I will be 50 this year. It doesn’t seem like it, but I will be. My life says that’s not correct, but my body seems to think I may be underestimating. In my 1/2 century on this rock I have been blessed to see some amazing things. I have also seen things that I wish I could have unseen. What we have made it to in America is what I feel is a tipping point. Justice shows the scales always a bit off kilter if you have ever truly paid attention to the statue. The point in to show the perceived notion of balance in society; the middle ground. Where law and order meet rights and due process. But much like Lady Justice, the scales are never really side by side are they?
My arrival in this world came after a tumultuous decade before. It saw marches and sit ins. It also saw the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. It also sees a President and his brother shot in cold blood. The latter was highly praised in the African American community. The quickest way to silence a person is through death. However, if there voice has meaning and power, it will traverse long past any air still gives it movement. It will echo for ages. Men can die, martyrs live on as long as their cause still breaths.
The area of the country I hail from is in the foothills of The Appalachian Mountains. before anyone asks, I can’t play the banjo, I’m not married to my cousin, and I have all my teeth. It does mean that the culture I was subjected to was far different than those who lived in larger metropolitan areas. Inner city America was and still is much different the rural America. The age of technology has brought both closer to one another, but you cannot substitute one’s environment with enough of something to make it what it is not.
We stand 155 years plus past the end of The Civil War. North versus South; brother versus brother or any number of ways you have heard it compared. Civility would be a true misrepresentation of how our society has transformed in those years. Segregation, Jim Crow laws, The Ku Klux Klan, riots, and lynching are only part of the subjugation that was forced on those who’s only crime was that they did not look like the founding fathers. How do you go from being one’s property to your own prosperity?
We cannot rewrite history. We cannot erase it either. There is no magic eraser or ink that will only appear at a certain angle to hide our past. Much like other lessens in history, we struggle to learn from the mistakes made and find ways to pencil in “facts” in between the lines in ink. Justifying hatred has been around since Cain and Abel. It also helps to find that outlet for your anger and that thing not named yourself to hang responsibility upon. If you don’t think that’s a thing, I would point you to a man who convinced others that the extermination of over 11 million Jews was for the betterment of the world. Because they were responsible for the suffering the non-Jewish population was faced with.
Racism comes in many coats and many colors. None has held more hatred in America than Black vs White. What is the difference? The difference is one thing; the amount of melanin in one’s skin. What else? Not one damn thing. But we find ourselves different in customs, culture, and many other areas. What we start as something may be for necessity in the beginning. As it grows older, it becomes tradition. Again, there are no laws or rules that designate white and black culture cannot have similarities or even have the same things.
Most of us pay either watch the news or read it online. Unless you head is in the sand, you know the troubles we face today. Bigotry is still prominent in America. It never goes away altogether. As long as humans have air to breathe, some will find a way to hate regardless of what they know, learn, see with their own eyes.
Statistics tell us that more black Americans are incarcerated than whites. That gets magnified since there are for more Caucasian people in the U.S. That leaves us with some things that have to be looked at from a point that takes color or the lack thereof out of the equation. Maybe some of these suggestions could make a dent in an issue.
- Every law enforcement officer has to have a body camera and it has to be on.
- High crime areas will be patrolled more often. However, if arrests made in those areas show that there are dismissals and acquittals that mean bogus arrests, those police will be suspended upon an internal investigation
- City councilmen and lawmakers need to meet to combat issues in their district. If you can’t provide a safe environment for your district, then the population of it will continue to fall, as well tax revenue to assist in any help. If your district’s crime rate increases 2 consecutive years while you are in office, you can not seek re-election.
- Law enforcement officers will move to 8 hour shifts. They will also rotate on/off road duty and will be required to participate in counseling. Anyone choosing to decline this service will be terminated.
- Law enforcement agencies will be asked to look to hire from a culturally diverse group of candidates. Car patrols should consist of officers from different diversities.
- Officers working within large metropolitan cities will be required to rotate within other areas of the city during their tenure.
- During any attempt to arrest an individual, all footage will have to be available. Any erased footage or lost footage will result in charges being dropped
- While speaking with an officer, any attempt to resist arrest or run from the officer will be seen as an act of aggression. This means an attempt to re-obtain a suspect can involve being tackled, man-handled, tasered, or fired upon. Since every encounter will be recorded, it will be up to an “internal affairs” based board to ensure protocols were adhered to. If not, the officer involved will either be reprimanded or terminated. Criminal charges for excessive or unnecessary force will be levied.
- Any time a person requests medical assistance, it is to granted. If found that the request has been to stall or impeded the process, the person will be charged with resisting arrest. If they use this as an attempt to flea, they will be charged with that as well. The steps listed above show what can be involved in that process.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the clip that Charles Barkley had a few weeks ago, it is worth looking for it. He says that he truly believes that most black and white people get along fine with one another. That in many ways we are put in situations by those that govern us to hate one another. Whether black vs white, rich vs poor, or any other argument, politicians find one thing that is extremely important to remember. It is not your fault, you need to blame, “fill in the blank here.” Meanwhile, politicians just gain money and power while doing nothing. Neither side is interested in fixing anything. They are only there to point out who is to blame. We are all to blame and all of us own a part in fixing it as well. We owe that to ourselves and to one another. It is time for us to work to make things better rather than make sure someone is there to blame. That is not always easy either. For many, they don’t do what is right because they fear that there is no fairness in the process. Those things have to change or we will eventually be Cain and Abel.