The chasm between police and Black Americans deepened. Suspicions intensified. Ultimately, Americans watched three days of living horror. Citizens now ask, “Can Americans be pro-police and pro-Black? Many think not. Yet out of our national despair, we must grasp for a glimmer of hope.
Surely we can comprehend the unacceptable consequences of killing one another. Hopefully, we will summon the courage to address two issues: our prejudices and our hate talk. Both scream for reform.
If we want our nation of values to survive, we must relinquish our ill-thought-out biases. Do we want to be stubbornly “right” or do we want to heal as a nation? The drumbeat goes both ways. Police fear Blacks and the Black communities suspect that all law officers are out to get them. Both groups can claim partial truths. Both alliances must also admit falsehoods. In truth, good and courageous individuals exist in both camps.
Our state of affairs requires going beyond mere tolerance of one another. Coupled with new ways of thinking, we must also relinquish hate talk. This includes listening to news media messages that power discord. Yes, words do count and become springboards for horrendous battles. Rants about police and stories about dangerous Blacks must end. Spouses, next-door neighbors, ministers, news programs, and especially politicians must be admonished and rejected when they spread rumors with fear-filled threats.
Perhaps all of us cling to some favorite prejudices. Making others wrong has become a national pastime for news and for individuals. Exchanging convictions of “wrongness” for acceptance will not be easy. Yet, the choice seems crystal clear: we hate one another and tear the nation to bits, or we allow a notion of acceptance to ferment in our thoughts. Do we want to be “right” or do we want to be happy? Happiness requires being pro-police AND being pro-Black.