apply this to race relations. Ready? Both sides take 100% responsibility for making things work. I can hear it now. “Whoa, Will, what are you talking about? One side has almost all of the responsibility because they have caused almost all of the problem!” My response to that is quick and clear, and it is not to assign either guilt or blame. I would ask, “Do you want to assign blame and guilt, or do you want to fix the problem?” That’s another way of saying you can be right, or you can make good things happen, but not both. Which do we want?
Let’s look at some specifics from both perspectives:
- Police need to create an attitude of trust and “I’m here to help.” Neighborhoods need to cooperate with police in everything from simple friendliness to volunteering needed information.
- Police need to rid themselves of racists and other bad apples. Neighborhoods need to rid themselves of their bad apples, including gangs and gang leaders. “Taking back our streets.” must start with taking back the streets from the gangs who own them.
- Police and citizens need to break the power of the police unions, the government unions that protect bad cops and lower the quality of policing. Neighborhoods and citizens need to break the power of the teachers unions, the government unions that protect bad teachers and lower the quality of teaching.
- Limit the use of deadly force. The George Floyd case is disgustingly clear; this action is beyond defensible. Let’s take a look at two example cases where we have less than the 100% agreement we have in the Floyd case. In the recent case in Atlanta, the suspect was being arrested for DUI, resisted mightil–overpowering both officers, punched one in the face, stole a cop’s taser, fled and after pointing the taser at an officer, was shot and killed. Closer to home here in Colorado Springs, a suspect, answering the description of a suspect in a recent crime in the area, was stopped and questioned. The officers had reason to believe the suspect was armed. When asked if he was armed and told not to drop his hands, the suspect dropped his arms, and turned and ran. The suspect, who was indeed armed, was shot and killed by an officer. Neighborhoods and citizens need to decide if they want upset drunks with stolen tasers and armed, fleeing suspects to be allowed to escape and be immediately at liberty in their neighborhoods. And don’t for a split second think about coming up with recommendations like, “Just wound them.” or, “Shoot the gun out of their hands.” I do enjoy a good discussion on principles and issues of the day, but nonsense like that needs to be dismissed out of hand.
- Police must allow peaceful protesters to exercise their civil rights. One of the 5 parts (yes, 5) of the First Amendment protects the right to “peaceably assemble.” Neighborhoods and citizens need to define what peaceably means. Don’t laugh, we are not all clear on this subject. The Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, has said that armed occupation of the now 7 city blocks in the Capitol Hill area of her city is, “A patriotic block party.” And others excuse and even dismiss widespread looting and burning. And how peaceful are protests that use their massive numbers and coordinated tactics to force police into retreating and abandoning multiple neighborhoods? Neighborhoods and citizens must define what they want to be allowed in their areas.
- Neighborhoods, citizens and citizen review boards have the right to decide what they want to with their law enforcement agencies, including reducing funding, limiting their authority, and even defunding and abolishing them. Current and prospective officers have the right to decide if they want to participate, or leave or not join the force in the first place.
Trust is a 2-way street. Life is a 2-way street. Both sides have rights and responsibilities. Once we all get that, there will not be a police perspective and a neighborhood perspective; there then only one perspective. The perspective of committed American citizens, and contributing citizens of state and local communities. “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” – Pope John Paul II
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.