#BlackLivesMatter

Deep Thoughts No Comments

Before I dig in here and reveal what’s going on in my heart and my mind, I’d like to throw out a disclaimer to my friends and family:

You may disagree with me.

dangerI hope that even if we disagree you will not see it as a need to stop speaking to me, or interpret that I disapprove of you in any way.

I am on a journey to greater understanding and accountability as a human on this planet.

I’m not trying to say YOU are bad. I am not trying to say YOU are blatantly and actively racist.

I’m saying there is a deeper problem beyond white cops ending black lives.

I’m saying I can’t be a silent witness or casual observer anymore.

I think some of this process of standing up and speaking out means acknowledging what is wrong inside of me. I am not willing to point at others without first looking inside.

I don’t know that I actively think any life is less valuable than my own. In fact, I probably value my own life less than those of strangers.

Thus, when I take in words professing that black lives are not valued, it doesn’t resonate as something I feel within me. I don’t mean to imply that it’s not true for others, or that it’s not how it feels to others, but it’s not what it true for me.

The feeling that I think is more accurate for me is fear.

When I walk alone along a street and encounter an able-bodied man (read: not elderly), I have a sense of fear.

When I walk alone along a street and encounter an able-bodied black man, I have a greater sense of fear.

That is prejudice.lives end

That is racism.

And I know it.

If I can know it; a person who is empathetic, compassionate, a lover of all people and most animals, a hater of any kind of pain or exclusion; if I can know that my inherent, yet somehow learned fear, is racist, then why is it hard for others like me to see that it is absolutely an ingrained systemic problem?

I have never been harmed by a black man. I HAVE been harmed by white men.

I have never been harmed by a cop.

Yet, when I pass a patrol car or encounter an officer’s vehicle on the highway, my heart leaps to my throat and beats a little faster…..fear.

Because I know I am speeding.

I’m not afraid they will harm me.

I’m afraid I will get an expensive ticket and my insurance will go up.

I’m not afraid I will be killed.

Other than the unknown factors contained within my vehicle, I’m not afraid I’ll be killed because I think no officer would assess me as a threat. There’s the fear factor again.

Do I see cultural disdain for law enforcement? I do. And you know what, I see it from people of all colors. I work with kids who do not trust LEOs, MANY of them are white kids. The thing is, unlike their black peers, they don’t have to worry that the color of the skin puts an automatic target on their backs.

Please understand this: Many people I love are law enforcement officers. I believe they are good men and women. I do not believe they would shoot someone unless they had to for safety. I think I believe this about most police officers. I want them to get home safely at the end of each shift.

I’m willing to believe that some of the officers who have killed our black citizens were/are even good people.

The reason I believe it is because I believe I am a good person, and I can acknowledge the racism that exists within me.

If I’m willing to believe there are some officers with inherent biases who ACT on them, conversely, I’m willing to believe some of the humans killed actually did criminal things. From what I can tell, it doesn’t seem like shooting them was a reasonable response in many cases.

I know those are not popular beliefs.

In my heart I know the brutality is not acceptable, and I don’t want to stay silent anymore just because someone may disagree with me and unfriend me on facebook. If we can’t disagree and still be people who love and care for each other, then I am not sure we have a solid basis for a relationship to begin with.

If I encounter an educator who treats students unfairly based on racial bias, whether or not that educator was aware of it, would you WANT me to say something to them? If it was your kid, or your co-worker’s kid, or your high school friend’s kid, would you want it addressed?

Yes. If it were happening to someone in your circle of influence, even someone on the fringe of your circle, you would feel it and want it to stop.

If we wait until it gets that close it will be too late.

It’s too late for so many right now.

You know what else I have witness in my own life that I know to be true? Change and redemption.

We can do this if we surrender our defenses and embrace this struggle through love.

Let’s not make the beast of racism more ferocious by feeding it with denial and malice.

It is biting us right now, and before long it will tear us apart.

As I have finished writing this the news is breaking from Dallas.

Cherokee

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