Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Character Wanted

This, like most of my posts that wasn't birthed on the grill, was born on Facebook. And so it begins...

Stephen McPherson, you are, as usual, a breath of fresh air for my soul! I love your challenges, your insights, your high standards! In regard to the events in question: In my lifetime, I have had a few incidences where I have dealt with police officers. (Most recently this past Halloween night.) I have always conducted myself respectfully and I have always been treated with respect. I have never felt endangered by the police. I am well aware that this is not always the case. But here is a word to the wise. Particularly if you believe that white police officers are out to get you. Do. Not. Do. Anything. To. Antagonize. THEM. I think most officers of every ethnicity want to protect the communities they work in and they want to go home to their families at the end of their shift.

I also think there are much more grave dangers in the black community than bigoted police or a prejudiced legal system. We each need to police ourselves. We can't go around telling each other than getting an education is "trying to be white". We can't continue to have well over half of our children born out of wedlock and fatherless. We can't let Uncle Sam be our Baby Daddy. We can't continue to embrace thug life as an acceptable goal. We need to reach for something higher. Of course, there are still problems in race relations in our country. But I can't think of a worse way to deal with it that looting and murdering. Let's not rush to call every incident racially motivated. Let's take responsibility for our own actions individually and hold ourselves to a higher standard than we tend to. My admittedly uninformed opinion in regards to the purported incredulity of some of Officer Wilson's account is this: The situation got out of hand at some point and he panicked. Not necessarily in his actions, but in his testimony. Again this is uniformed, and I apologize. I believe he saw (accurately) his future after having shot a young black man. Knowing that he was absolutely going to be crucified in the press. He, it seems to me at worst, thought he needed to shore up his story and did so very poorly. I honestly don't know but IF his story doesn't hold water but if it doesn't I believe that's why.

But WE have an obligation to ourselves and the rest of society to not behave like criminals. Protest and honest dialogue are one thing. Giving whatever racists are still out there their "proof" by acting like animals is an entirely different matter. We need to get ourselves to the point where a police officer sees one of us or a group of us and he has no reason to think we're up to no good. And we're the only ones that can create that perception. Much of our entertainment to this day glorifies drugs, violence, disrespect of authority (and really everything and everyone else) and immorality as "The Black Experience". Not just showing that part of the Black Experience as real, but lauding it as the only legitimate Black Experience. We project that on the screen and on the airwaves and then we're shocked and angered that "That's how THEY see US." We need to embrace the great, significant and valuable aspects of our culture and reject the things that hold us back and keep us down. (In reality and in our own perception and the perceptions of others.) Other minorities have been through the ringer in America as well. And while we are the most obvious ethnic minority we need to drop that as an excuse for our own bad behavior. For the most part, other minority groups don't give themselves excuses to not measure up and no one makes excuses for them. I can never ever repeat it enough that I KNOW there is still racism. We need to be less bigoted ourselves. We need to less bigoted against others. Just like "they" need to not expect the worst from "us" we need to not expect the worst of them. And WE. NEED. TO. AIM. HIGHER. It will take time and herculean effort. But that will be a major, if not the most significant contributor to the dream of not being judged by the color or our skin but the content of our character.