I posted on Facebook a couple of days ago about the shooting of a Black man in Tulsa by a White officer. The video of the situation looked bad. Even after discussion and reflection, while I have a greater understanding of what Police Officers walk into and up on every day, I still think “that” situation in Tulsa at the very least does not look good. It’s sad all the way around.
I’m waking today thinking of mistakes we make in trying to interpret race, police and life.
The most glaring mistake we all make right now is this: we make it about taking sides.
Just because I comment on one situation where I question the Police handling of a situation, that doesn’t mean I am anti Police. Or support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
And just because I don’t support the Black Lives Matter Movement doesn’t mean I don’t believe in justice. I do believe in justice.
I greatly value the Police, of course. Are there issues? Of course there are issues. Just like the military there are some who don’t handle situations correctly. And they have their own justice system inside, and sometimes not.
I greatly value the issue Blacks face here in the US. Is there history? Yes of course. Are all White people racist? No. Of course not. Are all Black people anti White? No. Of course not. Are Blacks disenfranchised? In some ways yes. Of course. Is there White Privilege? Of course! And the stakes are higher for Black people. Why?
- They are 10-12% of the population.
- They have baggage from the 1800s slavery and Civil Rights Movement.
- Their areas in the inner cities are dangerous and violent.
Blacks don’t need hand outs. They need a hand up at times. And I think that is what most are saying.
We often define a person’s position by what video he/she “likes” or “comments” on. We wage position wars by video. I’ve done it. I’m not saying it’s all wrong. It’s the way we communicate now. But we need to be careful not to define someone by what the culture shoves us into. The world segments. I don’t segment. I think it’s a mistake. And I’ve lost friends who think I have to fall into a “category.” Or I didn’t fit into theirs because of one statement or comment. Or they don’t fit mine.
We must not define each other by one incident. I look for patterns in a person’s life. If there are patterns, then I can make a pretty good decision.
I wonder how we would have responded if the officer in Tulsa had been Black? Someone would say, “well, it would have been like Charlotte.” We don’t know that actually. Tulsa is Tulsa. Charlotte is Charlotte. Would White culture look at it different? If the officer in Tulsa was Black, would the Black community look at the Tulsa situation different? We don’t know. Whites are sometime in a hard place. They are the majority. It’s all their fault is the claim, but that is not true.
The situation is complex. Being a person who cares for all cultures I’m empathetic to Blacks and Police. We ask the Police to police our streets and cities, yet everywhere can be a war zone these days. I could never be an officer. It’s asking too much. They have to play to rules. In the Army, the rules were different. I’m very thankful for our Police officers. It’s the best system in the world that has the population the US has.
The situation is complex. Yet let’s keep having the courage to risk safety in conversations. It’s a path forward. Whites, Blacks don’t understand each other because they don’t talk these issues with civility. We talk at the worst of times. And our politicians chose politics of governing rather than healing the wound of a nation.
I’m not judging anyone based on what side they are on. That is a mistake. Let’s unify where possible and move forward.
What do you think about what I am saying?