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February 17, 2021 5:00 am
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The seasons of your life are always moving forward, marriage, parenting, aging well and threw it all.
Focus on the Family is alongside me with encouragement from a biblical perspective and now we have a tool that gathers our trust and guidance and support together in one place. The enhanced Focus on the Family with it you can listen to the Focus on the Family broadcast engage our social media counselor or make a donation all on the Focus on the Family app downloaded today from the app store or Google play great American family is the single worst most overwhelming problem. Our problem is one of our family life. Dr. Shelby Steele. He is our guest today on focus on ensuring some unique views on racial issues in our culture, and I think you find this really interesting and I don't will stay with us for this important conversation. This is Focus on the Family with your host focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller John racial injustice is a real hot button topic and the culture today with the unrest and all the things that occurred over the years, including the death of George Floyd in 2020. Michael Brown in 2014 and others. Those and other incidents have led to violence. Unfortunately, and then we try to find out how we got here and search for solutions that cycle seems to repeat itself over and over again. The Bible tells us as Christians that were called to love our neighbors as ourselves and treat others with dignity because were all created in God's image and we take that very seriously here.
Focus. That's a command right from the Lord. I thought it would be good to look at what's happening in our culture and hear what some of the thought leaders are thinking about. I know that some of this discussion will be controversial and not everyone will agree with what Dr. still has to share, but I think it's important for us to hear his insights on racial tensions in this country and it will expand your thinking. I believe he's experienced racism, growing up on the south side of Chicago, but he's chosen to move beyond it and hopefully he'll offer advice to help our country move in a more positive direction as well, and Dr. Steele is a senior fellow at the Hoover institution specializing in the study of race relations and multiculturalism and affirmative action.
He's an accomplished author and he created a new video documentary called what killed Michael Brown. That of course referring to the 2014 shooting death that you mentioned Jim in the documentary forms. Some of the basis for our conversation today.
Dr. still welcome to Focus on the Family so much for having very excited to talk with you. I do see as a thought leader. Sometimes people may think of you is controversial. I think you're just one of the many voices, but a very reason voice a logical voice in this issue of racial tension before we get into that debate. In that discussion, let's go back and talk about your upbringing. Let's talk about where you come from your mom and dad, etc. tell us a bit about who you are, well, my father met and married very early civil rights movement in Chicago the early 40s founding members: Thomas racial equality which will incident probably the most. The central civil rights movement is focused on Gandhian philosophy as so so I grew up in that kind of court baby and the brand of Christianity that we devoted to was focused social and argument was all it was against racial segregation problem so it was this thought of engagement of Christianity. With this huge complex problem of race in America that was sort of cauldron. I suppose that that I grew up and think I remember conversations about a good example would monitor the case. My family wondered whether he really had the stuff so so we was always upon. Yeah, let me ask you a duck shall be with your dad your dad seemed like an incredible person and give a bit of his background.
Growing up in the South and then his move to Chicago.
He was an orphan child right as he was, as he was.
His bonds out 1900 and his father, that is Manet's mom that 12 is on his own live in the back of the barn farmer's son would bring night that's the black two years and the age of 14, he took off again. Again it's amazing to me that kind of tenacity, resiliency, all those attributes, how did you pick those things up. I mean, was it simply seeing your dad work the way he worked and how hard he worked or not. So often today, we look at the fatherless homes in a course in the African-American community. Fatherlessness is a huge problem. Some studies show 75, 78% of black families don't have a father in the home where there is a child under 18 in the home. Speak to that issue of drive and initiative and how how the transfer to you. Your father-son well was the day you have to know it was the he was always thinking, and he was the he had only 1/3 grade education.
He taught himself to read and write and read a great deal until home schooling, sitting and reading Time magazine new public whatever kept the things that he was always so is mulling over and he was a gentle man he would talk us when we when we did something wrong he would he would explain the whole world to us. Give us a sense of why was that what we had just done one work, and why it was oh so it was wrong why we shouldn't do it in so you get this also the context of your letter you admitted you.
I remember wishing they just give us a spanking get on with this. Now I see. So he was an education all my life line, line on him referred back to him so I think he would've been a writer himself had he had more often yeah and that's you know again that's the importance of the father so much social science now coming in regarding the importance of a father in the nuclear family and the unique attributes of father brings to helping to raise children there knocking to be mom's there to be dads and that's one of the great breakdowns in nuclear family in all races, black, white and the black community, particularly, have suffered tragically in this area. What are your reflections in that regard when it comes to the black family and the fatherlessness and what it contributes to the you know obstacle of doing better in the culture. I think that the breakdown of the black American family is the single worst most overwhelming problem we face today by nine black women get married at half the rate of white women get divorced at twice the rate families even as you move up in social class is just simply fragmented and it creates so many problems that it is the single source that is collectively as a group piece is now it's just hard to order that many universities today is highly will become those kinds of problems that then manifest themselves in the education system and so forth, is our greatest problem by far. We will claim. I think this quite wrongly the racism is a big problem was that that's what keeps them. Not remote, I argue against that vociferous problem is the decline of our family life when I was growing up in the 50's in the 60s the black family was still strong advocate in my neighborhood had a father who want family violence and died and that was the only family in then those children would will last for by the rest of the community, so they they grew up to lose that sense of family that sacred idea.
Boy that's gone and when that goes, then then you face real as a group we really face despair. We need to Focus on the Family more than anything else. By far yeah well on and we agree with that wholeheartedly because you know we think that is the core issue for all of America that the breakdown the families contributing in a in a great way to the social ills that we see in fact, even when I see the unrest and I watch it on the news, my first inclination is family breakdown and the fact that children no matter what their races aren't learning the things they need to learn to conduct themselves wisely with respect in the culture and that brings a whole set of circumstances to it. Let me get to some of the points that you made in that terrific documentary that you've made and I watched it just last night and fall, and you know I there were so many amazing points that you made but one thing you said I wanted to talk to about his describing racism as a religion. What do you mean by that. What what is. We have created for ourselves a what I call victim focused identity and we are victimization is who we are what we bargain with largest I out of that and so forth, and that it is then, therefore, our American life is his victimization so lovely. We then got to be a victim.
You have to have you have to have some great monolithic enemy that you're against it is victimizing you. So we make that that we make racism into that monolithic, almost a kind of dental figure against which we define ourselves constantly in and so we make we make a religion out remake of faith. And if you don't agree that you victimize you not black Savior, not actually a race of black, you must assert your position is a terrible irony is what is that where we don't realize that was celebrating the very thing that is been eyeing the all write that I wanted to ask you what your thoughts are. When you have sustained decades of victimization. What does that do to the thinking of that community.
When there constantly and that in that modality of victimization what what does that do to any human being.
I mean, the issue of slavery and this is an interesting point. You know it's a 3000-year-old horrible practice that people have put on each other and it's not just white and black, yet it certainly occurred in Africa. I'm Irish. The British held the Irish slaves mean it rides all the way down through history the Jews a course for His slaves in Egypt, etc. so it's a global phenomenon that lasted about 3000 years, but in that context, what is what is the harm when people continually think of themselves as victims, and for good reason. You know to be a victim was the as they have no faith in your own capacity to direct your life. I is a black victim. I had to join collectively with my with my everybody else. My race we have to find some way to manipulate our way ahead through white America with the keep white America on H and we have to keep them feeling guilty for us and about us, we great power is that we owe their redemption in our hands they have to deal with it to give us Lyndon Johnson gave us a long time. The great Society school lesson public housing. On and on and on.
The so we then begin to believe that they can white skin socially engineer us out of our suffered, as all the power to activate. We placed the victim places in his own person and Weiss.
We put that in their lap give them that our and therefore we don't have the my big argument is pay, we need to keep that for ourselves. We we have to be the agents of our own development around overcoming of all those deficits that came from the past, when you come from for centuries of oppression. The only thing about it function you know I think so.
You are always in a position we like the white man to get now all of a sudden freedom was still manipulating white man was still working them over the guilt was still eating him on the line because we still continue to think that's a future is not huge, we should not be manipulating anybody. We should be living as free men and women in open society. That's scary because we we freedom is a scary thing for everybody for human all backgrounds because it demands so much responsibility so much taking on the burdens of life on one's own show and you you mention this with white guilt. I do want to define that. I think I understand that but for the listeners the viewers let me hear from you what you mean by white guilt and how is it are corrosive to the process, etc. and I was born in the 60s in California. I've never felt I had to own what happened in the 1700s in the 1800s. Some people are probably offended by that, but I don't know what I could've done not being here at that time to change. I know the abolitionists, the Christian church in part did what they could do to end slavery course at Mr. Wilberforce in England, you know, he mounted a global campaign to try to bring an end to slavery. Certainly in England but worldwide. We were there.
How do we own that but help me better understand it. How do I own what white people dead in the 1700s.
The problem is that white guilt is not actual guilt. You gotta get up in the mornings that all my God I feel guilty about the history of racism in America, you know, I don't get up and say that about the history of Eskimos is whatever we don't. It's not that kind of actual real feeling of guilt over something that is not ashamed of whatever is simply this statement is nation of belonging to a group that conducted racism for centuries that brutally oppressed people. In this case of, so stigmatized with the term race is racist so that wasting a sense in America today. Even though they don't feel actual guilt seal eight. At the prospect of being seen as a race. That's it.
The worst thing in the world can happen to a white person is that we imagine somebody running the president we have on tape, some races the market.
They may they be sent as so Weiss live under that pressure that oh my God to lie near the Roman so you white guilt white guilt is black. Now the terror that whites had the fact that we had over them is not and we we created a whole grievance industry in America to exploit how and look at corporate America today into black lives matter moves they don't really know they don't really believe in them but they're going to give them because they running from that seems race seen in the slightest bit is races.
It ruins their brand and so we have the power to assess rule in the brain of White America and why America is digging out against that vulnerability and race relations today on the symbiosis where between black and went back will will Weiss outlive in terror.
And that's what we have over them, and we use the data is not our and whites keep giving us things that no matter what we ask for whatever whether we deserve it or not it were to buy back their innocence. And so there we are. And I making making that assumption that in in what you're saying. And again, I know this is controversial, but that's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on to talk about this to be a voice and I you know I did on my head's not in the sand. I know there is racism. I know it exists, the question as to what degree and and we can get into more specifics in a moment regarding that. But we do feel a need to move toward a culture or society that treats everybody equally.
That that is not based on race. I think many people that I know. If not everyone I know believes what Martin Luther King Jr. said was exactly right, in its character, the counts, not the color of your skin, and I certainly believe that as a Christian you know that God sees our hearts.
He sees our work cc our attitude those things that are developed within is not immutable traits like the color of our skin which we cannot change and I do want to recognize for the critics that will say hearing this year heads in the sand. You don't see the racism that does exist. So if you could address that that there are in fact people that are racists that you know on all sides that see the world that way and yet I would want to believe that most people are moving forward in character over skin color but correct me if I'm wrong is this is that it's a close call. Then, in sharp contrast each other. Racism is is on the list of problems of black America faces racism is probably 32nd, 35th something way down the line you know how shocking that sounds tonight America I mean that that really is amazing how you talk to somebody and segregation. I know when I'm done I know what racism is like I could talk for hours about what I went through, going up in a deeply a society was so races that was utterly confident the racism was demands that God really had me races different and that was that. So for all you got contempt and people would just say what we can go in there you can't do this is Obama, so I put is I know racism we don't have racism is not bound and not remotely white Americans have made the greatest is the greatest incident of model evolution probably humanist from the 60s to this day of of facing into racism of understanding it, to be unable antidemocratic and so and aching to move forward move beyond yet they still have that terror of being seen as races and they use it against each other and we use it, it stays alive in our society.
Because of this terror is by whites have to stop being afraid to start believing in themselves. Marley that they are not raised their innocence.
Then they do not have racial ill will, they have only when they finally when they finally will always way from there they finally confidently say all why my continuing to be generation after generation anguished over being written seen as a races and I know I'm not. And when the white community.
America begins to have that sort of discussion with itself owns up to the fact it did not race the fact that they are not quite as bold statements as symbols, but this is where my sense of my experience life is brought me to. I know again that racism is simply not a do what you want to involve the message of today's systemic race, structural races, institutional races. We aren't we as Blacks keep inventing expanding racism even as it decline because it is our source of power. We can call you races and stop the shell we can wield that power so as well.
Racism is not just an isolated incident or get shot by a policeman. Racism is systemic. It's embedded intimately insidiously in our in our daily lives.
Blacks are injured by this know is the manipulation of a formerly oppressed group manipulating the former oppressed, squeezing them with guilt to get certain things well when we get to sleep for centuries of oppression. If we win this weekend and since it yes you may run into some races must certainly won't stay long but beat take the opposite course was somebody races. This is their problem. They are an idiot and suffer for focus on what's in front of you in your life, your family, you job your career move ahead is this creating this idea and then raising your children this way is, is teaching them to be afraid. Men and women stand up for themselves.
Dr. Shelby Steele on today's apps code of Focus on the Family with a passionate message. As we've heard one of a two-part conversation about racial issues in this country I Jon I so appreciate Shelby's insights and look forward to more of the discussion next time. It's a unique perspective from a man who's chosen not to dwell on past wrongs that he's observed or experience, but rather to focus on the present is a good reminder for all of us taking responsibility for his own words and actions in building toward a better future and his can-do attitude is inspiring and I hope this has been helpful today and that you'll come back next time. To hear more. In the meantime, look for more information on a website about Shelby's documentary. What killed Michael Brown and as we look for solutions to the issues we talked about you maybe wondering what can I do to improve my relationships. What does God's word say about reconciliation and unity. Our friend Dr. Tony Evans offers some helpful and practical biblical advice.
In his excellent book oneness embrace that will challenge us to find solutions. The book addresses some of the racial division in our country.
What we need to do to have godly unity and what it looks like when we get there, both as individuals and corporately as the church I think it's a must-read for all of us as believers and we want to send that book to you is our thank you for your support. When you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family again. That book by Dr. Evans oneness embrace reconciliation, the kingdom, and how we are stronger together, call one 800 K work-family 800-232-6459 or check the links in the episode's including more information about Shelby's documentary. What killed Michael Brown on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.
Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ here asking people to define the word appreciate it's like when something does happen, it's telling someone they did a good job Focus on the Family invite you to give a gift, appreciate when you give a non-cash gift of stock, bonds or mutual funds.
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