I’ll start by saying that I don't presume to speak on behalf of anyone but myself and that the observations and opinions contained in this post are solely mine.
For those still reading, I will explain that I'm 45 years old and I've never seen race relations in this country worse than they are right now. I have talked to 65-75 year old white & African American people who say the exact same thing. I've had mentors and loved ones caution me countless times, saying, "Don't post anything political on social media! It may hurt future efforts in getting a job someday".
Regardless of how many people try and politicize the current racial divide in our country, it is NOT a result of current politicians or past politicians. So, to appease those who worry about me unintentionally hurting myself and my future, breathe easy... This is not a political post - this is a post about human decency and human compassion; it is about our ability to see one another, regardless of race, as members of the same human family.
I don't have six months to type nonstop on this post so I won't even begin to tackle the historical factors or systemically oppressive tools that have resulted in the current status of race relations in our country. Nor will I offer my humble opinions of what I believe the solutions are that could begin to bridge the divide. Instead, I will just address one of the most obvious indicator that our nation is sick and the infection runs deep; in other words, by examining the insanely depressing phenomenon of Black Lives Matter vs. Back The Blue.
The case of Philando Castile is the most recent in a long list of African Americans who have been shot by law-enforcement officers or somehow died in police custody while none of the law enforcement officers were held accountable, though circumstances seemed to indicate that laws and/or civil liberties were violated.
Here are two things that turn my stomach about this issue:
That we live in a country where one group of people feels as though it's necessary to say out loud that their lives matter.
There is an even larger group of people that is offended by that statement, often stating in reply that "All Lives Matter" - this response has an almost fifth-grade "I know you are but what am I" tone to it.
I feel certain that if there were massive amounts of people from all races being shot or dying in police custody, then the "All Lives Matter" movement would gain tremendous traction immediately.
But, as it stands now, there is a highly disproportionate number of people who represent only 13% of our country's population being killed as a result of interaction with law-enforcement. The proper, enlightened and decent response to someone saying "Black Lives Matter" should be "wow, why would they feel like they have to say that out loud? Of course they matter! What has gone on in their life that has made them feel that they have to say that out loud? I want to understand that".To be continued...