"The tragedies in Tulsa and Charlotte show us the full magnitude of the challenges we face as a nation when it comes to police and community relations. My heart and prayers are both with the families of Terence Crutcher and Keith Smith, as well as the 16 officers injured in Charlotte last night. When we see video like the one from Tulsa, it is impossible not to acknowledge the issues at hand. And when we lack video and have conflicting stories, such as in Charlotte, it only makes the case further for body cameras. At the end of the day, we have to come together as the American family to find solutions here; we cannot return violence with violence, or allow our frustration and sadness to lead to more heartbreak." Senator Tim Scott
So many people are looking at these situations and trying to figure out which ‘side’ they stand on. Each ‘side’ feels as if their viewpoint is not being heard and they’re both resorting to extreme measures to break ground. For example, YES criminals exist and sometimes our police men and women are forced to take action that ends tragically. But, when I see a situation like Terence Crutcher, I can’t help but think, “What if that was my husband?” You see, just because you’ve never experienced racial bias, doesn’t mean you can say it doesn’t exist. My husband has an office job, is very well spoken, and is one of the kindest people you will ever meet. But ask yourself this – how many times have you thought about what you were wearing before you left your house? I’m not referring to whether or not your clothes match and you look presentable, but how many times have you thought to yourself, “I need to change my clothes because I don’t want to be perceived a certain way.” My husband can’t take off his skin color, he can’t hand over his resume if he gets pulled over by a cop, and he can’t help that if he’s wearing a baggy t-shirt and basketball shorts, certain people will think differently of him just because of his skin tone. This is the reality that people of color face. Whether you’re black, muslim, hispanic, green, or purple you worry about other people’s perception far more than if you are white.
Overall, as a nation we have made so much progress when it comes to racism and bias, but when you tell someone of color that what they’ve experienced isn’t a reality, you’re creating a bigger problem. You’re creating what you see happening in Charlotte. A lot of these people who are rioting and causing uproar are frustrated that nothing is happening when acts of violence against the black community are blatantly mishandled. When no one is held accountable, people will not continue to protest peacefully. Is that the right thing to do? No. Violence will never end violence – what we need to find is balance. But, we will never find balance as long as there are two side screaming that the other side is delusional.
I have friends of all races in law enforcement and I appreciate them immensely. I am not anti-law enforcement. The overwhelming majority who see a problem with how situations like Terence Crutcher and Alton Sterling were handled do not hate all cops. They do not think all cops are racists. What they want is to see someone who irresponsibly handled a problematic situation get penalized for their actions. Whether that person is a congressman, a teacher, or, in these cases, a police officer.
I wanted to write a post on this issue because I hate seeing so much conflict on my social media feed. I genuinely try and see everyone’s viewpoint and I truly believe we all want the same thing. Just remember, everyone’s reality is not your own and sometimes what you find relatable, your co-worker may not. Be the example.