Healing the racial divide Pastor Miles McPherson
Mindset, Leadership
January 17, 2019

Healing the racial divide

Tony and Pastor Miles McPherson discuss the third option to healing the racial divide

Police shootings. Border protests. White nationalist rallies. There’s no denying that we live in a time of racial divide that only seems to be growing. And while it’s easy to direct our focus to these great chasms that separate us, this is when it becomes even more imperative to start focusing on what unites us.

In this episode of the Tony Robbins Podcast, Tony is sitting down with Pastor Miles McPherson of the Rock Church in San Diego. Pastor Miles brings a refreshingly different perspective to the discussion around race and race relations, asking the tough questions about how we ended up in this state of tension and turmoil, and what we can do on a psychological and practical level so that we can start healing the racial divide.

Who is Miles McPherson?

Pastor Miles McPherson leads tens of thousands of diverse individuals every month with the Rock Church of San Diego – a diverse congregation he calls “the United Nations.” He’s also a former NFL football player, a motivational speaker and author of The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation.

Miles grew up in a time of racial turmoil and injustice, and he credits sports for helping people from all walks of life come together because “you have a common goal.” He was drafted to the Los Angeles Rams in 1982 and then played for the San Diego Chargers for four years, but his success led to a life of excess. He was “living wild” until a few people on a plane shared the gospel with him. He immediately quit his addictions, became a youth pastor and eventually started the Rock Church, one of the most diverse churches in the area.

The third option

Miles has a unique perspective informed by his experiences growing up as a multi-racial individual who was on “both sides” of the race divide. He has a different way of looking at things: He wants to find what unites us, not what divides us. He believes we all want the same things. We want our children to be safe. We want to provide for our families.

Our current culture teaches us that we have to pick a side. But as Miles writes in his book and talks about in the podcast, there is a third option: to honor what we have in common. To seek out others’ opinions, even if we disagree. To have an open dialogue with a foundation of love, not hate.

In today’s climate, the third option can seem impossible, but all it takes is a conversation.

Asking the tough questions

As Tony often says, to get the right answers, you must ask the right questions. Only when we face our fears and talk honestly about our problems can we all find a way to be part of the solution.

Miles and Tony don’t shy away from the tough questions. Where does racism come from? Are we all biased in some capacity? How do we expose racial divides? Most importantly, how do we move beyond them? These are just some of the questions that Tony and Pastor Miles have in this honest conversation. Tune in now for more.

Tony Robbins & Pastor Miles McPherson

Tony Robbins & Pastor Miles McPherson

Perhaps it’s time for us to all take a step back and shift our focus – to stop focusing on what separates us, and start focusing on what we have in common so that we can all work together to build a more united world. Pastor Miles certainly thinks so, and many Americans would agree. We want to stop living in fear and start living in a more beautiful state. And it can all start with a conversation.


[00:04] Tony introduces the episode
[00:45] There’s so much pain – but what about solutions?
[01:15] Unconscious conditioning
[01:45] Pastor Miles history
[04:40] Learning about the gospel and giving up drugs
[06:25] Why Pastor Miles wrote this book
[07:25] Every race conversation is “us vs. them”
[08:00] We share a great deal of the same DNA
[08:45] Placing a priceless value on what we have in common
[09:20] The book gives people tools for clarity
[09:35] Pastor Miles definition of racism
[10:30] Racially offensive vs. racist
[12:10] Understanding there is much we don’t know, and don’t see
[12:40] “Grouping”
[15:20] The people who aren’t in the group feel ostracized
[15:40] Blind spots that stem from unawareness
[16:00] The power of asking
[16:25] Finding your blind spots
[18:00] How your thought patterns change when you’re around people like you
[19:20] It’s not about not being racist
[20:00] We all see color, that’s the truth
[20:20] Seeing color honors the past
[22:40] Celebrate and honor the beauty of color
[23:10] A belief is a poor substitute for experience
[23:40] Tony’s experience with Tookie Williams
[25:25] Color doesn’t matter – it’s the soul
[25:40] Re-labeling people
[26:10] The Golden Rule
[27:00] Labeling gives permission to treat someone as less than
[29:10] The importance of social narratives
[32:00] How people break past barriers
[35:20] Culture shapes our behaviors
[36:05] Contracts vs. covenants
[37:30] Learning how to unconditionally love
[38:25] The 5 Chairs story
[41:55] Picking sides means focusing on differences
[42:50] Taking away the idea of demonization
[44:10] Loving people who don’t share your beliefs
[44:40] Does intent matter?
[45:30] Learning to find balance
[47:10] Dehumanizing others prevents us from relating
[48:10] Pastor Miles’ goal for writing this book
[39:10] Practical steps to embrace others
[50:55] Giving people grace
[52:30] Prison reform
[53:30] Rod Carew
[55:15] The Third Option Challenge

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