A couple of months ago Bishop T.D. Jakes was the featured guest on an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter. I like to hear motivating words about race relations and this exchange fit that bill with me.
Oprah: I looked around today; predominately African American audience, but pretty diverse for a church in the south because I remember years ago Reverend King said the most segregated place on earth on Sundays was church.
TDJ: I am trying to break down those walls and those barriers because we need each other, and we must move beyond that segregationist mentality. I don’t think it’s always brought about by racism either, in some cases it’s true. But in other causes I think it’s based up on comfort zones, where cultural comforts and biases as to what we are comfortable with, and as our country becomes more and more integrated it will move way beyond the black and white issue but it is something that we all have to work on – blacks and whites and browns and everybody. Because whether you run a business, a church or whatever it is if you are going to be relevant to your generation you have to embrace everybody and not people who look like you.
My great-great-grandmother was a slave. We try to make slavery sound like it was a thousand years ago when it was almost last week. I was a child growing up with my great-great-grandmother who was born a slave. We are just a few generations from slavery. It demeaned and destroyed every aspect of family and life and then we were freed – wonderful – we were freed. Now you’re a father; what’s a father? Now you should get married; what’s married? Now you should have a family; what’s a family? We’re still healing from that. That’s going to take generational healing. You don’t bounce back and become a father if you never saw a father. We are suffering from all of those ills. I call it the molestation of a nation. It create side effects: low self esteem, fears, self-hatred, cutting yourself, drive by shootings, murders, muggings, beating your children and then your children shooting each other in the street. There’s no value for life. All of those things without any therapy or any treatment – you’re talking about post traumatic stress disorder. This is our problem, this is our reality and we have to talk to each other and understand each other and work together to try to make it better.