We are in very difficult times. The sight of abuse by law enforcement is abhorrent. We all recoil at the sight and implications. There are serious protests in many cities. Someone should do something. Someone needs to make changes. What actions should I take? What should I do to bring needed changes?
We put law enforcement in the position of dealing with difficult behaviors, and we expect them to deliver the kinds of treatment that we think is appropriate and needed. All the time. It’s their problem. Yes, they accept employment and some level of training.
But I wonder about the rest of us. There is ample evidence that people of color suffer many abuses, some major and many smaller ones, and they feel that they are not fully heard. When any of us feel that we are not heard we feel intense resentment and rage. And we are feeling that way more often. It affects our behavior. It erodes our effectiveness. It undermines confidence. It limits our competitiveness. Almost certainly this affects individuals of color more than those who are white. It divides further and increases the polarity and the resentment that we see. In some ways people of color die from a thousand cuts.
Too often, we’ve taken the easy route. We make “snap” judgements that can affect perceptions and actions – in “normal” times as well as under stress. That adds to the polarity and increases the chances that we will further divide our communities, and maybe move events toward another catastrophe.
We must change. We as individuals, as groups, and as a country need to see each other as kindred spirits and work together. In this company, we will pause to be sure we’ve heard fairly. We will avoid questioning credentials for some more than others. We will avoid those snap judgements, even or especially those that are subconscious. We must learn to see others as part of our group, our fellowship, even when the pigment of skin or cultural responses are different than ours. We are changing.