My friends, this has been an incredibly hard few months for our country. From lockdowns to police brutality to rioting in the streets… the outlook can be seen as very dark for our country right now.
We are being separated by politicians, the mainstream media, and social media sites.
These institutions make their money and generate power by driving fences into the ground between Americans that wouldn’t normally want a fence there. The rhetoric is vehement and vile from “professional” commentators and impromptu social movement leaders. Black Lives indeed matter. They have always mattered. They will always matter.
Support for this movement comes from a good place, they want to address and end the discriminations that still very much exist in this country. But saying that all white people are racist no matter their circumstance or background is just wrong. It alienates and drives further wedges between people. Brother Malcolm X and MLK Jr. accepted the help and assistance from white people to drive their movements forward. They understood that an ally to their cause could come in the form of any skin color.
There is no monopoly on changing things for the better.
Demanding repentance from white people for actions of another will not bring the masses along with us. This is not a white vs. black problem though that can be a problem in individual instances. This is a bad cop vs. citizens’ problem. George Floyd was the victim of police brutality plain and simple. I don’t care what drugs were or weren’t in his system. I don’t care what his attitude towards the cops were. I don’t care about any previous encounters with law enforcement. We saw a murder plain and simple in that video. Breonna Taylor was the victim of police incompetence and a horrible no-knock raid that was poorly planned and executed. I could sit here and discuss the multitudes of police brutality instances targeting black people. But don’t forget about David Dorn, the black former police chief of St. Louis.
He was shot in the back of the head defending a friend’s business during the looting. He was a black man killed by another black man. Black Lives Matter don’t want to talk about him. They only want to talk about non-police black lives… and that is just wrong. You can’t pick and choose which black lives matter. ALL black lives matter. Every single damn one. A cop or a priest. An artist or a truck driver. ALL. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.
We can overcome this. Violence is not the answer.
Statistically, it has been proven that non-violent protests result in longer-lasting changes to the system. Defunding the police is not the answer either. That will only hurt poor and minority neighborhoods the most. Of course, there must be police reform and it must happen now. But most police see the problems very clearly. I’ve seen many videos of police officers and captains calling the George Floyd death what it was, murder.
Do you want to defund the good cops as well?
That is the definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and it will only hurt those most vulnerable. We have a long way to go and change won’t happen overnight. In fact, we may not see the fruits of our labor in our lifetimes. It may take decades or generations but small improvements are still improvements. Our ultra-connected world of phone cameras and CCTV is making it harder and harder to get away with the brutality we have seen now and in the past. Officers are charged. Maybe not as quickly as we want but they are charged. They may not get the sentences they deserve but they are sentenced. Good luck getting another job when the entire country saw you murder a man in the street or stood there and watch a man be murdered by a fellow police officer. Their lives are and should be ruined. But instead of violence and looting, paint a mural for Floyd.
Make a sculpture of Dorn. Start a community garden in Breonnas name to feed those who are hungry. Volunteer in the name of Filando Castillo at the food bank. These reminders and actions are our path forward. We are far from perfect but we are improving and we must acknowledge the progress, as well as how far we have to go.