The One Thing We Can Do To End Violence On Both Sides Is Recognize Our Bias
When I turned on my local news last night to the headline that gun fire and violence had broken out at a protest that I wanted to attend, I was not rejoicing. The feeling of neither victory nor satisfaction was felt.
Sadness, disappointment and confusion were the emotions that were running through my body. I felt sad for the families who had lost a family member because of hate, I felt disappointed in the people who genuinely thought this would solve any issues we have and I felt confused about the next steps we needed to take.
A history blemished with inequality and injustice seemed to be finally catching up to us.
As an African American woman who knows her history, who has seen and experienced racial profiling and who has to fight back tears every time another viral video of an innocent black person being killed or harassed surfaces, my honest first reaction to the attack in Dallas was not exactly sympathetic.
While it is never my desire for another human life to be lost, anger and frustration can cloud this. When you watch over and over people like you dying for no reason at all, you begin to hate the killer, even more so when you have to fear for yourself and your family.
When you go to sleep with the image of a man's blood spilling out of his body and then wake up to the same image of a different man, you are angry. You carry the burden of these deaths because you realize it could have been you, your brother, your cousin or your best friend.
But just like me, the innocent cops who were killed and injured were carrying a burden. They carry the burden of every cop who has murdered an innocent man, every cop who has racially profiled someone and every cop who has ignored their duty to protect and serve their community. With that being said, I cannot feel like justice has been served just because these police officers' lives were taken like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. To be happy about that would be completely inhumane.
There is a lot of history between the African American community and police officers, history that seems to be replaying itself right in front of us. Because of this, I understand the anger felt, and I feel it myself. But, I also understand that feeling of frustration that the good police officers in this country must feel. They are constantly up against a negative stereotype that perhaps they do not fit.
But, I've learned it doesn't matter if you are a perfect citizen. A prejudiced police officer is only going to see one thing, and that is the color of your skin.
It doesn't matter if you are a fair and just police officer. A fed up African American is only going to see one thing, and that is your badge.
We are all so overcome with our own frustrations, hurt and pain that we become blind to one of the most important things. We are all humans. We all have stories, we all have families and we all have friends.
Most importantly, in this country, we all have the right to life. We as a country have never taken the time to try to understand the other side. Instead, we hone in on ours and promote it with immeasurable passion in little regard to anything else.
So, as an African American woman, I first and foremost support Black Lives Matter. But as a Dallas citizen, I also support Blue Lives Matter.