The cure for racism isn't what you think it is.
The world's hyper-focused on 'Black Lives Matter' as I write this.
In fact, Evan Carmichael (a long-time friend I’ve known to intentionally avoid politics) recently posted a very personal take on the recent racial and political landscape.
I believe it speaks volumes when someone who’s known to avoid this stuff, speaks out on it.
Anyway, in his post he shared a heartfelt apology that he didn’t have any content that felt right for the situation.
Which inspired me to write this article.
Because what he posted, is the right stuff…
The right piece of content is one that comes from the heart.
Almost entirely agenda-free expression, but focused on pure positivity is what’s needed.
Content focused on ease, flow, clarity, inspiration, love.
And Evan’s off-the-cuff “I’m sorry” message about BLM was pure love, in my opinion.
Point is, Evan wrote from the heart, and inspired me to do the same.
So here goes:
Most views you're fed about racism... are just plain wrong.
Views from experts. Views from celebs. Views from personalities you look up to. All wrong. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You can admit it or not, but most people’s opinions are clouded with huge amounts of personal bias. They’re clouded by neuroses. Clogged with issues. Diluted with self-serving agendas. I’m about to speak some truths, and I realize many people aren’t ready for them; won’t like them. Read at your own risk.
The truth takes a clear mind, clear expression, & clear love.
And I feel like I’m the right person to write about this, because I prize truth, clarity, and love more than anything.
There was a ~3 year period in my life where I was homeless, abandoned, briefly jailed, broke, alone, depressed, and suicidal.
And it taught me that looking bad, failing at life, and all the tragedy and pressure in the world shouldn’t stop a person from doing the right thing.
Nothing is supposed to stop a human being from showing love.
Sure, it’s a lofty ideal, and it’s not likely everyone will manage it, but it’s worth aiming for.
The world could use people at least getting closer to it.
I’d love that so much.
Basically, I’m the right person to write this, because no one wants people to be better more than me.
I want people to ryze.
Myself most of all.
And to be my best self…
I’m aiming to give you the clearest, most unique, most truthful take on solving racism that I can.
I'm mixed-race, anglo-indian (but my heritage shouldn't matter).
My Mom was born in Canada. My Dad was born in India.
My Mom’s side of the family is all Caucasian and my Dad’s side of the family is all Indian.
Both of them experienced tons of racism. My Mom for “who she married” and my Dad for “the color of his skin”… and I experienced the spillover.
But —and this is important— my parents never made a big deal of racism.
They also didn’t hide it, or bury their heads in the sand, either.
They acknowledged it when it happened, but only briefly.
Not only that, they made sure to invite and welcome every friend we ever had, of every race and status, over to our house for dinner, fun, games, etc.
Our house was grand central station for people of color.
And it was one of the best parenting choices I’ve ever seen.
Because it guaranteed race wasn’t stigmatized.
I learned that skin color wasn’t very ‘important.’
I learned it wasn’t worth over-focusing on.
I learned skin-color just isn’t a big deal, and shouldn’t stop me from treating people with respect.
Which reminds me, you know what was a big deal in my family?
My parents taught compassion, consideration, empathy, perspective, understanding, balance, integrity, excellence.
They smartly ‘made a big deal’ of things they wanted to encourage.
Family dinners barely mentioned the injustices Dad faced when he was the only brown-skinned mechanic at Canadian Tire.
They touched on it just enough to make us kids aware of things, and to answer any questions we might have, but they then nudged the conversation to more positive topics.
Why was this so helpful?
Because what humans focus on, we create.
By my parents touching only briefly on prejudicial experiences…
They taught by example, that dwelling on bad things that happen isn’t a path to solutions.
They taught me not to abuse my focus. Instead, I learned to prioritize other things like heart, sincerity, value, kindness, and love over skin-color.
And kids are born knowing the color of people's skin doesn't really matter.
I mean, there may be some arguments to be made that they pick up influences in the womb, but by and large, kids come in as a mostly ‘blank slate’, with minimal if any racist leanings.
And if kids are born knowing that skin is just a color…
That can only mean racism comes from parents.
And that it comes from authority, from society.
And that can only mean: kids are being taught to be racist.
Not because parents are sitting down and saying out loud “Son, please hate black people,” or “Daughter, you better avoid Latinos.”
Of course not. That’s silly, almost no one’s doing that.
The reason kids learn to be racist, is because kids learn by osmosis.
Kids learn from the parents actions and example.
They pick up every little personality tick or bias and internalize them.
And it’s not always a 1-to-1 translation.
If a parent is judgy and critical of sex workers, the kid may grow up judgy and critical of…asians.
If a parent is afraid of working with bees, their kid may grow up afraid of working with say… arabs.
Kids aren’t learning ‘racism’ specifically, instead they’re learning fear, criticism, and generalization.
Even worse, sometimes the kids aren’t learning these things directly from parents… but their parents are failing to UNlearn it from them, if a child happens to pick these traits up elsewhere.
For example, if a child learns to be judgy, critical, or afraid from a kid at school… and a parent fails to catch, correct, & override that with healthier values…
Their kid may still grow up racist.
The point is this.
Most parents don’t think they’re teaching their kids to be racist —but as we can see by our current social climate— they are.
Parenting is a huge job, and most people are phoning it in.
Most are too busy with their own careers, goals, relationships, and agendas to keep track of “every little thing” their child learns.
But that’s LITERALLY the job.
If the parent isn’t keeping track of what their child is learning… who is?
A child is a blank slate, a blank canvas. A child is a legacy, a work of art. A child is literally the future of humanity.
This isn’t news. Everyone knows that children are humanity’s most precious resource, moreso than gold or diamonds… but still, so many parents phone it in.
And so, voila, we get more racist humans.
Why does this happen? Well, most of us received a bunch of neuroses and shitty beliefs from our parents.
And sure, we can point our fingers and say our own parents didn’t raise us any better…
But all that does is place blame, it doesn’t stop the cycle.
Sure, maybe you were raised judgy & critical.
But so what?
If you don’t bother to develop yourself & fix your own issues, then you go ahead an raise a child anyway, don’t be surprised if they turn out racist.
And this applies to experts, teachers, uncles... anyone in a position of authority.
It applies to nearly everyone. So if we want racism gone, it starts with:
Admitting & fixing our own issues.
It’s up to us to ensure we pass on superior teachings to our kids.
If every parent got their shit together and raised their kids properly, racism would be nearly eradicated by the next generation.
Instead, generation after generation, it rears it’s ugly head.
And it’s on us.
Every one of us.
Unless you can say with absolute certainty that you give pure advice & loving teachings —by example— with every breath to the people around you, especially kids…
…Then you’re part of why racism is still around.
And that’s OK. I’m not criticizing, I’m not pointing fingers. I’m not saying I’m perfect.
Because almost none of us can say we teach that well.
But facts are facts, truth is truth.
If you want to send a manned rocket safely into space —maybe there’s room for slight errors— but overall, every nut and bolt has to be flawless.
And not just the bolts handled by one person on the team…
But by everyone involved.
And if you want to raise a kid ‘into the stratosphere’, to be loving and free of prejudicial bias, every word and action we make has to be flawless.
And not just by one authority figure….
But by all authority figures.
The question is, how much have you done to solve your own issues, and then lead by example for those around you?
Seriously, it's 2020, how has humanity not solved this?
“Creating awareness” of injustices, holding protests, and running out to support black-owned businesses are nice and all…
But they’re band-aid solutions.
It’s like trying to patch a leaky pipe that has Niagara Falls running through it.
We need a true fix, not a band-aid fix.
And the highest point of leverage for solving racism is to start with what really matters.
Start with the beliefs & behaviors of authority figures.
Make sure only positive, high-value beliefs are passed on to the next generation.
The solution is to start with yourself and those directly around you.
It may mean you need to change circles or cut ties, if they won’t listen. It may mean you need to make the hard choices, take a stand, be an example. It may mean you need to put all distractions, goals, agendas on hold so you can sit down and explain healthier views to people who need to hear it. It may mean you need therapy, self-help, or personal development. It may mean you need to be a far better person than you currently are.
And that’s fine.
No biggie. We all have to do these things.
Self-development is an important, vital, essential journey.
So get f***ing started.
Because I’ve seen people delay. I’ve seen them live in denial. I’ve seen them fail to do what’s right, what’s necessary.
And what do we get?
Generation after generation of racism.
And I wonder…
How many generations before people figure out what to me, is so insanely obvious?
But I get it, many things about racism are confusing and hard to figure out.
But these things become clearer, the more we work on ourselves.
They’re easier to see when we stop choosing to ‘be triggered’ over searching our souls for a healthy response.
Hopefully I can get the ball rolling by clearing a few issues up here and now.
1. Preference isn't prejudice.
What’s the difference between preference and prejudice?
Imagine I have a box of crayons.
I’m not prejudiced against any of the colors in my box of crayons.
In fact, I’m thankful for them all.
Even if I don’t personally use every color in every picture, I’d be annoyed if I was lacking access to certain colors. If I only had two or three colors total, my crayon collection would be limited, weak sauce.
But I do prefer certain colors, when I’m in certain moods or phases.
And they can last a long time.
Picasso’s ‘blue’ period lasted four years. In that time, he made mostly blue monochromatic paintings.
Does that mean Picasso was prejudiced against other colors?
He just preferred blue for a time.
It’s hard to tell the difference from the outside looking in.
But as long as his intention is pure, he’s following his heart, and embracing his own preferences —while remaining open to the other colors — he handles colors in a healthy way.
Now, if Picasso was at a fan’s house, and everyone was hungry, but Picasso refused to eat off of any plate that wasn’t blue, disrespecting his friend and starving himself, his intention is not pure or loving.
If he did that, he clearly has issues, and is letting his prejudice treat others poorly.
Not a healthy preference, but a neurotic, harmful prejudice.
It’s fine for a cop to prefer hanging around with his caucasian buddies, but it’s prejudicial for a cop to assume negative things about others because they happen to be darker-skinned.
Most people can’t tell the difference, and just snap to conclusions.
They just look at any situation involving skin-color, label it racist, then trigger themselves over it.
If you or someone you know does this… don’t worry, it’s not your fault.
They were almost certainly raised to believe that reading, writing, & arithmetic are more important than ‘abstract’ things like prejudice vs. preference.
But ignorance is no excuse.
Each of us has the chance to self-reflect, self-improve.
We could start by admitting we’re not a 10-out-of-10 in the areas of discernment, critical thinking, understanding, perspective, intention, self-awareness, and reason.
In fact, most people aren’t even a 5 in these areas.
And because people are so bad in these traits, they get confused between prejudice, and preference.
Don’t let that be you.
2. Equality's impossible, diversity isn't.
Can you ever have scales that are perfectly balanced?
Even if you balance two things of ‘exactly’ equal weight on the scales and they look balanced, they aren’t. And even if they were for a split-second, that ‘perfect balance’ won’t last.
A wind current will breeze by and nudge one side of the scale slightly lower.
OK, so you do it in a vacuum, but even then, the molecules of one substance will erode faster than the other, and the scale will eventually tip..
Perfectly equal balance isn’t possible, and never lasts.
And that’s a good thing, because no one would want it anyway.
Perfect balance is bland. Boring. Still. Stale. Stagnant.
Movement, growth, change, and evolution are wired into our DNA.
Not only do we not want ‘perfect balance’, we need variety, and are cellular-ly evolved to ensure it.
So what’s this got to do with racism?
Well, people get triggered if there’s ‘more’ of one skin color participating in a certain field, industry, or project than another.
They get triggered by the imbalance.
But before getting triggered by ‘color balance’, it’s helpful to be clear on what’s going on.
Because imperfect balance is essential and unavoidable.
Counting the number of blacks, whites, hispanics performing a certain thing and trying to make them ‘equal’ is futile, and definitely doesn’t serve.
Am I saying to tolerate racism?
I’m saying that just as it’s key we tell the difference between prejudice and preference, we need to tell the difference between intentional race-stacking and natural asymmetrical balance.
Everyone protesting for exactly equal amounts of this and that, are destined to fail, and will likely continue raging with little positive result.
But those aiming for a healthy diversity, with reasonable concentrations of certain things, founded in love and free of affliction can create the reality they want.
3. Nature isn't racist.
There’s more ants than there are elephants.
Green, seen in forests, and blue (ocean, sky) are more prevalent colors in nature than say… purple.
But nature doesn’t throw a tantrum about it.
It’s all good.
On top of that, nature has always birthed new and ditched old species, over & over, with or without humans messing with it.
Nature is totally fine with there being a higher concentration of scorpions in the desert than there are in the arctic.
Nature is totally cool with people preferring roses to dandelions, or preferring kittens to spiders.
Nature doesn’t judge and doesn’t complain. It just makes peace with what is.
Humanity could learn a lot from this.
Now, obviously, humans aren’t ants or elephants.
We have consciousness and agency.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn better ways to behave from nature.
Nature finds ways to let everything have it’s place, everything have it’s value, and let everything shine in it’s own way.
Nature’s not busy counting, comparing, and nit-picking.
Nature is in harmony and at peace with diversity.
People can be at peace with it too.
But first they’d have to care more about introspection, self-improvement, and loving conduct…
…than they do about their status, ego, or complacent comfort.
And that comes from inside.
It’s an internal change required, not something we can fix with just foundations or funds.
4. Finger-pointing & witch-hunting sucks.
Many people think ‘pointing out’ and ostracizing racists is helpful, good, and the right thing to do.
It rarely is.
Especially if it’s a knee-jerk accusation.
If someone is secretly getting away with racism, and no one’s holding them accountable, then yes, OK, maybe being a whistle-blower is helpful in this case — it gives them some accountability and consequences.
But these situations are rare, few and far between.
For the most part…
Every time you choose to blame, label, or witch-hunt racists…
…you’re just creating pain for you.
Because your life is a series of moments.
And every moment you’re blaming, labeling, & witch-hunting others —even if they deserve it— is a moment you’re not experiencing joy.
It’s a moment you’re not creating value. It’s a moment you’re not bettering yourself or others. It’s a moment you’re not creating solutions — instead, you’re amplifying the problem.
And our focus creates our reality.
Blame creates moments of pain for you. And it also creates pain for others.
The person you label as ‘racist’ may lose their career, their friends, their family… even if you’re wrong.
And just the accusation alone can be hard to recover from.
Is that what you want?
If a simple accusation from you has the power to ruin someone’s life…
Do you really want to be careless with it? Do you really wanna throw accusations around without thinking them through extremely carefully?
The person you label as ‘racist’ may, or may not be, racist.
How could you know for sure?
As I explained above, chances are you’re not able to discern prejudice from preference anyway.
And let’s say you somehow do know for sure…
Your blame still doesn’t help.
That racist person is actually less likely to rehabilitate if you witch-hunt them.
So, are you look for revenge, or rehabilitation?
Are you truly trying to solve things? Or are you just looking for drama? Or do you seek a feeling of righteousness and superiority?
Many people blame, but how many know the real reason they blame others?
Because I’ll tell you what, as a I kid, I loved feeling superior. I loved pointing fingers. I loved placing responsibility on others, rather than myself.
I did anything I could to avoid admitting my flaws.
But truth was, I just sucked. I was not a good person — I just made people think I was.
And the only way to fix it was to stop blaming others and admit my bulls**t.
It was one the most freeing, empowering decision I’ve ever made.
It can be for you too.
Drop the finger-pointing.
It’s pivotal if you want racism to chill out.
I know I do, which is why I’m writing this, because…
I'm honestly tired of all the lame solutions.
They’re nearly all band-aid fixes from well-meaning but ultimately confused people.
So much time, energy, and conversation goes into the issue of racism, and all of it close to meaningless.
If people really want to solve racism they need to realize that racism is a side-effect of deeper issues in each individual, and focus on transforming those root causes of it.
You might think “Oh, I’m not racist,” and I agree with you. You’re probably not prejudiced against a certain race.
But chances are you’re prejudiced against something, which encourages others to be prejudiced against some other thing, such as skin-color.
That something may not be race in your case, but it likely will be for them.
Chances are you have the above traits things inside you, right now, on some topic.
Chances are you’re passing them on to friends, family, clients, and especially the next generation.
Chances are someone’s looking up to you right now.
A niece, a nephew, a follower on IG. Whatever.
And when they experience you acting prejudiced (not preferenced) towards an ex, or towards a client, or even towards something small, like a flavor of donut…
…they’ll learn prejudice from you, and it’s very possible they’ll aim theirs towards an entire race or skin-color.
To solve racism, the only effective step is to solve any issues inside your heart, and mind, and beliefs, then be a light that ignites similar personal growth in others.
And you can do it. I can do it. We can all do it.
Whether people realize it or not, we’re all teachers, and we’re all teaching.
Racism is a ‘collective’ issue, and our human ‘collective’ is made up of many individual humans. And it’s up to each individual to transform themselves, and then be a light, an example, for others in the collective, sparking them towards their own evolution.
We’re all living examples for the generation that comes next, and we can either burden them with a million issues, blocks, and programming that they’ll have to break on their own, the hard way…
…or we can bless them with positive, clear perspectives by being shining examples of how to behave in all situations, big and small.
We can all ryze up.
It doesn’t take tons of money. It doesn’t take tons of time. It’s not a solution you have to ‘wait’ for.
It’s totally doable and tremendously effective…
…but it’s not very flashy.
It’s not instant gratification. It’s not obvious, in your face, or even tangible.
Doing it won’t get you a ton of likes.
Doing it won’t get people cheering you on.
But it will do one thing.
It’ll break the cycle of human beings behaving like shit to one another.
It’ll actually make a positive, lasting, permanent change for generations to come.
And if everyone —or at least the vast majority of people— apply what I’m suggesting and actually become better teachers…
It’ll be the most impactful progress to an unprejudiced society… ever.
All life-change starts in the mind & all mass-change starts in the individual.
Want to solve racism?
Be a better human &
raise better humans.
It starts —and ends—
Thanks so much for reading.
I appreciate you.
I believe in you.
Please share this with others.
Don’t let enlightening teachings remain buried and ignored.
Even small actions like shares, can create a better world, if they’re done with the right intentions.
P.S. I feel for the influencers.
The celebs, the superstars, the thought-leaders are most in my heart.
Because they’ve achieved what so few do.
They’ve become influencers.
Literally, people of influence who very nearly decide how society as a whole, will behave.
If one of them stands up and speaks up well, they can move millions.
But it’s a huge responsibility.
A responsibility that may not feel too great sometimes.
Like, they’ve already done enough, you know? They’ve already done more than most. Contributed more than most. Impacted more than most. Improved more than most.
They’ve learned a lot of lessons, gone through a lot, and come out the other side with wealth, power, and influence.
But for all their influence, so many of them are unable to create the change they’re hungry for.
Many of them would love to cure racism.
So they start groups, clubs, movements, funds, foundations, and charities.
They do things with their wealth and power, hoping they’ll make a change.
And I’m not against that. All that stuff is awesome, great stuff.
But they’re temporary things, that alleviate the symptoms of the issue, not the cause.
They’re not the fulfilling solutions these influencers really want.
The solution is to teach better.
Shape beliefs better. Persuade better. Shine brighter. Create better humans, at their core.
The influencers of the world have overcome incredible odds, and learned a lot.
But how effective are they are teaching those same lessons to others?
I feel for them.
‘Cause straight up? Not many things feel worse than knowing you have power & influence, but seeing yourself unable to solve things effectively with it.
So what can they do?
For someone like Evan, who’s already poured a ton of love into self-development, teaching his son amazing lessons, and becoming an influencer of millions already…
The next step is to be a better teacher.
And that could mean all kinds of things, depending on the individual.
It might mean exploring gamification.
It might mean hiring more musicians, artists, directors to communicate with society.
It might mean writing another book, a modern-day ‘bible.’
It might mean diving deep into humanity’s logical fallacies and personal biases.
It might mean studying the power of breathing & meditation to create personal transformation.
It might mean practicing persuasion and psychology to influence the masses to be better humans.
Being a better teacher takes a different form for everyone, but for the world’s high leverage mass-influencers it’s sublimely important.
Whatever the case, solving —or at least heavily reducing— racism still starts with being a better teacher.