CNLP 358: Sam Collier on Growing Up Black in America, What it Takes to Make it in a White World, and How Whites Can Use Their Influence to Help Bring About Racial Reconciliation

Author, podcaster and pastor Sam Collier, talks about what it was like growing up in the 90s and early 2000s in Black America, what it takes to make it in a white world, and how whites can use their influence to bring about racial reconciliation.

Sam talks about how to navigate the backlash and the kind of change anyone can make to make the world (and the church) a more just place for black and brown people.

Welcome to Episode 358 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about whether you should close or reopen your church with COVID-19 still on the rise.

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A Greater Story by Sam Collier

A Greater Story podcast

Sam Collier on The Steve Harvey Show

Oprah Visits a County Where No Black Person Had Lived for 75 Years | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN

CNLP 203: Sam Collier on Growing Up Without Privilege, Living a Double Life, Boundaries for Difficult People and How to Build Influence

CNLP 277: Sam Collier on How to Find Your Voice, Build a Platform, Stay True to Yourself and Handle Feedback and Criticism

CNLP 253: Kadi Cole on the New Rules for Men and Women in the Workplace and Creating a Culture That Leverages Female Leaders…Regardless of Your Theology

CNLP Bonus 020: Danielle Strickland on Becoming a Great Communicator, Knowing When It’s Time to Move On and Being a Rebel at Heart

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1. A black person’s experience is they need to work twice as hard as a white person to succeed in America

Growing up, Sam was surrounded by examples of African American freedom fighters who had made it out of poverty in spite of being black in America. Because of their examples, Sam knew that there was a way through all of the obstacles that come with being black in America. But just because there is a way out, doesn’t excuse the obstacles.

It’s wrong that Sam had to have the mindset of, “I know racism is still alive, I know prejudice is still alive, I know systemic oppression is still alive, but I can overcome it. I just have to work harder, so that’s what I’ll do.” But he did. That’s why he’s so excited about the racial reconciliation happening today.

2. Staying silent hurts more

There are a lot of white pastors and leaders who probably feel like their hands are tied when it comes to publicly talking about racism in America. You’re might even be one of them. It’s understandable. You’re afraid that if you speak up, you could lose your job, key donors, or get creamed on social media. So rather than speaking up publicly, you’ve decided to support the fight against racism privately.

Although he knows you mean well, Sam would say, “We need your voice now more than ever. Choosing to say nothing is not an option. And when I say it’s not an option, I’m not demanding you, I’m saying it doesn’t help us, it hurts. We need you.”

If you are afraid of losing people when you speak out, ask yourself, “What would God ask me to do with my influence?”

3. Privilege today is a result of systems set up in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s

A lot of white people have a problem with the term “white privilege” because of the negative connotation that goes along with it. Sam thinks that “white advantage” is a less controversial way to describe it, so that’s how he chooses to talk about it. And here’s how he explains it:

White advantage in 2020 is the result of systems that were set up in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that set up a system for white people to thrive and black people to fail. Back then, there were laws that were set up to keep black people from moving into certain neighborhoods, keep them out of certain schools, and not being able to get certain loans. All of this has ripple effects on black people today.

If we want to fix this problem, Sam thinks that we need to break the system, or heavily shock it.

For example, Sam had been working with an organization that had been on a multi-year journey of identifying systemic racism inside, and one day, Sam realized that they had just hired eight new employees that were all white. When he pointed this out to the CEO, he was mortified. So how did they break their system? They made a rule to only hire people of color for their next ten hires.

If we want to change deep systems, you need to take deep measures.

Quotes from Episode 358

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The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.

I’ve got an online, on-demand course, called How to Lead Through Crisisthat can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.

The course is the gift from me and my team to you and leaders everywhere. In light of everything that’s going on, we decided to make it available 100% free.

Inside How to Lead Through Crisis, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cultivate a non-anxious presence that inspires confidence and trust.
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  • Gather and interpret the most reliable data that will advance your mission
  • Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
  • Lead your team and congregation remotely

While no one has all the answers in a crisis this big, in the course, I share the mindsets, habits, tools and strategies that I believe will help you lead through crisis to get you and the people you lead to a new (and better) future.

You can enroll and get instant access for you and your team here.

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Next Episode: Levi Lusko

In a very transparent and honest conversation, Fresh Life Church founder and bestselling author, Levi Lusko, comes back to the podcast and talks about dealing with adrenaline letdown after COVID hit, what the future church might look like, why he’s thinking his church will become a digital default church, and how digital can scale in a way the old model never could, even for small town churches.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 359.

CNLP 358: Sam Collier on Growing Up Black in America, What it Takes to Make it in a White World, and How Whites Can Use Their Influence to Help Bring About Racial Reconciliation


  1. Bob Wiseman on August 12, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    “So how did they break their system? They made a rule to only hire people of color for their next ten hires.They made a rule to only hire people of color for their next ten hires.”

    So, the way to fix racism is to just turn the power structure upside down and, by effect, create more racism?

    This kind of nonsense has made so many of our leaders unbelievably stupid, and if your church leaders can’t see the stupidity in this stuff, you should demand they be fired, for they are woefully incompetent to be leaders of any organization.

    Hiring black people simply because they are black is not just racist, it’s pandering, and some of the most unbelievably insulting crap you can do. And advertising that you do this (a la, Matt Chandler) is even worse. It’s essentially saying, “you’re not good enough for this job, but I need some clout, so I’m hiring you.”

    Seriously Carey, this is horrendously racist crap you’re putting on your blog. Stop being an arrogant clout-chaser for 2 minutes and see what this is actually saying.

    Absolutely unreal.

  2. Aaron Clausen on August 4, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    African Americans don’t feel superior, they feel mistreated and victims of entrenched and pernicious racism. And really are the actions of the few who are causing property damage any different than American colonists in the 1770s who felt oppressed and persecuted by Great Britain, and attacked symbols, and even representatives of the Crown. Or is violent outrage only permitted when its White Americans who are victims of oppression?

  3. Amanda on August 4, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for this! I have always been a person that values “fair”. I used to see it as “unfair” if you specifically hire people of color to “make up for injustice” till I went to a training where they explained it feels “unfair” because it was “unfair to begin with.” It really helped me understand that the seeds sown years ago reflect the issues we have today. None of us are responsible for the things people did years ago, but we are responsible for how we address those things now. Racism does not exist in heaven. May His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. And May we all do our part. (Also, the the person who commented “blacks this and that”, these are my family members, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t dis my family…and if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, that means the people you are dissing are your family members too. Don’t dis your family.)

    • david on August 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

      I used to always hire the best regardless of skin colour and culture – it was all about who can make me the most but now that I have seen the BLM riots and their signs – I am rethinking my thought process. If I hire an Asian person cause I think he/she is the best the blacks will not be happy. What makes the blacks think that they are superior to Asians, whites etc

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