I stood in my kitchen today and cried. Two more black man were savagely gunned down by police – one being in Charlotte, only two hours away from here. I don’t understand how we’ve become this place. I don’t understand how a system that is built to “protect and serve” can so drastically assault our citizens. I am horrified that this is the world we live in. I am horrified that Trump is out there saying “make America great again” when what anybody can tell that what his words really mean is “make America white again.”
This is not the world I grew up in – or maybe it was. Maybe growing up white in suburbia in the suburbs of Washington DC, where people of every race and nation gathered – made me unaware of the deep-seated prejudices that exist elsewhere in our country. But as a logical adult, I don’t understand how we came to be in this place.
A friend of mine who has family in law enforcement told me that many of the police officers working today have ex-military backgrounds. According to her family member, the problem is that our military are trained to go up against enemy combatants, shooting first and asking questions later – or never. This is a vast departure from the ideal of “protect and serve.”
The people in our country – our citizens and those who have chosen to make this their home – should not be viewed as enemy combatants. Is it PTSD that makes so many police officers view them this way? I have a cousin who is a police officer in New York and I don’t believe him to be a bad person. He has always been kind and loving, so why are so many of his brothers in blue killing unarmed Americans?
Why are countries like the Bahamas issuing travel advisories to young black men against coming to America? Why are we allowing this to happen? This is not the world I want my son to grow up in – yes, my white son. I cannot imagine the fear that people of color – any color, (because let’s face it, Muslim Americans don’t feel any safer [I’m sure] then black Americans) – must have for their children. It breaks my heart to think that mothers and fathers out there are worrying about what dangers will befall their sons – for no reason other than how they look – as they grow older.
This is so far beyond unacceptable, that I don’t have words for it. This is what I imagine it was like in the early years of Hitler’s reign: blaming a race or group of people for all the problems and dissatisfaction the average white citizens were feeling. I know people are unhappy. I know people are worried about their future, lack of jobs, and wondering how they’re going to feed their families. None of that is an acceptable reason though for this kind of systemic violence. There is no excuse for it.
So today – on international peace day – I’m asking that we all speak up out of love and respect and join together saying:
Violence is not the answer. Race and religion are not the problem. Ignorance and fear are the problem. Enough is enough. May peace prevail on earth.