Words Can No Longer Describe

tt128.jpgI have reached a point where words can no longer describe my frustration and anger at the present situation we find our country in with regards to interactions between the police and people of color. Unfortunately we are once again forced to face the clear and present understanding of the divisions that remain in our country between law enforcement and predominately minority communities. The idea that these interactions are turning into deadly encounters should frighten us all regardless of your race, class or socioeconomic condition. 

Much has been made of late by the ongoing protests by athletes during the national anthem. Raising our collective voices in protest of injustice has always been a vital tool towards enacting social change. Furthermore, as a nation born out of rebellion and protest, and founded on the bedrock principle that free speech should never be abridged by the government under almost any circumstance, I support those who choose to exercise their rights to protest what is going on. However, when these protests turn violent, as we are seeing currently in Charlotte and have seen in other venues across our country, it undermines the change that it seeks to achieve. That said, let me unequivocally state that I do not support the manner in which these protests are occurring. I recognize that protesting comes in many forms, but I do not believe that disrespecting our country's national anthem is appropriate. 

However, when we focus more on the manner of the protest rather than on the underlying issues that have fostered those constitutionally-protected protests, we allow those who gain from keeping us all in a constant state of agitation to keep "winning". We as a people have to understand that for many of us our challenges and issues are the same regardless of our color. The socioeconomic warfare that has been allowed to divide and conquer us throughout our country's history has kept us from uniting to demand an America that lives up to its founding principles. 

Our republic is imperfect, but it can be fixed. That fix will only occur if "We The People" demand that it does. It means having tough conversations about our latent and oftentimes not so latent prejudices towards each other. It means having the courage to stand up to those elements in our society (the ones who look like us and the ones who don't) who tear apart our communities with their reckless behavior and blatant disregard for human life. It also means looking inward at ourselves and realizing that we are a part of the problem every time we don't check a friend or stranger who makes an off-color remark, or continue to support an industry or product that sows the seeds of this biasness. Yes, this task is great...and yes we may lose friends and supporters along the way....and yes it will be hard...but our nation and all that we care about in it are worth it.

Here are three pieces that I have written in the past on this topic that I find to be still relevant today. I hope you will as well. That's my take. What's yours?


Showing 6 reactions

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  • commented 2016-09-24 00:12:39 -0400
    Dear Assemblyman Singleton, it is so hard I was brought up it a home where no one was better than any one else. Now I have a family that a worry about a lot. My grandson is African-American, my granddaughter is White and African-American. Both of them have serious relationships with White people. My son is White and involved with lovely women who is African-American and White. One other thing I have a nephew who a detective in North Jersey. So in todays world I have a lot to worry about. I just see that so many people want to make this world into a them and us world. my second and I moved my son when he was 6 into Willingboro. So grew up in a town where no matter what racial make-up he came across in the world he had already been friends with those people in the Boro. I lived in a town in North Jersey Kearny with no Black people. After high school I spent year in NYC the New York Foundling Hospital. This world has so worried. The world treats my grandchildren so different how do I handle that? What do I do about the look we get on the street when we are together?
  • commented 2016-09-23 09:07:19 -0400
    Burlington Township PD held a forum some weeks back that I only found out about after it happened. Being a good police officer is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but no citizen should live in fear and some now grow up in fear because of their appearance, which is heart breaking. We need to start this discussion now—with respect, understanding and accountability to begin addressing the terrible and untenable situation we’re in.
  • commented 2016-09-22 22:32:54 -0400
    Mr. Gilanelli, your comments illustrate why this discussion on race is desperately needed. You are factually innacurate on some points and overly generalizing to the point of absurdity on others. I am working with some other community leaders to try and put together a forum on race to discuss this issue candidly. I sincerely hope you can attend.
  • commented 2016-09-22 15:19:56 -0400
    I don’t know about the others, but Michael Brown was a teenage thug. A short time after committing a strong arm robbery, Brown tried to take the officer’s gun and probably would have shot the cop.

    I’m tired about continuing to hear/read the phrase; White cop shoots unarmed black teen. The cop shot Brown in self defense. Also, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice found that Brown never raised his arms and the so called eye witness recanted her testimony. But this fact doesn’t seem to matter to the Black community nor to the disingenuous liberal media.

    As for Trayvon Martin, he was shot when he attacked Zimmerman.

    Tamir Rice pointed a gun at the cop.

    Sandra Bland committed suicide in her cell.

    Korryn Gaines pointed a shotgun at police.

    Keith Scott had a gun.

    I too am saddened and disappointed when an unarmed person is shot by a cop. However, it seems the facts in these cases didn’t seem to keep you from posting these photos as if they were all reincarnations of Mother Theresa.

    What you really should be calling for is a stop to the looting and burning caused by rioters, many who don’t even live in those cities, but are just looking to cause damage and steal.

    You were elected to represent all the people regardless of color; I suggest you start doing this instead of fanning the embers of racism.
  • commented 2016-09-22 14:55:28 -0400
    Troy, you are correct that this violence should trouble all of us regardless of race and socioeconomic status. When any members of our society are mistreated, exploited, discriminated against or otherwise kept down, that threatens and demeans all of us and diminishes the world we all live in.
  • commented 2016-09-22 14:36:12 -0400
    Happy to participate in any dialogue on this important topic that you organize. We have to be able to talk to one another. I would invite the Riverton Police Chief. He is an example of someone in the law enforcement who goes the extra mile to engage in community outreach and dialogue.