If you are not white, any action you take can be used to denounce you race, your religion. Is is, perhaps, one of the starkest examples of the divides in this country. In this week we have seen, graphically, two men mowed down by police officer in senseless acts of violence. During peaceful protests a single black man assassinated five police officers who were assigned to that event.
A witness to the horror in Dallas said he was saddened because this one event could erase fifty years of progress. Think about that for a moment and ask yourself when was the last time that a white persons actions were a detraction for white Americans. Not long before I heard former NY Mayor Giuliani say that if black and brown men and women would just do what the police told them to there would be no problems.
I feel despair at the depths between those comments. The privileged white men who, at best, think that if we just cede everything to their authority then all will be good. They do not recognize that there are deep, systems racism within this country. We see it also in a divide between sexes. A woman claiming assault falsely is seen as setting back all women’s rights.
Imagine had the Dallas shooter been white.
Would protests tonight be see differently? Would those who think that citizens with darker skins or a different religion do not have the right to protest against a seemingly endless stream of shooting and murder of those who have minor interactions with the police feel less justified in their proclamations. When I say “the right” I do not mean the right to assemble I mean that people like Giuliani feel like people do not have the right to object to the treatment, the killings.
The white men who want those with a different hue to their skin to stay in their place and not complain say that those who wear a uniform have a different set of rights. They want to make it a contest of who has the right to mourn and to be mourned.
We have to recognize that everyone has the right to equal protection under the law. That means that a police officer who murders a man pulled over for a broken taillight is subject to the same legal repercussions as a man who kills a police office.
We need a national conversation on race and yes on guns. Guns will be another blog post – or at least one – but tonight is just saying that one man’s actions or one woman’s actions do not represent everyone who shares the hue of their skin. We are one nation. We have to live together in this country. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We have never had a national conversation about the underpinnings of the civil war. Instead, we buttressed up the walls and put a coat of paint on. It’s time to look at the foundation and rebuild from the ground up.