I was getting my day started the other morning when I caught a bit of what now passes as news. As an author that relies on people to not absolutely hate him, and also being aware that everything I say can be construed or twisted into anything other people may want it to be, I debated this post. After a while, I had talked myself out of it. Then I realized that this is part of the problem. If it is a touchy subject…we can’t talk about it. Only, if we never talk about it, how are we ever going to make any progress?
So, have you guessed my topic? Did you say race? Ding-ding! We have a winner.
I am going to try and be as delicate as possible, but I already know that no matter what I say, it is going to rub somebody wrong. The first thing I will say is that as a white male, I really have nothing to compare the struggles that people who are anything other than a white male to in the scheme of things. However, and this is where I am going to introduce the first part of what might be a continuing piece depending on the vitriol that today’s post incites.
I’ve been pulled over. Simple enough. Only, it was nothing more than the usual apprehension for me. I didn’t have to worry about anything other than the fact that I’d been going about 10 miles per hour too fast. I am not so ignorant to believe that profiling does not happen. Just as in anything, there will always be extremes. Also, I have some experience with people in the correctional environment to know that there are some who think their position makes them 10 feet tall, bullet proof, and above the rules. They start to think their position gives them the right to treat others like crap. However, there are more good than bad. That is my experience.
You don’t hear about the good. That isn’t news. That does not rope in viewers. To add to that point, you seldom hear more than the initial report when somebody in law enforcement is killed in the line of duty. Do you see where this is going? Well, now is the time to stop reading if you think you are about to get mad.
First off, yes, once again I am going to say that there are some bad eggs out there. There are some bad cops who have done terrible things to unarmed citizens. More specifically, to unarmed African-American citizens. And yes, there is a long history that I can’t begin to understand as a middle-class white male. However, I think it is now going to an extreme where the police are being hammered at every turn. When a suspect is armed and refuses to set down a weapon and then advances…sorry, but you are going to be shot. Color is not part of that equation.
We need to talk to each other. I need my African-American friends to tell me how they feel. I want to hear. But I want to be able to ask them questions. I would probably start with something simple like reversing a statement made by an African-American and asking why it would be okay for something to be said directed one way, but not the other. I want to do it in an open and honest way where perhaps some of the things I wonder about can be talked over. I know I am not going to fix the racial issues in this country (and neither is a “very special episode” of the TV sitcom Black-ish). But if we can’t talk about it openly with each other, it will never get better. We can’t leave it to the politicians, and we certainly can’t leave it to television comedies. This has to come from us.
Is racism going to go away? Nope. Neither is reverse racism. But we can lessen the extent if only we could talk to each other. Any takers? Let’s start talking.