I 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?