Recently, I watched a news story in my area of protesters on one side of the street chanting ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and on the opposite side of the street protesters chanting ‘Black Lives Matter.’ What struck me is neither side heard each other because they were focused on their own pain. But, the reality is both sides do not feel they are heard and both sides feel similar pain and cannot see it.
Black and brown people are judged immediately on their skin, while police are immediately judged on their uniform. Both groups bring their daily experiences, prejudices formed based on their experiences and daily struggles to the table each day. As I believe the majority of people in both groups are good people, there is always a segment of any population making it difficult for everyone.
I grew up in the inner city and my father made no bones about his prejudice towards black people. Unfortunately, I developed that same mentality until I joined the military. Only then by being exposed to all different people from all walks of life did I see my view point was narrow and wrong. I was able to educate myself and develop open dialog with different people with different points of view. My asking questions rather than just spouting my beliefs was I able to understand differences and barriers other’s may feel.
I do value police officers and what they contribute to our communities. I also appreciate the inherent struggles people face growing up in suppression and poverty. The sameness, is both sides want to return safely to their families at the end of the day. Both want the best our country has to offer to their children so they can achieve their dreams. Both want a better life for their children than what they experienced. The problem is both sides don’t see these similarities.
What if instead of protesting and yelling, each side sat down at a table and mere asked questions and truly listened. By listening from a place of compassion instead of a place of fear of something being taken away can we get back to be the UNITED States.
Let’s stop giving into fear and really taking a good look at ourselves. How can we be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I continue to have hope in what was once the Beacon on the Hill. I want us to be the beacon again.
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