Refuse to Meet Hate at the Door

It is my turn to speak out against the recent death of George Floyd and many other innocent black men, but one thing you must know first is that I refuse to meet hate at the door. For those who know me, you know that I already have a family background riddled with narrow-minded thinking. For those who don’t know me, take a peek at this TEDx talk to learn a little more.

The officer who killed George Floyd deserves to pay the price for taking his life. What he did was against the law and against morality. He showed a total disregard for human life. Justice must be served.

What is frustrating me now is how a few protesters are ruining everything for the bunch. I went to college for political science and then graduated from law school.  I believe in the political process. I vote in elections, and I believe in the right to peaceful protest.

I have four children, three of whom are future black men. Frankly, I am afraid for them. For years now, my husband and I coach them on the “right” way to dress, speak, walk,  and how to interact with law enforcement.

I am not naive. I was born into a family that hid me from their friends because I am black.  Some might think that I should be angry about that. Because I believe in grace and forgiveness, I was able to thrive past that truth.

I am more angry about what continues to happen to black men, going on runs, walking down the street, resting in their homes.

Through it all, though, I refuse to meet hate at the door.

My mom taught me to never use the word, “hate” and, instead, use “dislike”, because hate is a very strong word. and it elicits negative thoughts and emotions that can cloud our judgement.  She also told me that we should always take the higher ground, never stoop to someone else’s level, and to judge people by the content of their character. These teachings walk with me every day.

What teachings are walking with you? What teachings were walking with the officer responsible for George Floyd’s death?

George’s tragic death is a reminder for us all of how much we disregard human life and dignity, how we suffer from a lack of empathy for our fellow humans, and how much people hold negative perceptions of people with brown skin.

I know that last one all too well, but no matter what: I refuse to meet hate at the door.

I love my enemies and those who look down on me. Why? Because I know that much of how we show up is the filter we brought from our past. Ignorance is the fuel for racism and hatred. I know better. I will not let hate win the day!

What that officer did to George Floyd is a tragedy. It’s a scary reality for black men and their families. This reality is in our schools, our workplaces, and in our government.

I learned long ago that we are all fallible. We are all imperfect, but we must seek justice for the wronged and steer clear of hatred.

Let’s continue with peaceful protest. Let’s show up to the polls to vote in the primary and general elections. Let’s run for public offices. Let’s teach in our schools. Let’s make sure that we raise our children to respect human life, to believe in justice, and to forgive more than we remain angry.

I refuse to meet hatred at the door because we have a choice to step outside of anger and into a place of prayer, peace, and unity. We choose how we show up.

I am not a black man, but I am raising three future black men. I pray that when they grow up, they refuse to meet hate at the door.

Heather Younger
Heather Youngerhttps://customerfanatix.com/
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization’s’ dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at CustomerFanatix.com, as well as articles in the Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

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  1. Thank you Heather for this well-expressed view, seriously, I mean it. Being a retired Law Enforcement officer who dealt with much of the Rodney King era, I can tell you from personal experience, that each person I came in contact with color, I treated as a human being, and did not look at him or her as a threat to me. What I took into account for anyone I encountered was their mental state, their demeanor, the respect they deserved, and never once did I feel a sense of racism in my body. My issues were with the parents of these young kids coming into a society that was taught hate, and like it or not, there are just too many being raised with the hate agenda. I have several friends who are black, male, and female, and we are all on the same page that enough is enough. Kids are not learning history the way it should be taught and I certainly don’t think that having a curriculum teaching White Superiority is healthy. Respect you deeply for your words.

  2. Heather, What a powerful piece that resonates completely with my heart and values. I also was infused with the values of cultivating the content of your character by my father, who worked for almost his entire life for racial and social justice. Deepening our commitment to treat every human being with respect and dignity, to see human life as precious, to confront our own (us vs them thinking-arrogance and shame-entitlement and unworthiness) continues to be very important work as we can shift inside ourselves, model and teach the deeper values more consistently for our children, and stand for a world where human beings can flourish in peace and safety. Thank you for the light you are in our world. Thank you for your passionate stand to not meet hate at the door and to be an example of courage, honesty, integrity, and compassion. I appreciate you and resonate completely with your message.

  3. In a democratic state, human rights must be understood and accepted by everyone, not only on a theoretical but also on a practical level. Everyone must be aware of the threat that racism poses to the individual and to society as a whole – a serious threat! And everyone must know what it means to be a victim of racial discrimination and what can be done concretely to combat racism. These are efforts that must involve everyone, authorities, public administration, political leaders at all levels and representatives of the economic, educational and cultural world. To be effective, the commitment against racism must be manifested in the daily and consistent refusal of any form of discrimination.

      • I am grateful to you who proposed your point of view on the matter.
        Unfortunately, it is not appropriate for me to judge what is happening in another country, especially to focus on what I believe are the underlying causes from which such events arise.
        I share your concerns and it fills me with sadness to know that a country that I love, I have visited often, I follow its events with great interest, has yet to live moments like these.
        In reality, racism, in various forms, is present in many parts of the world and I believe that the promises of changes in behaviors and culture have profound reasons, not least that of a widespread lack of a ruling class that has developed values on these particular aspects.

  4. You have expressed well the guidelines for peace-directed living, Heather. I loved this goal for all people. ” Let’s make sure that we raise our children to respect human life, to believe in justice, and to forgive more than we remain angry.” Yes, let’s do that always.

  5. Thank you for writing this piece, Heather, and for sharing your heart, mind, and soul with us. This topic is not an easy one by any means, and I appreciate the awareness and insight you bring to it. I have a hard time wrapping my head around so much of what is going on, and often don’t know what to say or how to feel. But sad seems to be recurring. However, when I read this piece and reflect upon your TedX talk, I think of hope. Thank you for that. We need more of your light in this world.

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