If You’re

In one act of violence a black man brutally killed police. Since then an entire movement has been called into question by some, especially white authorities. They are asked to validate their movement because the horror happened during a Back Lives Matter rally.

It brings into stark contrast how we react to events.

When the South Carolina shooter entered a historic black church and killed nine black worshipers no one seemed to ask for or expect an apology from any white groups. On two occasions white militia groups have occupied public lands, pointed guns at authorities, and they were give space. No one was asked to denounce them. When a man came into a Planned Parenthood and committed mass murder there was no call for anti choice groups to denounce his actions. When men in churches applauded the murders in Orlando no one painted that to a broad brush on all Christian churches. No one has asked anyone to denounce them officially. What do all of those events have in common? The perpetrators are white.

If you are white you actions are your own.

If you are a muslin in this country you are expected to denounce every action by an extremist not only in this country but around the world. If you do not do it loudly enough or strongly enough or frequently enough you an suspect. You have to proclaim that not all muslins think like that, or act like that and that you condemn those actions.  You have to do that at the beginning, middle and end of every conversation. Even so, it does not matter what words are spoken you are still suspect. Muslims, in or out of America,do not get a single benefit of the doubt.

If you are black, in the face of every killing  you must be careful to say that its only a few cops that are bad. You must disavow any violence that might occur in reaction, at any rally, protest or event. You have to watch each and every word. You are expected to say, yes sir, while sitting next to your fiance, who is bleeding out, with your 4 year old daughter behind  you.

In a heart breaking, horrific week we saw death up close and personal again. The race and profession of the killers get different reactions.

One thing that stands clear for me is that tying the Dallas killer in any way to Black Lives Matter does a disservice to both the movement and the Dallas Police Department. I’ve spent the weekend watching movement representatives being asked if they should re-evaluate their movement in the wake of the shootings.  A crazy person does not represent their movement just as his actions in Dallas do not say anything about the quality of that department.

Protests are the act of telling the truth in public. We have to listen to the pain that is being shown to us. Policing should not be about compliance and force. When congressman and surgeons and police officers themselves tell us about the lived experience of being black in America we have to listen.

If you are white in this country you have a different lived experience.

It is time to listen and to not hold one person  as a representative for all.

We have to listen.

We have to understand.

Its not a single cops fault and it can’t be one crazy man s fault.

We can do better.

We must do better .

We must be better.

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