Most of the recent events on the news, both local, national, and worldwide sickens and saddens me these days. There is too much violence, disrespect, and quite frankly, extremism abounding among too many people.
My thoughts and morals have been shaped by my background, values, logic and my spiritual beliefs. All of these things combined to make my views more eclectic than the general population and probably a bit more eccentric at times. A bit about me would be helpful in understanding where I’m coming from when I speak on my beliefs on the state of the current events.
My general background and the socioeconomic class that I was born into and grew up in was the poor/economic disadvantaged end of the overall economic spectrum. Basically I was so poor my family couldn’t even afford the last three letters of the word. So we were basically “P”. However, I was never allowed to feel like a victim of our circumstances. Even when we had to sleep in the car to keep warm during a Northern Wisconsin winter because we couldn’t afford the propane to heat the house. It was continually stressed that the way out for me was through getting an education, which I did. I graduated from High School as an Honor Graduate and immediately joined the military so that I could earn the money to attend college.
So, it is with a bit of irritation, that I keep hearing about “White Privilege.” I’m definitely of Caucasian or white descent, however I’ve never been “privileged.” Everything that I have so far achieved I’ve worked for from the time I was ten years old – when I began babysitting to today when I work as a Certified Nurse Aide for just barely over minimum wage. If I want more, I’m going to have to work my tail off to get it.
However, with that being said, I see that there are problems with how people of African descent or black are treated by the police. However the mistreatment is not confined to the black members of society. Personally I’ve been appalled at some of the incidents that have come to light, particularly the deaths of Freddie Gray and Philando Castille. The shooting of the unarmed Behavioral Therapist, Charles Kinsey from what I’ve seen was totally unprovoked. In my opinion, one of the things that would diffuse at least some of the anger would be punishment for those that use excessive force, especially deadly force, when dealing with those being detained for law infractions.
People need to do their part in making these kinds of incidents rare or nonexistent. As a child and teenage I was taught that you must have respect for the police. There wasn’t a systemic disrespect for law enforcement that was taught and reinforced throughout the adolescent years. When I was a teenager, we were taught how to behave if we were ever pulled over by the police. #1 – Immediately pull over and stop the car, turning the ignition off. #2 – Put your hands on the wheel, fingers up. If there is a passenger, they should put their hands in a similar position on the dash. # 3 – when requested by the law enforcement officer you can roll the window down. #4 – DO NOT speak disrespectfully to the officer #5 – LISTEN to the officers verbal DIRECTIONS and OBEY them to the letter. The officer or officers are in charge and YOU HAVE TO OBEY their commands. #6 – If they decide to further detain you, make you get out of the car, handcuff you, etc. YOU DO NOT RESIST. It is OK to be upset, however they are Law Enforcement and have weapons (guns). It is much easier to make your case in court if you aren’t dead.
I have been pulled over by Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) on a few occasions. I’ve even been detained for a short period of time once. However, that most likely resulted from the fact that I was rude/disrespectful to the officer initially. They thought me and my passenger were suspicious. However, after they checked our IDs, they let us go without further incident. But we had to sit outside of the car on the curb for around 10-15 minutes while they decided what to do. It is never cool when their are three squad cars. I do feel that there is a problem with excessively pulling people over based on race. The only way to eliminate this is to institute further training.
Fear is running rampant on both sides of the issue. People are afraid and resentful of LEOs/Police and the LEOs/Police are afraid of the people. Both sides in this standoff need to truly meet with each other and see what they all can do to fix this problem. Fear breeds fear. The ugliness needs to stop. The two terrorist attacks on the Law Enforcement Officers were uncalled for by any measure. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Mohandas Ghandi.
I realize that I may be simplistic in my views but I also believe that everyone is created equal. You have to get past your race and socioeconomic situation to truly achieve a better life for yourself. You are the only one that can make a difference in your life. You have to take the educational opportunities that you are given and use them to rise above where you come from in this life. Everyone is the same beneath the skin. Race/and/or/skin color does not make a difference in one’s abilities. People need to love one another and be good to one another.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.