06 Jul Another Black Man Shot By Another White Cop. Now What?
Another sad and horrific death. Where does it leave us? Confused. Angry. Divided. Here are six quick thoughts on how we can respond in a positive and way.
Understand the media thrives off division
The more you get angry, the better the media does for itself. The media’s job is to make headlines that catch attention and present the facts in a way that they can milk every ounce of confusion, fear, and hatred out of these situations. Don’t let them win. We need to come together.
Don’t be racist
Inevitably when these events happen, racism flares up on both sides. “Maybe if blacks weren’t all criminals.” “Maybe if whites weren’t hellbent on oppressing blacks.” These are the kinds of responses that have become all too commonplace. Whether you are white and you want to lump all minorities in a group or you are a minority and you want to lump all whites in a group… DON’T.
One at a time
It can be difficult to not make this about bigger issues, but before you go lumping this in with every other one of these situations, focus on this one as its own situation.
Keep things in perspective
In a nation of over 300 million people, bad things happen every day. The media wants you to be afraid. They want all blacks to look like criminals (yet simultaneously victims of white oppression) and they want all whites to look like slave-owning KKK members. The chances of being killed by a police officer, especially if you are not doing anything illegal, are astronomically small. Last year 90 unarmed people (of all combined races) were killed by police in the US. Now, that is 90 too many, but it in a country of over 300 million people, that’s a relatively small number. Statistically, you are over three times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a police officer if you are unarmed. Don’t buy the media’s Gospel of Fear.
Empathize with your “enemy”
If you hold a strong opinion on these matters, try to see someone else’s perspective. If you are angry at the minority community for their response. Try to empathize with them. Consider the way these things have been presented by the media. Consider the long history of mistreatment of minority communities. Yes, things have gotten much better, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect or that past injustices have been forgotten. If you are angry at the police, try to understand that they put their lives at risk every day. They don’t know if someone has a weapon or not and one mistake could mean they lose their lives. It doesn’t validate shooting an unarmed person – not at all – but it can help us understand the volatility of those situations. I am, in no way, suggesting that we disregard our current positions. However, if we will take the time to understand and even internalize the opinion of those we disagree with, it will help us to better communicate with one another in a cordial, loving, and considerate manner.
Above All, Be solution oriented
Mourning is good and acceptable, especially for those close to these situations. But for the mass population, simply demanding justice is too vague of a cry. Be specific. Be realistic. If there is a law that would make things better, focus on that. If the problem is cultural, focus on that, but remain solution oriented. As a country we have gotten into a bad habit of pointing fingers, calling names, and buying into charged language. We need to focus on enactable solutions that can actually make a difference in the future. We need to work together rather than allow these awful events to become the metanarrative of race relations for our country. I have some ideas about practical responses, but will hold off to share them at a later date. Feel free to comment below with some helpful (and kind) solutions. If I hear some good things, I may use them in the followup.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What can we do to help prevent further problems with police and civilians. Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.
For more like this, check out: CAN YOU BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD: 5 REASONS MORAL RELATIVISM FAILS