After the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and 5 Dallas police officers this week, an African-American friend of mine posted on Facebook that, essentially, white people can never fully understand the plight of the African-American and what it’s like to live in the U.S. Naturally, a series of comments followed. A lot had been bubbling up inside me, as I’m sure it had for a lot of American citizens. I ultimately responded with the below comment. These are just some of my thoughts on the current situation. It sickens me, but I believe we as American, truly are better than this.
As a white man in America, I wholeheartedly agree that I will never completely understand the African-American struggle. It is impossible for me to have the same perspective. But what I very much do understand is human struggle. And while I can never totally understand, I do empathize and I do deeply care about it. The killings of innocent black people by police officers disturbs me, deeply. The killings of innocent police officers in Dallas disturbs me just as much. The whole situation right now sickens me. I wish I had a magic solution but there is none. But the killing of innocent people, of any color, is completely wrong. So in my opinion, there needs to be major systemic change in police departments across the country to weed out bad or racist officers, and stop the unnecessary use of excessive/lethal force. And, in my opinion, the way these stories are portrayed by the media and by politicians needs to change. As long as it’s “us versus them,” “blacks versus whites,” black versus police,” there will continue to be tension. There will always be that misguided, frustrated person who will hold onto that, easily find a gun and take action. Killing innocent, unrelated officers in Dallas does not bring back the innocent who have been killed by officers elsewhere. And it does nothing to unite the people against the real problem officers out there. All the focus in the world should go towards the individual police officers who abuse their power, and in seeing that they are removed from the force, and ensuring that their precinct takes responsibility and action. We have to, have to, have to come together as a people, have a real conversation, and focus on removing those who do wrong from power, instead of blaming an entire group. The killing of innocent people is wrong. The stereotyping and profiling of an entire people (Black, white, police officers, Jews, Muslims, Christians, etc.), it’s just wrong. It’s not honest. It’s an excuse. We need to find a way to unite, fix these issues, recognize the progress that has been made in this country, and be honest about how far we still have to go. It may be 2 steps forward, 10 steps backwards, but progress continues to be made. As long as we have checks and balances in this country, we should have the means to continue to root out those who do wrong. The good things happening in this country do seem to get drowned out by the 24-hour news cycle, but progress can’t really be stopped. I still believe that most of us in this world want to see justice. And by justice, I don’t mean revenge. My post here is more of a response to the entire comment section, not necessarily your post. I still think there is more good in the world than bad. And I know the United States is better than this.