We’re All In The Same Boat

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into or in one gathering, company, mass, place, or body: to call the people together. Into or in union, proximity, contact, or collision, as two or more things: to sew things together.

together

 

It’s Tuesday (Friday actually) again, and you know what that means… today is Truth Be Told Tuesday. Thanks for checking in.

Earlier this week I planned on writing about the inadequacy that surrounds how we communicate as individuals and as a society.

My reason for wanting to do so were twofold.

First, as I listened to a TEDx Talk, I had the great pleasure to listen to Julian Treasure present how we can speak more effectively so people will listen. I was enlightened by his strong but simple guidelines for poor communication, and was reminded of the power that strong verbal skills embody.

Treasure shared with the audience that the poorest forms of communication are the ones that have built their foundation upon gossip, judging, negativity, complaining- which is viral misery, making excuses, exaggeration, lying, and dogmatic speech which is the confusion between facts and opinions.

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Julian Treasure

The list is not exhaustive by any means but I do believe this is a tremendous starting point for beginning to communicate more effectively.

He went on to say that positive speech can easily be remembered by thinking of the acronym H.A.I.L – speech that is good and worthy is Honest, Authentic, full of Integrity and filled with Love.

Again, the list might not be exhaustive but it is a worthy starting point.

The second reason I wanted to speak on the topic of ineffective communication was Ferguson, MO.

And though both of those reasons were compelling in of themselves to support a written piece on poor versus good communication it was ultimately the article I read in the Huffington Post entitled: John Legend: ‘Black And Brown People Are Just Treated Differently In This Country’ by Sasha Bronner that spurred me to put pen to paper.

The All of Me Tour

John  Legend

In her short but informative piece singer and songwriter John Legend shared his thoughts on how people of color are treated in this country.

Below is an excerpt from Ms. Bronner’s article:

At a private performance Friday evening in Santa Monica, California, singer John Legend discussed the upheaval in Ferguson, bluntly. “Black and brown people are just treated differently in this country,” he said to a room of about 150 people.
“One of our original sins in this country has been racism and slavery. And we still haven’t figured out how to solve that problem,” Legend said during an on-stage discussion with KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley in between sets. Given the news of this week, it’s no surprise that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson quickly came into the conversation.
“We’ve given our police these military-style weapons, and you know, it’s a mess,” Legend continued. “But this is not new. The weapons are only exacerbating it. But this was happening with Bull Connor in the ’60s, this was happening with lynchings well before the ’60s, where there were all kinds of extralegal ways for black folks to get killed and for black bodies to not be valued in this country.”
Legend noted that even today, unarmed black men are shot on a regular basis. “It’s like every 28 hours — some cop or vigilante kills an unarmed black man. It just shows you that we still have a long way to go. We could do better. And hopefully we will.”

After I read the article I found myself agreeing with Mr. Legend.

I agree with John Legend; “Black & Brown” people are treated differently. Black people are elected the President of the United States; they’re elected U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives. They are CEO’s and Governors. They’re elected as city council members and hired as college/professional coaches. Black people run non-profit organizations and are presidents at some of the finest college and financial institutions in America. Black people are authors, ship captains, and military leaders. Black people are United State Attorney Generals and scientists.

They’re even Grammy award wining singers and artists.

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 One Question: Do you think Jay-Z and Beyonce have worked hard to get where they are today?

Legend is right “Black people” are treated different when they work hard, seek excellence, and pursue their dreams. Black people are also treated different than other law-abiding citizens when they break the law, thumb their nose up to authority, and blame everyone else for their problems.

My Dad had some strong comments towards me over 10 years ago that he shared with my mother when my mother felt bad for the circumstances I found myself in- circumstances that I created. He said: “Shawn will have more when he wants more.”

My Dad was right.

Black people who have wanted more have got more because they “wanted” it in away that incorporated sacrifice, hard work, and persistence. Ask our current President and the 1st Lady how good America has been to them? Ask them if their persistence, hard work, and sacrifice paid off?

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Our Country’s First Family

But for black people, or any people for that matter, that are not willing to work hard, abide by the LAW, and choose not to relentlessly pursue their dreams while shattering the dreams of others via senseless crimes and violence then you will get what you get, and yes you will be treated differently.

YES John Legend “Black & Brown,” White, and Latino’s are treated differently and it’s all based upon the decisions they make and the actions they choose to carry out.

Mr. Legend, I love your music and I respect your right to have an opinion but you played the wrong note on this one. Don’t fall prey to the victimhood rhetoric. Remember Mr. Legend, America has been really good to you.

Ask yourself, has our country treated you different? Have we treated you poorly?

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Sting: TEDx Talk

Finally, as I listened to Sting during another TEDx Talk entitled; “How I Started Writing Songs Again” he shared with us that as he grew up in a shipyard where his father worked that he decided he wanted more for his life.

Sting’s dreams were bigger than his surroundings and he was willing to do anything to see them come to fruition.

See when a big ship were launched out into the sea they would invite dignitaries from London to make a speech, crack a bottle of champagne over the bow, and launch it down the slipway into the river and out to the sea.

And as fate would have it during one of those shipyard events Sting was able to see Queen Mother in a black Rolls Royce and as the two made eye contact he said he was changed forever:

Inside the Rolls-Royce is the Queen Mother. This is a big deal.So the procession is moving at a stately pace down my street,and as it approaches my house, I start to wave my flag vigorously,and there is the Queen Mother.I see her, and she seems to see me. She acknowledges me. She waves, and she smiles. And I wave my flag even more vigorously.

 

We’re having a moment, me and the Queen Mother.

 

She’s acknowledged me. And then she’s gone.

 

Well, I wasn’t cured of anything.It was the opposite, actually.I was infected. I was infected with an idea.I don’t belong in this street. I don’t want to live in that house. I don’t want to end up in that shipyard. I want to be in that car.I want a bigger life. I want a life beyond this town. I want a life that’s out of the ordinary. It’s my right. It’s my right as much as hers.

 

And so here I am at TED, I suppose to tell that story.”

What a story. He became infected with the desire to change the direction of his life.

But with all that it was his words at the end of his talk that really got my attention. He said this: “The fact is, whether you’re a rock star or whether you’re a welder in a shipyard, or a tribesman in the upper Amazon, or the queen of England, at the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat.”

There it is, we’re all in the same boat.

No matter if you have nothing or you have everything this world has to offer. Whether you live in Ferguson, MO. or just fly over Ferguson we all entertain dreams, hopes, and desires. We all want what is best for our children- at least most of us do. We all want good health, good fortune, and strong finances. We all want some form of success, and each one us has experienced some form of pain. We all want to be liked and respected, and dare I say we all want to be heard.

We’re all in the same boat and each one us will decide if the ship that is called the United States of America is going to sink into the dark abyss of racial tension, violence, and hatred or if our ship will ride high on the waves of harmony, acceptance, and love.

Are people treated different? You bet. Some people are treated different because the color of their skin or their religious beliefs, some people are treated different because who there married to, because they can sing, play basketball or throw a football but in the end people who chose to abide by the law, chase their dreams, and work hard to get ahead are not negatively targeted by the police or society in a whole.

Each individual plays a strong hand in how he or she is treated by society at large. 99.9% is my choice how I’m going to be treated.

We all have different situations we experience on a daily basis, different perspectives, and different opportunities but in the end we’re all on the same boat trying to get to dry land.

Martin Luther King said it best when he said these words; “We may have all come here on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

No truer words have ever been spoken.

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John 1:3

The only time anyone is treated different is when one decides they don’t want to be on the ship any longer and begin to behave in a manner that puts others at risk and jeopardizes another’s livelihood.

Overwhelmingly you’re treated differently when your behavior can cause the ship to sink. Our country needs all hands on deck if were going to move forward.

Everyone needs to get on the same page with this because we’re all in this together and whether we want to admit it or not our boat is starting to take on water.

Sadly, we all know what comes after that.

That is my Truth Be Told for Tuesday August 19, 2014. (tbtt #63)

 

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Let’s Get Lifted . John Legend
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