Each time I think things couldn’t be crazier, apparently, I blink and something crazier happens. Yet, I find myself not surprised. It is enough to cause me to shake my head. I am growing tired of the association of blame. I am tired of the direction of fault. I’m tired of the news about deaths and murders and I am tired of the political platforms, which use tragic events like tools to gain an edge.
I watched a video of a man die beneath the knee of another man. I am intentionally removing rank and race and instead, stripping this down to the minimum plainest fact; one man killed another, live, and on video. The whole world saw this. I felt helpless to say the least. To be more accurate, I felt hopeless. I saw the riots on television and again, I felt hopeless.
I saw the businesses which had nothing to do with the murder nor the senseless shooting of a jogger a short while back, and again, I felt hopeless. However regardless to emotion, these are the times we are faced with.
I was told that rage is rage. I was told by some that rage creates more rage, which justifies the retaliation. I was also told that I don’t know what this is about because I’m white. I was told that I am privileged. I was told that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
The interesting part about this is I never claimed to know anything.
All I know is sometimes the world is an ugly place that is inhabited by ugly people that do ugly things. I also know that I do not want to be any part of that.
Try if you want to, but oftentimes, the assignments of blame are inaccurate. The towns destroyed in the riots did not commit these murders. The 50 unit apartment building that was set into flames did not commit these murders nor did the families that lived in them. Nevertheless, blame or not, this is what happened.
I am not blaming the President. I am not blaming local government; although, in fairness, I do have an opinion but for now, my point makes better sense without politics and for the purpose of my point, I will strip this down to a simple fact: I watched a man plea for his life and then die.
I have seen violence before. I have seen death and witnessed the final expression that takes over someone’s face when they die.
I may not know or get it or understand but I know this is tragic. I know this hurts my heart. What I saw hurt me deeply and what happened was murder.
I was unaware that simply by having different pigment meant that I do not have the appropriate sense of emotion.
However, I do know that rather than blame or assign fault to people, whether white or black, I would rather lace up my boots and put them on the ground.
I would rather do something productive instead of destructive. I would rather unite and build than to argue and point fingers.
Instead, I would rather connect with others that want to grow instead of listen to hate speeches, or connect with people with goals to destroy one another.
I see our pronoun troubles as counterproductive.
The use of “They,” or “Them,” or “Those people,” is detrimental to our sense of unity. Rather than say “They” or “Them’ I would rather use the words “Us,” and “We.”
I can say without any mistake or shade of opinion that I have given my best to make right in my community.
I have stood in places most people only talk about. I have walked into rooms with doors that mechanically close behind me.
Instead of talking, I go.
I have listened. I have worked to build and create plans. I have built programs in both a jail and a homeless shelter.
I have been part of an overdose responder group as well as suicide prevention hotlines. I make no mistake here and do not claim any special rights.
I have made my share of mistakes. I have my own list of sins that I have to pay for. Sure, I’ve done wrong.
I’ve been inappropriate. I’ve said and done the wrong things.
Do you know what this makes me?
This makes me human.
I do not have the right or audacity to be put on a pedestal. I can only say at least I’m trying and working to improve.
I have helped others by trying to provide computers to organizations that give support and allow people to better their lives when no one else noticed or cared.
This is why I refuse the idea or the accusations that I do not know or care or understand because of the color of my skin.
I will not entertain this idea because the idea only feeds and encourages separation and segregation.
As I watched the news and thought about the pause in pandemic reports, I saw the reports on country-wide riots take precedence.
I thought to myself how sorry I am that this is who we’ve become.
I thought about the possible spike in Covid-19 outbreaks and how self-destructive this could be. I saw the riots and wondered if this only fanned the flames to burn us all down.
I thought about the family of George Floyd and while I agree and understand the demand for justice, and while I support this wholeheartedly, I wonder if destruction is what Floyd’s family wanted.
I refuse to see this tragedy and say this happened to “Them” or “Those” people. Instead, I choose to see this as the murder of a man.
I would rather see it this way instead of allow the assignment of race or color and allow this to divide my country any further.
I am only one, which is fine. I’ve been on my own before so I know what to expect. Besides, I would rather stand as I am than destroy more of the fabric that is supposed to hold us together.
I admit that times are too intense to think clearly. I agree this is all wrong. No one should die this way.
I agree there is racism. I agree that stigma kills. I agree that people need to speak out when they see something wrong.
However, I will not blame or point fingers at an entire race or blame politicians, or police departments across the country, and I will certainly not destroy my city nor watch as it burns.
Instead, I will arm as many people with as much education as I can deliver and offer my sense of unity to whomever will accept this.
I will not apologize for who I am or where I come from; however, who I am and where I come from is the exact reason why I would rather unite and build. I would rather do this instead of create hate and destroy ourselves, live, and on video.
I would rather it this way because rest assured, in this case, the revolution will most definitely be televised.