***This blog should have been published a long time ago. It was not. I am hitting publish now, even though it may be older news.
There have been many discussions recently about race relations and authority figures. Some of us have experience with one side or another, but most of us are bystanders in a world of unrest. It would appear there are two sides. You're either with us or against us, and by this, I mean whichever group you sympathize with most fully. It seems neither side wants you to understand the other. There is the issue. No one desires to believe they are similar to the other side.
I want you to think for a minute about the minority side-- the faction that believes they are wearing a target for the color of their skin. I want you to think about what the world has taught them and their ancestors. Beginning in 1619 Africans were brought to this country for animalistic reasons. We (America) didn't want people. We wanted an animal to work the fields, do our dirty work, and not talk back when told to. We didn't want humans we wanted a silent workforce too stupid to expect anything better. These savages didn't live the way we did so they must be subhuman (whatever that means). So we took these savages by any means necessary-- trickery, lies, or just plain kidnapping.
Many of you may be saying, "But that ended in 1863, so these guys need to get over it." Well, the end of slavery and the end of the civil war ushered in the Jim Crow era. It may have been illegal to own another person, but it was also illegal for those who had been owned to do much of anything. A Black man could be accused of sexual assault for looking at a White woman, but a White man could pretty much rape a Black woman in the center of town, and that was okay. If you think that has changed, I would like to offer two names. Darryl Hunt and Brock Turner.
These savages were criminals. No way could they be trusted to behave humanly. Eventually, we ushered in the rights movements such as the Civil Rights movement in the 60s and the Women's movements either through suffrage or women's liberation. Rosa Parks refused to give up a bus seat. I wonder what would happen today should a "Rosa Parks" refuse an order of an officer. Would she be shot? It would seem so.
Any time these families have relied on authority, they have been let down. The slaves were treated (and counted in government) as less than human. The officers then arrested them for whatever could be imagined in a racist society. Next came Civil Rights movements, where peaceful protestors such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were arrested, again by officers sworn to uphold the law. Now, we have a Black president. Shouldn't that stop these race issues? No, I think that is part of what has exacerbated them. I am proud that, in my lifetime, we have had an African American President as well as will very likely see a female one (even if it isn't Hillary, I don't think it will be long). However, many generations have been taught fear of the unknown and resistance to change. The president has always had a certain look-- skin tone. People aren't sure how to deal with change. It's an us or them society these days. Bigots will always happen. This president has helped us to find the closet racists. What about the other side???
Let's think about what White America has been taught over the centuries. Well, for many years, people were taught that these were Savages. They were considered to be subhuman. Those who were near human were simple minded and dense. During the Jim Crow era, Blacks wanted to take over, steal the land and women from hard working Whites. In the 60s it was okay to be free but why intermingle? Heaven forbid they want a White man's education. They were simple stupid folk destined to be drivers, cooks, and manual laborers. The occasional well-educated Black man was met with resistance because his White counterpart was taught to fear him.
In the Antebellum South, authority figures only dealt with the slaves or any Black person if they were not falling in line with their masters or bosses (for the free). Then during Jim Crow, they were repeatedly taught to seek out the subhuman scum before he or she could infect the "right" way of life. Only resistance. During the Civil Rights movement, "they" were coming to take all that was good and holy. They no longer knew their place, and the unknown was fearful.
Authority figures had never dealt with the law abiding citizen. What he had known was fear of the unknown.
50 years separates us from the Civil Rights Movement to now. Why hasn't anything changed? Why is it getting worse? In the Civil Rights Era, things were to be equal finally. No one had more right than anyone else. While this may be true on paper, there were still quite a few people who were unhappy with the way "things" were taken from them, so they found ways only to promote certain people. It seems a little more acceptable these days to do this with gender relations. It's a boys club. The men make the rules, and the little women follow them. For example, a woman as a Firefighter. She is taken less seriously than her male counterparts and told to let the big boys handle it. This is because we are taught from a very early age that women are the fairer sex. Women cannot perform unrefined jobs. The same happens with race.
From an early age, groups are taught their lot in life. This group with this shade of skin belongs here. And this group belongs here. And God forbid the tween shall meet. I never cared about skin color or gender or any other arbitrary condition, but my surroundings did. I remember when I was in high school I was close with a Black male. Because we hung out and talked, a rumor was started that we were dating. For some people, that believed the story that was just scandalous. How could the White girl at stereotypical southern white high school date a Black guy??? Well, we weren't dating. I actually never have dated a Black guy. I am not at all opposed; I just never did. Why would it matter? Well, I was taught, through my surroundings that "they" were dangerous. "They" would hurt me. Lucky for me, I am stubborn and don't believe you until I experience it for myself. I can tell you this from my personal experience. No one race has hurt me more than another. It's not race. It's an individual. Somewhere, someone decided that White girls shouldn't date Black dudes. Um, whatever.
Well, cops were taught these same things and more. Now they go into these Black neighborhoods full of people who have never been helped by the Cop and have often been hurt, and there is palpable tension. If you hit a man often enough eventually he will fight back. For almost 400 years Blacks have been abused by White society in America. They are angry. Cops are taught these people need to be kept in their places. They aren't to rise up against you. If they try, it is very dangerous, and you must fight back.
For many generations, cops have been doing the hitting because they have been taught to fear the savages through societal messages. Everyone is afraid. Everyone is tired. It is coming to a head.
Think about it this way. Think of non-Whites as a battered woman or child. I use woman or child because men who are battered are rarely taken seriously. But I digress. Anyway, that woman or child has always known an abuser, a man. The woman was abused as a child by her father, grew up and was abused by every man she met. She never knew a gentle hand. The kid was abused, sent to foster care, abused some more, etc. Abuse is all either of them have known. Imagine the police are the men in this scenario. No one would dare say that all men are abusers, but some are. The battered people are non-Whites. The only experiences the damaged people have with men is abuse. How trusting do you think these oppressed people are going to be with men?
The only interaction many Blacks have with officers is adverse. They only want to hurt or kill them. How easy do you think it will be to trust a good cop? How easy will it be for the battered woman or child to trust a man? What about a good guy? Now, imagine that the cop only hears from other cops how these broken people are. They are stupid; they lie; they are plotting to kill you; they are devious. Now imagine the abused women and children ban together. How long before they begin to fight back? They fear for their lives. These men are the source of their strife and struggle. How long before the rage builds to the point that they can only see the abusive males? How long before they accuse every man of being bad? How long before every man is fed up? How long before every man is afraid for his life due to the rage?
These aren't just men, nor are they damaged-women. These are Blacks tired of being targets. These are cops tired of being scapegoats and accused. These are living breathing people without a way out. The most dangerous kind. Nothing left to lose. Neither side is all right. Neither side is all wrong. And neither party wants to work it out with the other because they are scared. Who can blame them? Each side has been fed lies and deceit about the other. This has sparked misguided and life-altering actions. Do I condone the riots? No. Do I get it? Yes. Do I condone the trigger finger??? NO!!! But I get the fear that causes it. We won't get far this way, but I get it. I get why both sides are angry.
I cannot fix these issues. I can pray. I can hope. I can ask leaders of both sides to learn to open dialogue. This is my invitation to do that. Stop. Listen. Learn. Retrain yourself to trust the other side. Just a little. Learn that not all cops are bad. Not all Blacks are either. Foster change. Be that change. Tell me what I can do to be the change.
Am I okay with what is going on in Charlotte? Absolutely not. Am I okay with unarmed men being targeted and shot? Absolutely not! I will say that I am enraged by the thought of it. Am I saying this incident or that was an unarmed man being shot? No, but some of them are. Period. People have become so engrossed in their fear and have grown so trigger-happy when it comes to defense, they forget another human is on the other end of the bullet. Please stop, pray, talk, and love.