Here’s What I think of Black Lives Matter (Editorial)
I think, the only way we as a country will ever get past the civil unrest in America today is to let our guard down and listen. And of course, we must denounce the violence, but it goes beyond that.
Let's start by stopping the incorrect assumptions. All Democrats are not Socialists. All Republicans are not white supremacists. It's true a white supremacist more often than not leans Republican, but a Republican is NOT most often a racist. Not all Democrats are AOC. While most socialists are Democrats, most Democrats are not socialists. Oh yeah, not all Republicans are David Duke and by far, not all police are "bad eggs."
To be fair, the same has to apply to Black Lives Matter and protestors marching in the streets today. They are not necessarily looters and violent. In fact, they say they are peaceful protestors for change and their movement is being hijacked by criminals and antagonists, as well as those who want to paint the peaceful protesters as anarchists and marxists. The peaceful protesters are not the same people that when night falls, burn down the neighborhood. Some of the "bad eggs" might be a part of the movement, but the movement doesn't endorse the "bad eggs."
These generalizations work for political campaigns but they're irresponsible and have to stop if we're ever going to solve this problem.
There are many today who believe discrimination against blacks is not a problem in 2020 America. After all, we've had a black president, right? Racism is over. Really? Let's not forget that it wasn't that long ago that in some cities, blacks weren't allowed to use the same drinking fountain as a white person. There were white-only hotels, seats on busses, diners and public bathrooms and these are just a few examples of real discrimination in our lifetime. Yet today, we seem baffled when black people complain that they aren’t treated fairly. I can’t imagine you believe that all of a sudden laws were passed in the 60s for equal rights and instantly, racist family members just woke up one day and decided - “The law says I can no longer discriminate against blacks - so now I’m no longer racist!” I hope you don’t think that’s true. If you do, you’re terribly mistaken. This problem is generational and will take time, a long time to correct.
I want to be clear that I’m against violence and looting, I support police and our military, I love America- but I refuse to condemn black people for standing up for what THEY SAY is discrimination that THEY say THEY have experienced. How do I know whether they have or they haven’t? So, I’ve decided to listen.
My decision to listen is not a policy of accepting violence, toppling statues, or reinventing history. It’s an American policy that every person has the right to opportunity, to live equally and free and while I don’t think my family should be punished for what our nation’s ancestors did, we should also be decent Americans and accept the fact that damage has been done and at the very least we should make sure everyone is indeed treated equally. We should be offended, hurt and alarmed that an entire population in this country, here in 2020, believes that they are targeted and treated differently. That alone should make us stop and listen.
So, while I don’t know why Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, didn’t just listen to the police and instead decided to run to his car- I also have no idea what it’s like to be that man. And although I don’t know what was going on in the mind of the police officer when he shot him seven times in the back, I reserve judgement. It certainly doesn’t look good, but, I'll pass my own judgement when we know the entire story.
Did I mention, I completely and 100-percent support the police and particularly those in our area because I trust and rely on them. I also know that police officers put their lives on the line every day and I appreciate that, but, I also believe we have entrusted them with a power that they must treasure and use wisely and I believe almost all of them do just that. However, if it’s found that one of them in this position of power has treated someone else unfairly, unjustly, or worse - then that person of power should be held to higher standard and punished. That's a responsibility that every member of law enforcement assumes when they take the job.
On Wednesday, I watched New York Met Dominic Smith cry during a press conference regarding what’s happening today in the country and he said he doesn’t feel that America cares about him because he’s black. Fighting to speak through tears he said, “I think the most difficult part is to see people still don’t care. For this to just continuously happen, it just shows just the hate in people’s hearts. That just sucks, you know? Being a Black man in America, it’s not easy.”
His comments were moving. His emotion felt real. Who am I to say, “No, you don’t feel that way.” After all, it’s the first thing you learn in therapy, that you can’t know how another person feels. I don't know how Dom Smith feels, so I listen.
A few months ago, one of our staff members wore a Black Lives Matter tee shirt on the air and a client of mine told me because of it, he would no longer do business with me. He said this staffer must be anti-police and I should do something about it. The fact is, I know that Jeff unequivocally supports police and has several friends who are police officers, deputies and troopers. But he also has a friend who is black who in his life has felt discrimination and Jeff wore the tee-shirt in support of his friend who believes the movement is essential for his future and possibly his future kids. So, I listened because I don't know what it's like to be black.
This week, in unprecedented fashion the NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLB all postponed games in protest over the shooting of Blake. While I know many who believe the players should just play their position and stay out of the demonstration, I give them credit for using their status for change. Something like this has never happened before, not to mention, seeing the organization or league stepping up in support of their players and working with them in harmony to send the strong message.
So, I stand here now with one less client, a little less money and a mirror that I have no problem looking into. I don't know how to fix the world we live in, but, I do know that I don’t accept an America that doesn’t offer every single person equality, equal opportunity and full access to the American dream. So, I’ve decided to simply listen.