LISTEN: How to Respond to Stereotypes (The Man in the Mirror #16 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

This podcast is directed to all young people, but primarily to young black men, young black women, and their parents. We are thankful for all the people who are standing up for justice and racial equality. But this podcast is about the man in the mirror. What are you doing for the glory of God, to make life better for others, for your family, and for yourself? This podcast is about living life in such a way that it cuts back on the chance of being harassed or killed by the authorities or anyone else and helps you to live the good life of peace and joy.

Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

In our last episode, we talked about why we have stereotypes, how we gain stereotypes, and how stereotypes can be used for good or bad. When people speak about stereotypes today, they are most often speaking in a negative manner. Commentators, activists, and pundits tell us that stereotypes ought to be done away with. However, the reality is that stereotypes are not going anywhere anytime soon. So, for the time being, we have to learn how to deal with them, and that is what I want to talk to you about today.

Some people, even some Christians, will often judge you based on a negative perception they have about young people of color in general. They may see young people of color as lazy, disinterested in school, and good candidates for a criminal lifestyle. The first thing you should remember about this is that it is wrong to judge people by their appearance. Throughout His Word, God makes clear that He judges people by their hearts. First Chronicles 28:9 says, “For the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.” In John 7:24 Jesus Christ says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” If we are to be like Christ, we must not judge people by their skin color, the clothes they wear, or other physical attributes. Of course, getting to know someone’s heart is something that takes time, work, and often stepping outside of our own comfort zones — and that is the reason why many people do not do it.

So, what do you do when you encounter a person who chooses to judge you based on a negative general perception of people like you.

1. Do not respond negatively. If you believe that someone’s actions toward you are racist, that does not give you a license to become belligerent or combative. The Bible tells us not to ‘render evil for evil, or insult for insult.’ Like Jesus did when He was falsely accused, you can show a spirit of Christlikeness when you respond positively to those who treat you in a negative manner. In most cases, if you respond negatively, that will only make matters worse.

2. Strive to prove that the negative perception is wrong about you. You cannot change what others think about you overnight, but you can change what they think about you over time. If someone assumes you are lazy, prove them wrong by being a hard worker. If someone assumes you do not care about education, prove them wrong by being attentive to your studies. If someone assumes you will be engaged in criminal activity, prove them wrong by never coming close to doing anything illegal. Protesting a stereotype that others may have about you is fine, but if you really want to change people’s hearts and minds, your actions will truly speak louder than your words.

3. Understand that it will take time for things to change. A person’s long-held beliefs will not change overnight. In fact, you may never get the benefit of the doubt from your teachers, employers, police, or others in authority over you. However, if you faithfully strive to prove the perception wrong, you will inevitably make things better for the young people of color who will come behind you. When another young person applies for a job, or walks into a store, or enrolls in college, the people who are in authority will have been informed by your actions that not all people fit into the stereotype in their mind, and thus they may be moved to truly give that person a fair chance. If that happens because of your actions, then you have won a victory not only for yourself but for others.

– – – – – –

Now, in closing, in order to be saved — in order to get right with God — you cannot look at the man in the mirror, but the Man Christ Jesus. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can have a home in Heaven. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless you.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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