“An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind” Gandhi
So much evil and injustice is happening around the world right now. From the refugee crises to the police shootings watching the news/social media can seem a bit daunting at the moment. If you are one to pray then I ask that you do. Pray that our hearts aren’t hardened against each other. Pray that as a community we don’t get desensitized to the evil that is happening around the world. Pray that we don’t accept injustice as normal but rather seek to use our platform and privileges to further the cause of justice and good. I have been praying the past couple of weeks [not as consistently as I would like but praying nonetheless]. Praying that I am slow to speak BUT eager to listen. Being open to hear the stories and experiences of people instead of jumping in quick to dismiss them because they are not a part of my worldview.
The shootings that happened the past couple of weeks were heartbreaking. I did not know until I looked at social media how much people were quick to judge and dismiss the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I wish we were slower to make judgments. I wish we were slower to jump on bandwagons. I wish seeking justice was not a trend. We tackle sexism today, xenophobia tomorrow and racism next week. I feel like we have become excellent at hashtags but weak in starting conversations. I hate that this treatment of injustice as a fad has made for a lot of ignorant comments. I hate that as a community we are finding it harder to empathize and easy to judge. I hope and pray that we can all be careful with our words and consider its impact not just our intention. I hope that we can recognize that so much can be lost in translation especially our tone when we have a 140-character limit.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t comment or raise awareness about the division that already exists and seek to create a bridge or reconciliation. It is not right to ignore the problem. Saying things like I don’t see color only benefits the person that is privileged enough that it doesn’t matter. If you say something like that or if your response to the BLM movement is to say all lives matter then please sit down and read and listen to the people of color in your community. Then ask yourself what exactly gives you the right to dismiss the experiences, concerns and fear of black people/people of color?
Another thing I should mention is that it is possible to criticize police brutality, criticize the criminal justice system and still not condone/support the Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings. It is possible to demand more accountability from police because of their position of power and authority without wanting them to be killed. “With great power comes great responsibility” [Ben Parker] and cops have responsibility towards the people they are serving. If you have a badge, gun and a uniform (aka you’re a cop) then gosh darn it I want to make sure that you are not racist or you aren’t going to abuse your power. If you find that your are paranoid of black people or see black people collectively as thugs then please do yourself and us a favor and quit.
This is not to dismiss or to devalue the work of good police officers or to deny their existence because that would be unfair and not right. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that police get training to unlearn any racist assumptions and perspectives that they might have. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we do our best to change systemic racism within the police force and the criminal justice system. I do not think it’s too much to ask for police officers to listen to their communities and stakeholders (in this case black people) when they tell you there is a problem. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the problem be acknowledged so that it can be fixed.
Lastly, please don’t tell me to be calm when I am talking about racism. This is something I am passionate about. I am not speaking about the weather! So please get over it!!
**** Please be comfortable with being uncomfortable so that we can have conversations about racism. Do not engage in dialogue just to prove your point but to listen and to gain understanding of systematic racism. #blacklivesmatter