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 podcast. Listen 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.
The Global Leadership Summit
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3 INSIGHTS FROM SAM
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
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
LEARN HOW TO LEAD THROUGH CRISIS
The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.
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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.
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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.