August 28, 2015
T.D. Jakes Talks Megafest, His New Book, and Black Lives Matter
With Manpower being part of MegaFest’s beginning–and all that is going on with black males and the Black Lives Matter movement–how are you tackling this issue?
I have not stopped addressing it. I’ve been addressing it at a very high level. I did it at our Pastors Leadership Conference. I’m bringing in people like Michele Alexander that are talking about where we are in our criminal justice system, which is a real problem today. We have brought black religious leaders and white religious leaders to sit down and form a way forward, where the church as a whole can begin to speak out against injustices that we’re seeing in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other places around the country. I’m doing a press tour to have conversations with America about criminal justice, about the dire need we have to overhaul our criminal justice system. There’s a high level of incarcerations of blacks. Â When blacks and whites commit the same the crime, blacks are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites; they’re more than likely to stay incarcerated, unable to get out prison in a way that is absolutely alarming. And then when you consider the fact that there are more black men in jail than there were in slavery; we have to do something about that. And 70% of them are there for nonviolent crimes, drug crimes. If we could find a way to fully rehabilitate them instead of incarcerating. The stats are very clear that rehabilitation is actually more affordable than incarceration, and yet prison has turned into a big business.
We’re seeing a lot of protests and people in the streets, but where do we see the works that need to be done?
I think that one of the problems is that we have attacked our community and social problems from one perspective. I mean if you’re not out there marching or carrying a sign they don’t think you’re doing anything, when there are a lot of ways to send out messages that need to be sent out. If you’re marching I think it helps, if you’re meeting with CEOs or you’re sending out messages to Congress and to your senators, and the Department of Justice, I think it helps. We have to make sure that this is in the mouths of the politicians as we approach the national election. It is imperative that this conversation come up and they have to deal with it, so we know where their stand is on it. And we need to let them know that this is on our agenda, not just a black agenda, but America’s agenda. Anytime America doesn’t live up to its highest ideals [of justice and freedom] we can’t just pass this off and say that blacks are having a problem. America is having a problem and America needs to deal with it, because America takes our tax dollars. And I think we need to hit it with a multi-pronged approach. I’ve continued to do so and I would encourage our community to unite, and not always be so critical of each other because just because we’ve used different tools, it doesn’t mean that we’re not working on the same building.
You last book was on Instinct: The Power To Unleash Your Inborn Drive. Your latest book Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose is about discovering your God-designed destiny.
I recognize that all of my life I’ve always been guided and called to a higher purpose, even when I wanted to quit or felt unworthy, or failed miserably. I had a message that was pulling me beyond my limitations and beyond my comfort zone. The reason that I overcame my fears is because destiny called me passed them; it certainly wasn’t because I didn’t have them. And I think that for certain people who, at a younger age, have felt that similar pull, and for those who have not, I wrote the book to say that there is a destiny for you, there is a purpose for your life.
Now how does one identify what his or her destiny or purpose is? I know people always struggle with that, saying they’re not clear or sure if they’re destined to do something in particular.
I have learned that whatever you are going to be, you already are in seed form. The difference is seeds don’t look like trees, but they become trees. The child that’s an over-talker might be a communicator. The person who wants everything handled neatly and meticulously might be somebody that we need in administration. All of those things are little clues of their destiny, destiny leaves clues. There are clues in the DNA and early behavior. In the book I talk about how to detect those clues and how to walk in the steps of destiny. I said if instincts are metal, destiny is a magnet. So how do you allow the magnet to draw out the instincts that position you in the right place with the right people at the right times – that’s where destiny comes in. There are some things that are outside of who you are and what’s in you, it’s how you just are blessed to be in the right conversation, or sitting at the right water fountain, and all of a sudden you have a life-changing moment that you couldn’t totally take credit for by yourself, that’s what the book is all about.