I have often been confronted by those who think that people of color play the race card; while at the same time they raise the banner of white superiority. It amazes me that they fail to see the prejudices that permeate their own conclusions while pointing the fingers at others.
Let’s face it; race is not an easy topic to discuss among people of different cultures. People are informed by their own experiences that may lead to faulty and erroneous conclusions about why people act as they do. Things are viewed through prisms and the colors are limited to those seen by the observer. Often this does not reflect the totality. Sometimes only half-baked opinions based on misinformation is all that is left.
It is imperative that this dialogue begin with listening. An alternate point of view can only be understood if there is a willingness to hear what the other person has to say and not “rush to judgement”. There is much to learn about how others come to a conclusion, sometimes erroneously, if we are open to constructive dialogue. That begins with an exchange of information that helps us establish the facts.
Recent examples are the protests and uprisings that have occurred in Baltimore and Ferguson. These examples are used to paint every situation in which a Black person is killed by police as an excuse for “thugs” to riot. The facts reveal that the incidence of Black lives lost to police far exceed these two instances. Dozens of lives are lost annually and often a simple protest or no action at all occurs. Those instances are lost and it is often believed that “fairness” prevailed. That may not be the case. The incidents of police “thugism” may be more rampant than exists when there is community uprising.
Every life lost is a tragedy. If only Black people protest Black lives lost and White people protest White lives lost, then our humanity is diminished. We should all be concerned that a climate of violence exists in our country that allows people to be killed by those in authority, those who are criminals, or those who are angry; particularly through the use of weapons. Too many people are lost, some innocent, because of the belief that somehow compliance should be related to our potential to take a life.
We must face our history of disparate treatment. We must recognize that we jointly occupy this space on earth. We must realize that the protections of citizenship are granted to all Americans regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, age or sexual preference. We must begin this dialogue now, before it is too late, and be willing to face our past without placing our fears and prejudices front and center.
It is too easy to call it “playing the race card”.