A few weeks ago, I read a post that a friend of mine from college posted on his Facebook page about having “the talk” with his 10-year-old son. No, it wasn’t “that” talk…lol.
This friend is black, and the talk he had with his son was what he should do if he encounters a police officer. Among other things, the talk involved discussion that some police officers will see him as a threat just because of the color of his skin.
His son asked him how he could tell the difference between the good cops and the bad ones if he saw a police officer, and my friend’s response in part was that he couldn’t.
My friend told his son that he could go get him out of jail, but not out of the morgue.
In recent weeks I have heard a lot of people ask on social media and elsewhere what the Black Lives Matter protestors want. I think the short answer to that, in part, is to have a world where they don’t have to have these kinds of conversations with their children.
I have been thinking about writing this column for a few weeks now, but thought it best to wait a little while so emotions on all sides could cool down a little bit.
In recent weeks there have been a lot of things that I have found myself outraged about that have happened on all sides of the aisles of various issues.
First and foremost, I am outraged that in the 21st Century we still have people on all sides, who would hate someone else just because of the color of their skin, their race, their religion or their political affiliation.
It is ridiculous.
I am outraged that a man died after a police officer knelt with his knee on the man’s neck for over eight minutes after the man was secured in handcuffs on the ground and three other officers stood by and watched it happen.
The reality is that most police officers aren’t racists. Most of them got into the profession because they want to help people.
The problem is that many people – particularly those on the political left – aren’t going to listen to or acknowledge this fact while people of color continue to die with police officer involvement.
I am outraged that people have used incidents like George Floyd’s death as an excuse to vandalize, loot and torch businesses, memorials, statues and government offices. This isn’t protest. It too is a crime.
Still, most of the people taking to the streets to protest things they see as social injustices are doing so peacefully, but this is something that many on the political right aren’t going to listen to or acknowledge as long as looting, vandalism and arson continue.
There are several other things I am outraged about most notably the politics of extremism on all sides.
I am outraged that some people are using the inexcusable actions of some people on the other side of the political spectrum to somehow justify or mitigate the inexcusable actions of people on their side of the political spectrum.
Most people are good, decent, law abiding human beings that just want a good job, and a nice place to live where they can raise their families in peace. Period.
Get to know people. If you still hate them after you get to know them so be it, but don’t simply hate them because of superficial reasons.
I have friends that are black. I have friends that are white. None of them are perfect.
So how can we heal the great chasms that separate so many in this country?
I think a start is to realize that no one people, race or profession is all good or bad. I think we quit shouting at one another so much, and instead start listening to one another a little more to better understand others’ points of view.