Why I’m a Racist…

IMG_3037I am a white american male. I’m married to a beautiful blond-haired green-eyed woman and have two amazing blond-haired blue-eyed boys.  I was a blond-haired blue-eyed child who grew up in suburban New Jersey in a solid family with a mother, a father, a brother and two dogs. I lived a life marked by opportunity and forgiveness; and while I may not have always had “much”, I have always had the benefit of the doubt.  I was raised to treat everyone equally, regardless of race, or any other demographic for that matter. And while my town may have been predominantly white, I certainly didn’t grow up isolated from other races and cultures.  But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I’m probably still a racist.  I don’t mean racist like a hate filled bigot who dehumanizes and devalues the lives of others based on skin color.  I mean that I am uncomfortable with, ignorant of and distant from racial inequalities that exist in my country. It is okay for me to admit this.  It doesn’t make me evil, it makes me ready for change.  This admission took two things: research and honesty.  Over the last couple of years I have read, watched, listened to and participated in countless discussions on the topic coming from a broad range of sources.  Through this process I was able to realize the aforementioned realities. Which is great for me, but for purposes of this post, let’s unpack them a little.

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I am uncomfortable with racial inequalities that exist in my country. I live my life day in and day out and only rarely am I forced to confront these realities. Certainly the media, social and otherwise, shine a light on the issue, but that is not what I mean.  Reading a powerful blog post or an inspiring tweet does not constitute confronting anything.  What I mean is that when I get pulled over, shop in a store, go for a job interview, meet a new person for the first time, etc… I expect to be judged by who I am.  Yes, I am tattooed and bearded so I’m sure that on occasion someone generalizes about me, but I don’t worry about it because I know that once they get to know me they will move beyond those judgements. And I assume that they will eventually get to know me, because even with their judgement, they will give me the benefit of the doubt.  I live my life benefiting from other people’s glass walls.  That is simply not true for people of color.  They are forced to confront it every single day.  Perhaps not in an overtly bigoted and hateful way (although I’m sure that happens too), but in the “deficit of the doubt.”  The security guard that makes a mental note that they are there, the woman who locks her car door as they walk by, and yes, the times they get pulled over for driving while black. (No matter how much or how little you think that happens, we all know it happens.)  So you see, while I am very uncomfortable when forced to confront a terrible reality that I can generally avoid, my friends and neighbors of color are forced to confront it every day.  Consequently, they have formed a thicker skin to the subject and are more free to discuss it.  This can easily be misunderstood as being rash or aggressive because it creates an uneasy feeling in me. Let me put it this way: we all have that person in our lives who always manages to say the one thing that makes everyone in the room uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a friend or coworker, maybe it’s your cousin or your sister-in-law; whoever it is, our attitude is generally that it is their problem.  We feel like they are doing something to us, because we are feeling uncomfortable with what they are saying or doing, rather than taking responsibility for our own feelings.  Until I can acknowledge that I feel more uncomfortable talking about racial inequality than people who have been forced to deal with it every single day of their lives, I will never be able to get over myself enough to be a part of the solution.  And if I’m not a part of the solution, I’m a part of the problem.

I am ignorant of the racial inequalities that exist in my country.  I was recently watching a Sunday service from North Point Church.  In the service the lead pastor, Andy Stanley, invited two African American men who were also christian leaders to be a part of a discussion about recent events and racism in general in this country.  They both explained the reality that they were taught how to behave if they ever got pulled over by the police. wallet They talked about it as if it was just another part of growing up.  An obvious lesson like don’t drink and drive or always pay your bills.  This may not seem so strange until they described exactly what they meant by “how to behave if you ever get pulled over”.  One of men relayed that he was taught that you never reach for your wallet.  Now, I understand that if you are being addressed by a police officer you don’t want to be erratic or make any sudden moves, but the degree to which this lesson was ingrained in him as an African American young man was startling.  It ran so deep in his heart that when he heard about recent events he admitted that there was a part of him the thought to himself, “Why’d you reach for your wallet? You know you’re not supposed to reach for your wallet.”  I will teach my boys to always be respectful of police. I will teach them not to resist or run if addressed by police and to always be upfront and honest, but I will not have to teach them not to reach for their wallet.  I cannot imagine feeling like I have to teach my children how to protect themselves from the people who are meant to protect them.  If ignorance is defined as lack of knowledge, education or awareness then I most certainly ignorant of the racial inequalities that exist in our country.  The beautiful thing about ignorance, though, is that it is easily remedied; but not without willingness and intention.  There is a video that has been circulating recently showing several people sitting in a diner, all of whom are white except one.  The waitress comes out and brings all the white patrons pie.  The African American man then asks the waitress, “Where’s my pie?” to which the other patrons respond, “Why are you making such a big deal? All pie matters.”  It is meant to illustrate the tension between #blacklivesmatter & #alllivesmatter.  I think it is an excellent illustration except that it misses one of the most important factors.  It would have been for more accurate if the white guys who had received their pie were blind-folded.  Because whether or not we mean to, most of us are blind-folded to the things that people of color deal with every day.  That is not our fault, but whether or not we stay that way is on us.

My discomfort and my ignorance can be attributed primarily to one thing: I am distant from the racial inequalities that exist in my country.  I live in New Jersey.  I am not someone who has gone their whole life without interacting with people of color.  I am not someone who is solely informed by the media in regard to cultures and races outside my own.  I have friends, coworkers, neighbors, mentors and family members who are people of color but I am still distant from the racial inequalities that mark their lives.  I have never made it a secret that I was a “rebellious youth”.  And by that I mean that I was a criminal.  I made very bad decisions and did a lot of awful things.  Some things that I will never be able to fully make amends for.  I have, however, never spent more than a weekend in jail.  I have always attributed the reality that I am a free man to God protecting me and allowing me to learn my lesson without prison time.  I still absolutely know that to be true.  However, I have to acknowledge that my “get out of jail free cards ” came, at least in part, due to my ability to catch a good sunburn in 15 minutes.  I also regularly share with people how grateful I am for all of the opportunities I have been given to do things I really wasn’t qualified for.  I have been allowed behind the scenes in a lot of situations that shaped who I am and developed me in my field with no explainable reason.  While I will never really know for sure, I have to wonder if my experience would have looked the same way if I didn’t.  The “deficit of the doubt” that people of color experience throughout their lives is something that I am only beginning to understand.  And that understanding is really only an intellectual one.  It is often said that the greatest distance in the world is 18″, the distance from your head to your heart.  I will always remain distant from the deficit of the doubt until I allow it be hit close to my heart.  The question then is: How?

Know someone.

I don’t mean know someone in that way that white people tend to reference when racism comes up in conversation.  That, “One of my best friends is black” way.  I mean I have to enter in.  I have to make it my business to overcome my uncomfortability;  I have to be intentional about educating myself and raising my awareness so that my ignorance can diminish; and I have make it personal.  I need to let my heart break at the fact that there are people in this country who do not receive the benefit of the doubt, ever.  I need to care enough to do something.  Something more than just write a blog post or share a powerful video clip.  I have to build genuine relationships with people of color and stop the whole ridiculous “I don’t see color” BS.  I need to see color and learn to appreciate it for what it is.  I need to allow myself to participate in and grow from and enjoy a culture that is not my own.  One that has its pluses and minuses like all others.  I need to be willing to get close enough to applaud when there is a victory, mourn when there is a loss and call it out when there is a shortcoming. I need to actually see my brothers and sisters of color as family.   I have a certain degree of power and privilege because of my skin color.  That is not something I need to feel guilty about.  I didn’t ask for it or seek it out, but I have it.  The responsibility for having it isn’t on me; but the responsibility for what I do with it is.

 

 

 

 

380 thoughts on “Why I’m a Racist…

  1. Jack

    You express a lot of what I fail to be able to form into a cohesive chain of words.

    Thank you.

    Some snippets that stood out:

    ‘Until I can acknowledge that I feel more uncomfortable talking about racial inequality than people who have been forced to deal with it every single day of their lives, I will never be able to get over myself enough to be a part of the solution. And if I’m not a part of the solution, I’m a part of the problem.’

    And

    ‘I have a certain degree of power and privilege because of my skin color. That is not something I need to feel guilty about. I didn’t ask for it or seek it out, but I have it. The responsibility for having it isn’t on me; but the responsibility for what I do with it is.’

    Liked by 8 people

    Reply
    1. Rosie Fabre

      Men remember something……at the end of our lives……Eyes color skin color with money or without money will not be important at all. What will be important is…..Where do you going…..Where do you be? in heaven or in hell. The most important thing is ETERNITY and you only obtain that accepting Christ as your savior!!!! God bless you

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Vanessa Williams

        While that’s all well and good, it is 100% dismissive of the suffering people of color, and black people in particular experience on a daily basis. Just because we may receive a reward in heaven doesn’t mean it’s okay to shrug your shoulders about human suffering on earth. If that were true, there would be no such thing as sin mentioned in the Bible. No Golden Rule. No need for us to abide by the law. So with all due respect, you can keep your comment to yourself. You aren’t helping anyone. When God asks you why you turned a blind eye to your brother’s suffering what will you say? Oh well God, when I watched them beat and kill that man I figured Oh well he’s going to either Heaven or Hell and that’s all that matters. So I kept walking.

        So if you aren’t going to contribute to the conversation/solution. Shut your mouth please, Rosie.

        Liked by 9 people

      2. Jennifer

        This is actually a reply to Vanessa. Rosie did not say or even imply that we should stand idly by and let “God’s will” be done in the here and now. I cannot abide someone who advocates a laissez-faire attitude to the ills of the here and now, especially because I believe this is all there is. I see nothing to suggest the possibility of life after death, so what we do in this life to protect, celebrate, and care for others is all that matters. Yes, we are all inherently of equal value, but acknowledging that fact does very little to address the realities of suffering caused by a society that does not reflect this innate egalitarianism. Rosie’s comment was perhaps ineffectual, but not mean-spirited. It is vital that people understand why saying ‘all lives matter’ is dismissive and counter-productive. It is also important to remember that some very good people, simply may not have thought the platitude through or looked at it from a particular perspective. If someone refuses to acknowledge the necessity of BLM, then a harsher stance is often necessary. But coming right out of the gate with “shut your mouth” is a bit much for someone who essentially said nothing more than we should treat each other as the equals that God intends us to be. I’m an atheist, but I understood the sentiment. #BlackLivesMatter

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      3. Matt

        @Vanessa Williams – I’m not going to sling mud, or get angry (as these two things tend to escalate both in comments on the internet and at ‘peaceful’ demonstrations), but I am going to ask that you re-read Ms. Fabre’s post, and then reflect on your response. If nothing else, you should applaud her attempt to appeal to the religious folks out there to do the right thing. I would agree that that Rosie did, in fact, suggest that the only avenue to salvation is to accept Christ as your savior, so realistically, your only argument with her would be that she was excluding a large population in her suggestion.

        That said, I didn’t receive anything in Rosie’s post that suggested she’s turning a blind eye (or that anyone should or would), but that those that believe in redemption should have lived a life worthy of the reward (or consequence). While you took from the post that those seeking eternal life should ignore the problem at hand and let the world collapse around them, I read that we should all treat each other in the manner Christ’s life demonstrated.

        While I welcome the rationale, I can only presume that your perspective on religion (or Christianity, perhaps) dictated your response. Anti-religious comments represent just as plainly the divisive and confrontational hyperbole that perpetuates the race conversation – and reality – as well. I wish you well, and I sincerely hope you can see the actual intention based on the entire context of the post to which you responded.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Bruce Ettman

        Using an honest, moving essay about someone’s self-reflection as he tries to understand what others go through so that we can all work together to eradicate the hatred, bigotry and inhumanity that is ever-present around us is demeaned by your bigoted message that goodness is somehow defined by an acceptance of Christianity. Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and others share and understand and empathize and try to help and fight against unfairness, injustice and inhumanity and work to be an example to others. Your rant is insulting and offensive to those ideas. You clearly have a belief system that one type of person (Christian) is better than others — a belief system that is diametrically opposed to the message of the essay — a belief system that breeds the hatred, divisiveness and bigotry the writer (and all good people) seek to eliminate. It’s time people like you who clothe their bigotry in the name of Christianity (or any other religion) learn that you are the cause of the problem, not the solution. If you are not willing or mature enough to share your heart and mind with people who have different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds as equals to you and without claiming that your belief system is superior, stay away from those of us who are. You are just getting in the way.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. rolen

        Is there a halfway house to eternity where the millions who never heard of Jesus get a no brainer Sunday school class to accept him as their savior and passport to eternity. The very fact that you would post such exclusionary drivel shows a lack of understanding about your own God.

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      6. Carol Angela

        Rosie…stay on topic of inherent racism. Stop interjecting religion. We are not all Christians and resent this kind of assumption and unwanted pressure. The vital issue is recognition, empathy, education in matters of skin color. Praying and wishing will get us nowhere.

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      7. Joseph Scott Jr.

        Much respect to Mr. Cook for his words and sentiments. The global issue which is the racial divide is one of a magnitude and complexity that has to be resolved from the inside out; which means once someone like Jeff Cook, a Caucasian man, recognizes and questions what he has, which is his “white privilege; and once an African man here in America, such as myself recognizes and questions why we are in the condition we are in as a people, I believe it is our duties, mutually, to act on our questions; investigate, research and discover what are the dynamics that have put us at the extreme opposite ends of the social and economic ladder here in America. In order to do this; along with the questions, investigating, research and discovering, we must recognize our findings, acknowledge the rationality in the information we discover, and reveal the truths we discover within our history and existence during our time here on Earth.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Judy

      Thank you for being exactly who you are and for inviting so many of us in with this article. It is always nice to see that people can look any kind of way that is different from us, yet still support us and our struggle. The world would be a much better place if more people, whatever color, thought like you.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Jackelyn Clarke

        Thank you. This is one of the most positive uplifting honest posts I’ve ever had the benefit of reading and at the end respect it mostly because of the HONESTY….I may add that one thing I always feel anoid about is the fact that people of color REARLY get the BENEFIT of their labour or efforts. Success is always because we stole it, begged for it or received it out of pity. ..case in point “affirmative action”. The great things we do are usually belittled, berated then STOLEN only to have it pop up as a great success with the credit being given to someone else….and no….not to anoher person of color. For that we have had to highlight our own successes and be branded as RACISTS. It defies logic!!!! We are great we are excellent at what we do and should be credited for it.

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      1. Tao

        Good article: The pie analogy is wrong. BLM is not about what all of us have or not. Rather than serving pie, if the waitress came out and killed every patrons wives Then police investigated all murders except for the black murder. BLM is about justice. No one is saying that. All murder is wrong, but not all are investigated nor justly tried.

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    3. Donald charles

      I appreciate the kind words coming from others that are not my skin color..racism seems turned to be tasks to do like a homework..how is that wille ever change..the heart of knowing that your just like me no matter what color you are will make difference..even those who wants to make a change are still using racism and differentiate themselves from blacks…for example what do you mean by “people of color”…is there a normal color and and abnormal color..why do black have to be classified as ppl of color..why can just be classified as I’m black , your white or yellow or Green..im guessing black ppl are ppl of color and white ppl are ppl of non color like white is a color that everyone should be or something…

      We need to watch the words we use cuz we will still imprint racism mentally unconsciously.

      Donald

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      Reply
    1. Zaida Monconduit

      Is this the title of a book or Article or is this your opinion? If this is your opinion then maybe you need to read or reread the article. It’s talking directly to you. If it’s a book or article thank you for letting me know it exist. I will find and read. If it’s your opinion that you are sick of hearing about racism, then I assume you are white. Just think about the people who live racism everyday. But I guess you don’t wont to do that since your sick of hearing about rascism. You would rather not hear about it and stick your head in the sand and be the first one to say it doesn’t exist. You turn a blind eye to injustice. It’s because of people like you that it does exist and why things will never change. When you block out reality and don’t want to hear about it you are part of the problem.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Barbara Gorman

        It is the title of an article, by a white person as you assumed, but it doesn’t really seem to say anything. The author’s premise is that racism against black people in this country can be disproven by the number of black people who have risen to positions of celebrity or political success. He (I assume) also quoted statistics about things like “black-on-black” crime, but I don’t think his statistics are correct, or perhaps they are merely taken out of essential context and thereby rendered meaningless. Naturally he does not bother to name his sources; perhaps his numbers are entirely made up. But he never says anything that works toward proving his point. Signed by a white middle-aged woman living on a fixed income in a historically black community (if it matters).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lynn

        You seem to think racism doesn’t happen to other colors an whites. Sorry to burst your bubble but there is.

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      3. Heard It All Before

        Barbara Gorman, not only do I give my sources, they’re linked so you can read them for yourself. They’re from the NYPD, FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice (via Wikipedia). I also say sure there’s racism, and there’s also a heck of a lot of safeguards. You can call me blind and bitter, but you can’t explain how there’s “systemic racism” when our twice-elected black president, many of our mayors and chiefs of police are black. However, it wasn’t my goal to hijack discussion of this guy’s article. Comment on Medium!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Makar72

        Heard It All… User name is a farce… seems like you have heard it all but you have not understood any of it. Sometimes listening is all that is necessary. The guy who wrote this article might be one of the most self-aware people I have ever encountered. Your response is the classic default rebuttal response bent on countering the argument presented. It never really acknowledges any true understanding of the situation. You gloss over it all, yet want others not hear you. I can’t so we just stare each other down with no progress. I guess that is where we leave it.

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    2. Jennifer

      Oh my gosh. you are sick of hearing about racism?! That must be tough; having to endure hearing about the suffering of others! I think you deserve a day at the spa to help you cope. Racism exists. It is something humanity must address! If you don’t feel up to participating in the betterment of the world then that’s your decision, most likely one coming from a position of callousness, ignorance and/or privilege. If you are sick of hearing about racism, why are you reading pieces on racism, contributing your (and I’m being generous here) two cents, and posting other pieces about racism? That seems to suggest a definite interest in the subject. Maybe you should move to a small deserted island with no phone or internet, either that or act like a grown up and help the rest of us address the very real issue of racism.

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    3. Jackie Hogan

      I read the above article (I’m Sick of Hearing About Racism) until I couldn’t read it any more. Why do you believe everything that supports your prejudices without an ounce of skepticism? Did you research any of those statistics? Did you wonder about why those statistics would be true/false? Just recently I was listening to a recording of President Reagan on how to handle riots. And he said “Why do you give way to protesters? It only teaches young people that they can choose which laws they follow.” Now that, to me is the problem. It seems to me that the Police in our country get to choose which laws they want to follow. In many cases they do not follow the law when arresting and charging and detaining minorities. Have you ever put yourself in the skin of another person and wondered what it would be like to grow up with society always judging you according to (not what is true) what they believe to be true? School yourself.

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      Reply
      1. Heard It All Before

        Jackie, please give me some ideas on how numbers from the FBI and U.S. Dept. of Justice — organs of the government headed by our black president with a black attorney general — are wrong. I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.

        Have I put myself in the skin of another person? I can’t do that (I’m not Ed Gein), but how about this: I bet at least part, maybe all, of your school years were spent in the era of segregation. My schooling was entirely in the era of desegregation. Also, I don’t know where you live, but 31% of the population of my state is black. So yes, I have many black friends, have had many black co-workers and bosses. Did you see where I also learned about MLK every year in school, watched “Roots,” and read Malcolm X’s autobiography? I’ve probably got more first-hand experience with black people and culture than you do (probably).

        I’m sure you’re a nice lady, but I think you and some of the other commenters are of the Woodstock generation and never got beyond it. Others like Jennifer are Millennials who still don’t know what’s going on and rely on what their teachers have told them. You guys fit my description of the people who enjoy being “saviors.”

        I find your narratives to be problematic, so I will retreat to my safe space so you can educate yourselves about microaggressions. Good day.

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    4. Frank Ringhofer

      That article is totally pointless, and you’re horrible for sharing it. Of course that person is sick of hearing about racism, because he or she doesn’t want to do anything about it. And apparently he/she thinks that because the people pictured succeeded, the racism that still exists is “manageable”. Well, too bad; you’re goung to keep hearing about it untilit ends, which will not be in your lifetime, but maybe your grandkids’.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Charlotte Holmes

    I appreciate your post. I am intrigued by the title, because you chose to use that term. I get frustrated with the improper use of the term “racist.” I learned a specific nuance years ago in a diversity training that made it clearer for me. All people of all races possess prejudices; racism is prejudice + power. Racism is power based and actually has roots in economics. I needed this clarification to facilitate discussions on this difficult topic in the work place.

    Aside from that, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Hopefully it will initiate more dialogue in our communities.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. rebeccalynnecook

      Drew Hart makes a helpful distinction between “old school” racism and “new school” racism. Old school is blatant racist behavior. New school is the implicit, subconscious and often unrecognizable racism. “Traditionally in dominant culture, racism is thought of primarily as individual prejudice or hatred from one person to another. This is the most prevalent understanding of racism in our society today and it is also reflected in many English dictionaries. I often say that the English dictionary is a mirror into how we use language, but it isn’t always necessarily the best way to use the language.

      For example, since we use “google” as a verb, or because “selfie” has become popular language, you can see that reflected in English dictionaries. Similarly, how we commonly talk about racism is also reflected in many of our dictionaries. But there is a thicker definition and way of understanding racism than merely as racial prejudice and hatred. If one were to turn to the sociology department, and particularly critical race studies, one would find a much more comprehensive understanding of racism that takes into consideration the widespread racial patterns in society, as well as with a view towards how race and racism developed and grew in western society.

      That broader and thicker understanding of racism, and particularly the significance of racial hierarchy that unconsciously plagues our everyday lives is something we have yet to fully grasp and work through…”

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. thiswebsitesucks76

        The fact of the matter is, he picked the word he did to get clicks on his blog. The current definition of racist in the dictionary is a person who believes one race is superior to another. His article has nothing to do with that definition. There are plenty of other words that more accurately describe and convey the issues he is dealing with. But they are not button words, so of course he didn’t use them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. beyondtheglasswall Post author

        In part, you are right. I chose a title that I hoped would get people to read it. But primarily I chose the title because it was genuinely how I felt when I wrote it and I am not in the practice of choosing titles based on others’ ability or inability to connect the dots. I appreciate your comments and very much appreciate you giving of your time to read it, but I would have to ask, is THAT the thing that really sticks with you?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. wise wunn

      *****EVERYONE HAS THE POWER TO BE RACIST, UNLESS THEY LOST THEIR MIND*****

      RACISM is a mindset not a social, economic, or political position of power. It stems from hatred combined with a God complex, such as each culture claims to be the chosen people of earth and created in THEIR God’s image when the total opposite are the Facts of the situation. Each culture created their God in their own image. Those with hate established religion & Laws to justify evil from assault, battery, imprisonment, rape, robbery, enslavement…. all the way up to murder. Just as many think Terrorists are powerful groups which commit mass murder, when most Terrorists don’t use physical force. The Root of Terrorism is not physical destruction it’s the torment, degredation, & fear planted in the minds of ones enemy. Quiet Weapons for Silent Wars. So anyone has the power to think of anyone else as inferior & hate them and harm them never using physical means of oppression or violence, just because THEY THINK THAT PERSON IS A DIFFERENT RACE. That is the root & most powerful, destructive part of racism.
      The term RACE refers to groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of outward appearance. For instance, while differences and similarities in eye and hair color have not been treated as socially significant, differences and similarities in skin color have. The ancient churches of northern Europe hired scientists to find differences in human genetics and make up groups called “races” so they could separate people due to prejudice and RACISM. This system was created to put the strongest people (the original shades of Black) at the bottom of the human genetic phylum and deem them the lowest class. The system created hate and segregation among once civilized people who originally got along. While we fight each other the capitalists prosper from our poverty and death. The word RACE itself means a competition among individuals to see who is the fastest, strongest, and best at completing a task or trying to one up another human being. Races do not exist. Humans with blonde hair and blue eyes have genetic mutations which cause a total lack of melanin similar to albino humans. Blue and blonde are not colors it’s the lack thereof, people are not colors. With the exception of albino humans and blonde hair blue eyed humans with absolutely no skin pigmentation, EVERYONE is GENETICALLY DIFFERENT SHADES of BLACK (original beings, Good manifest) which there are roughly 16 shades. ,While you argue, fight, and kill each other over race, the people who benefit from it become more wealthy and more protected from harm ever coming to them or their families. SO WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR?

      RACISM:
      defined through etymology (the study of words roots and proper usage)

      RACE:
      a pseudoscience which separates groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of outward appearance alone.

      ISM:
      a belief system, school of thought, or theory pertaining to the noun it is attached to.

      I REPEAT, ANYONE WITH A MIND HAS THE POWER TO BE RACIST.
      ~W.1.S.E.2000©™~

      Liked by 1 person

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    3. Michael Verdun

      Hi Charlotte, I agree with your comment regarding Mr. Cook’s use of the term “racism” in the title of the article. It is formally “incorrect” in isolation. However, I believe his decision to do so was in the interest of the greater good. I’ve been so inspired by the literary quality of Mr. Cook’s article that I wrote a critical review specifically on the his choice of a title that clearly isnt an accurate description of his character. Please let me know your thoughts you’re motivated to share.

      After seeing the depth of his self awareness, I strongly believe that he knows that the title doesn’t apply to him, that he chose to word the title this way intentionally, and that his decision to do so is yet another example of his literary brilliance.

      By wording the title in the way that he did, he dramatically enhanced the effectiveness of this article in several ways:

      1. “Why I’m a racist” is profoundly eye catching and draws far more curiosity than any other iteration of the words or theme. It makes a reader want to discover the reasons why the author is a racist.

      2. It’s worded as a bold confession of being guilty of the worst societal sin in the world’s current political climate. As such, it instantly conveys authenticity, courage, bravery, and humility…a combination of qualities that lends the author strong credibility from the first line.

      3. It conveys the impression of him leading by example as a white person being willing to sacrifice their public image and righteous ego on the alter of societal progress and interracial unity.

      4. It guarantees the attention of any person of color who is constantly on the lookout for evidence that supports their mission to further prove the prevalence of white racism.

      5. It guarantees the attention of any white person who admires such uncommon honesty from another white person. It also guarantees the attention of white people who react in anger whenever another white person proves the prevalence of white racism and therefore validates the victimized stance of many people of color.

      6. It’s incongruent with the author’s tone of humility and respect for people of color that only increases as one progresses through the article, keeping the reader critically engaged and waiting for the part that validates the author’s declaration of being a racist. By the time a reader gets far enough into the article for it to be apparent that the author isnt a racist at all, they’re already hooked by the style and content of the author’s writing and are certain to read the article all the way through. It also increases the probability of a second reading by a person who still craves the closure of finding the part that validates the title.

      As you can see, I’m clearly a fan. Everything about this article is pure brilliance in my humble opinion. I consider myself privileged to have encountered it.

      Liked by 5 people

      Reply
      1. JB

        that review is very apt.after reading the article I realised the use of the word racist was incorrect. but what happened is that I understood clearly his use and his intention. furthermore i read it in its entirety and I couldnt stop reading. while the use was incorrect it was brilliant and truthful. thank you Mr. Cook.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Michael Verdun

        Lol sir I admire your humility, but in light of the skill evident in this masterpiece and you being its author, as well as the profound influence it has already had on so many people, I am certain that the quality of your explanation would exceed my own if you were so inclined. But I thank you for your kindness. I’m truly honored to know that I have at least done it justice.

        I’m excitedly looking forward to observing the influence of this piece as it continues to touch more and more hearts and minds around the globe. And to the glowing feedback directed at its creator that is justly deserved. Cheers to you, Mr. Cook.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. thehomefrontnm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog!!! You make excellent points and have really allowed yourself to consider the overall perspective of the issue at hand. Just because I am African-American does not mean I can speak for all African-Americans, but I believe what you speak about here is exactly what most African-Americans want to hear… honest, open conversation about the American lifestyle and how differing that can be based upon the color of your skin. I believe that there are two sides to this argument, as with any healthy debate or conversation, but the results will only make a difference if both sides are willing to hear, listen, evaluate, empathize, and make educated and honest decisions on how they will behave moving forward. This is the way this topic needs to be handled on both sides! With consideration and placing yourself in the other persons shoes! I love that you spoke on the fact that ignorance is often perceived as racism, when it in fact it is just that… ignorance. Where it creates an issue is when you are made aware of your ignorance and make the choice to fight against it because you’re afraid of what it may say about you, instead of accepting that ignorance, making a decision to educate yourself- being open to whatever you may discover about yourself inside of that education- and making a decision to change. It takes a lot to be that person and I commend you for doing so. This is what humanity looks like. Hats off to you!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. James Dossey

      The part of your reply about 2 sides to every story is well said. Since I was small, I hated being ignorant , I thought it made me seem stupid. I was taught that being ignorant was not being stupid unless the ignorance was self-imposed, becoming convinced your views are the truth at the expense of others who have different views. I pray sir that we can achieve a growing number of people who practice what you humbly describe and very soon because the alternative is terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. thehomefrontnm

        Hello James Dossey,
        Thank you. I believe that needed to be said because it is what conversation is about. That is what I love so much about beyondtheglasswall’s post… it is a great start to a wonderful conversation that needs to be had in the white and black communities. I am an African-American female who has also had to ask myself some difficult questions about the way I look at other races, and sometimes the way I may generalize the behaviors of men. Which is why I say that there are two sides. The African-American community also has some things that we need to ask ourselves about our views of 1. Ourselves and 2. white people. We too have a way of generalizing “white people” and we say things about them that if they were said about us, would be intolerable in our eyes. There is a legitimate conversation to be had here and both parties have some thinking to do. But change will only occur when both sides listen and are willing to face what may come out about yourself when all is said and done. My prayer is that we can work this out to a place of honest civility and rationality. Racism, Prejudice, etc. will never be gone forever, but it can be weakened and we can absolutely live in better harmony to one another as a human race, disregarding the differences that honestly make us special, not handicapped.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Mom

    Thank you for taking the initiative and responsibility to allow for reflection and empathy!
    I started reading because as an African American I still want to understand why some people hate for color because I wasn’t raised like that I have a very hard time understanding that. Then even the decency in me wouldn’t allow me to be rude if I disliked someone we were always taught respect is due to a dog. But I watch some people have more empathy for an animal then they do a human.

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  5. Pingback: Why I’m a Racist… | AJP's Favs

  6. Kelly Alexander

    As a relatively young gay white man who does’nt look dissimilar to you, i’ve always had relationships with black/Hisp. men who were struggling with their identity, i spent 7 years in an exclusive relationship with a black man who was model handsome, yet unappericiated, other than his paycheck and i loved and ado

    red his attentiveness. I want folks to know, LOVE SEES NO COLOUR. It’s beautiful however it comes to you. My current LOVE is a Hisp. Man in a similar loveless marriage forced on him by a non-accepting Latin society that accepts yet frowns upon gay extramarital affairs. I am in a unique place to speak out. And i intend to.

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  7. aperson4unity

    The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our GOD with all your soul, heart, body, mind and have nothing else before. Then to love your neighbor as yourself.

    To one much is given much is required.

    While you live in the skin your in and you didn’t get to choose it, it was given with many privileges only while in the earth.

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  8. Starla

    The title of the article was genius because it has the potential to pique the interest of many people on all levels, aspects and races for different reasons. I really appreciate the way this was written and I plan to share this on Facebook in hopes that everyone I know will take the time to read this very compelling and real article. The best part about this for me is that we share something in common that is most important to me which is a relationship with God. Thank you for being so vulnerable.

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Sara

    I was struck by your comment that African-Americans are more comfortable talking about race than white people are, because they have to deal with it all the time. I’m white and I’m often shy about bringing up this issue. I wish I knew how to start the conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. beyondtheglasswall Post author

      I have found (in many different situations) that if I go three questions deep before stating my take on something I’m able to have a good conversation with almost anyone on almost anything. The key is seeking first to listen. Just my thoughts.

      Liked by 7 people

      Reply
  10. wise wunn

    *****EVERYONE HAS THE POWER TO BE RACIST, UNLESS THEY LOST THEIR MIND*****

    RACISM is a mindset not a social, economic, or political position of power. It stems from hatred combined with a God complex, such as each culture claims to be the chosen people of earth and created in THEIR God’s image when the total opposite are the Facts of the situation. Each culture created their God in their own image. Those with hate established religion & Laws to justify evil from assault, battery, imprisonment, rape, robbery, enslavement…. all the way up to murder. Just as many think Terrorists are powerful groups which commit mass murder, when most Terrorists don’t use physical force. The Root of Terrorism is not physical destruction it’s the torment, degredation, & fear planted in the minds of ones enemy. Quiet Weapons for Silent Wars. So anyone has the power to think of anyone else as inferior & hate them and harm them never using physical means of oppression or violence, just because THEY THINK THAT PERSON IS A DIFFERENT RACE. That is the root & most powerful, destructive part of racism.
    The term RACE refers to groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of outward appearance. For instance, while differences and similarities in eye and hair color have not been treated as socially significant, differences and similarities in skin color have. The ancient churches of northern Europe hired scientists to find differences in human genetics and make up groups called “races” so they could separate people due to prejudice and RACISM. This system was created to put the strongest people (the original shades of Black) at the bottom of the human genetic phylum and deem them the lowest class. The system created hate and segregation among once civilized people who originally got along. While we fight each other the capitalists prosper from our poverty and death. The word RACE itself means a competition among individuals to see who is the fastest, strongest, and best at completing a task or trying to one up another human being. Races do not exist. Humans with blonde hair and blue eyes have genetic mutations which cause a total lack of melanin similar to albino humans. Blue and blonde are not colors it’s the lack thereof, people are not colors. With the exception of albino humans and blonde hair blue eyed humans with absolutely no skin pigmentation, EVERYONE is GENETICALLY DIFFERENT SHADES of BLACK (original beings, Good manifest) which there are roughly 16 shades. ,While you argue, fight, and kill each other over race, the people who benefit from it become more wealthy and more protected from harm ever coming to them or their families. SO WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR?

    RACISM:
    defined through etymology (the study of words roots and proper usage)

    RACE:
    a pseudoscience which separates groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of outward appearance alone.

    ISM:
    a belief system, school of thought, or theory pertaining to the noun it is attached to.

    I REPEAT, ANYONE WITH A MIND HAS THE POWER TO BE RACIST.
    ~W.1.S.E.2000©™~

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  11. Chris

    I am amazed at your blog, As a child growing up in my country in the Caribbean, I never encountered racism of any kind until I came to this country, and so your blog is an eye opener. Thanks.

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  12. Michael

    I generally enjoyed this post, and agree with a lot of it. But in puzzled that being taught not rondeau for your walled is an evidence of racism- I am as “white” as you, yet I have been taught the same exact lesson from very early- never reach for your wallet (or anything else), but to wait and follow a police officer’s exact instructions.

    When I was a teen, I was pulled over for basically being white in a black neighborhood (one of my best friends lived there).

    I too was brought up to not look at skin color, but a person’s character. And I have always tried to do that.

    And no, I would never claim that racism is a non-issue. It is. I’ve seen it in action, but I’ve also seen (and experienced it) first hand and know that racism is a fallen human issue, not just a white vs black one. I won’t even claim to have experienced racism for me being white anywhere near to the degree many of my Black friends have. But it does happen.

    And travel to a foreign land where your race is the minority’s, and you get to experience a bit more of what Blacks in this nation have faced. I have.

    But until we address racism as the problem it is- a matter of a broken, sinful, fallen heart that fails to see its neighbor as made in the image of God, regardless of the color of their skin, then no progress will be had.

    And double-standards of claiming racism is a one-way street will only help continue it.

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  13. Adeola Adeyemi

    First of all, there’s no such thing as a black or white person; I believe the term was introduced to express superiority as the color white often represents purity and black the opposite. Question is, are Caucasians white, answer is No! Are Africans black, Answer is, No! At best we’ll be Cream and Brown people with various shades in between. Again, is there really anything like colored people, in my opinion, Africans are the least colored people as we maintain one color through all temperature, emotions or environment. Can we say the same of Caucasians? Let’s start the cause by changing the terms used when addressing people of African descent. It amazes me to know that Caucasians don’t even see mixed race people as one or at least part of them. They have as much right to be called Caucasians as they have to be called Africans. I’m proudly African and I’m so grateful, my forefathers were not a victim of slave trade, else I’d be faced with this painful realities daily, after centuries of sweat and blood from a long line of African generations building the western world.

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  14. Jay Clark

    There is a fascinating story I think everyone would benefit from reading. It is published in a book titled The Color of Character. It was written by a friend of mine regarding his experiences with racial tensions in the 60’s and his perception of how things are today.

    “With eye-opening honesty and candor, The Color of Character is a coming-of-age tale that raises questions about the true state of race relations in America today.”

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1508955158/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_vh5IxbS76FY3K

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  15. Pingback: Posted from another blog… | PerfectClevelandDay

  16. Cferguson

    Couldn’t read full article .you seem to be somewhat conflicted,,article seems to contain a few oxy moron ideas .more convinced you are indeed a racist.I am white.

    I

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Melissa

      Then perhaps you should read the whole article before making that type of comment….or any comment for that matter. How can you judge the taste of something you didn’t actually eat?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  17. Lynn

    Why can’t everyone, no matter their race, obey the laws of this land? There is racism in EVERY color, white included. Why can’t EVERYONE treat each other not matter race with respect. No matter your color,, you must be held accountable for your actions , good or bad. Be responsible for your actions. When bad choices are made, it seems it’s always , not all the time, blamed on another race. You yourself, no one else, but yourself chose the action. Own your shit. Don’t throw it up to racism! We all are Americans. We need to come together not divided. We are more divided now than 8 yrs ago. Done. This is all my opinion. I have a rt to an opinion. Do not attack my opinion. That’s not rt. Thanks.

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    1. CreatetheLife

      We don’t receive equal treatment for the same offenses. The playing field is not even. It IS a matter of race. Last year there was a black man here in Georgia who was shot (not fatally) while reaching to get his driver’s license and registration. You can hear him ask on the video, “Why did you shoot me? I was doing what you asked!” You don’t understand because you are not black. The young white college guy recently got 3 months in jail, and 3 months probation for raping an unconscious college girl. A young black college guy just got 15 years in jail. How is that fair? Neither of them had previous criminal records. I’m waiting. Racism is a HUGE problem in this country whether or not you accept it. Those of us who live it know it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  18. OliveCarrier

    I thought ” don’t reach for your wallet” was standard advice to all sons. We drilled that into our very white-bread kids’ heads 30 years ago. As did every parent we know.

    Liked by 2 people

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  19. louiswu49

    This is what I’ve tried (and failed) to explain to friends and family members. I can’t get past their initial defensiveness. There are two types of racism. That borne of ignorance, and that borne of malice. The former is the first stage of the disease, and eminently curable provided one is willing to learn. For those afflicted by the latter, there is little hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. Philip Brown

    What you wrote, does NOT make you a racist.
    A racist is someone who unjustly condemns or looks down on another person solely because of their color.
    There is way too much abuse of the politically expedient term “racist”.
    For example, calling anyone who disagrees with something obama does, a racist. It’s absurd.

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  21. A Mother of All Trades

    You are an amazingly talented writer with such insight and beauty. I love the way you explain your ignorance and I can completely relate to you. I love the passion you have and how simply you put that ignorance is good because it means we can change. Great job!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  22. jeff gonzales

    Dude wrote a good story.lot of people saying 2 different types of racism.this is simple . a racist is full of hate. There ar a lot of people that feel similar,so simply giving this another name would be better. (Like racail ignorance)… Because although your article was good, there are gonna be other types of ( ignorant people) that might see you’re title,and then they’re ignorance may try to harm you because they are just as ignorant as you yourself say you are.just a though. Peace and love 🙂

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  23. strangethan

    I am a white man that fits many of the same social situations as the author. I could not agree any stronger with the premise of know someone. I have adopted 3 black children from foster care and it falls to me to teach my 2 sons especially, “Don’t ever reach for your wallet when getting pulled over.” It has made my skin thicker when someone tells me I should let some black family adopt these kids. Don’t be the one that says “I don’t see color or AllLivesMatter. Be the change.

    Liked by 1 person

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  24. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    You mention going to church and also being ignorant of the problems of racism. When I was a young girl at church with the service already in progress, the doors began to open and we all turned to see who was late. Everyone heard the Black man, smartly dressed in his Sunday best with his family outside, he asked politely if he could join us for services since they were traveling and didn’t want to miss out.

    My father stood up and nodded to others there as he walked to the door to answer the man as he held his hat in his hand. “No,” he said, “You’ve come to the wrong church; yours is somewhere else.” The man thanked my father in a most gracious manner and turned to leave with my dad saying nothing more.

    My father said something on his way back to his place at our pew but I cannot remember what it was. My mind was busy trying to make sense of it all; what Jesus says about love and brotherhood did not equate with what I had witnessed. While I had not understood that, I know now that that was one of my earliest questionings about race and religion and my parents and community. I left home at 17 and traveled to Germany where I read more that in my entire life. That was where I found the history of our country.

    Thank you for this post, it is so needed. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  25. Courtney Dowe

    Thank you for your vulnerability and fearless self-examination. I hope that we can all follow your lead and face the most difficult aspects of ourselves with unflinching courage.

    May you and your family continue to be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  26. mczeroxion

    Great job sir! I am glad you are educating and engaging yourself. This world is unfair and kinda of weighted to others instead of being fair to everyone. I wish more people could see that. Great read, GodSpeed, stay safe and continue to be awesome!

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  27. RetiredLeo

    Love your article and the dialogue/response you started and received. I’ll be passing this forward. As a retired LEO and a man of color I’ve taught LEO in diversity for a number of years. I would have loved to have this letter as a tool. Thanks job well done.

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  28. Jenni

    I’m a white woman with a black husband. With his help, I experienced a very similar revelation. And this was after being together for many years. It was extremely hard to admit my own ignorance. Especially considering I was raising biracial kids, but it also brought a lot of clarity and understanding. High five to you sir. For recognition and for sharing it with the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  29. Paulette Smith

    You should reconsider not counseling your children to not reach for their wallets…or make a “sudden”move toward something unseeable…depending on the situation, white people can be and are being, shot just almost as quickly.

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  30. Benita Grant

    Thank you for your transparency. It is appreciated and gives great comfort in knowing that messages like this are out there for all to see.

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  31. W

    Becoming enlightened is the gift that comes from surrendering to learning. Thanks for opening up your understanding for others to follow. As for suggestions as to How? Personal encounters are a part of the path, Perhaps even more pleasurable gains may come from discovering the wealth of literary, scientific and musical contributions of African Americans may be a good place to start. Few are aware of classical composers like William Grant Still or. Undine Moore or visual artists like Romaire Bearden, Gordon Parks the photographer. Take your kids to a black history museum, or teach them about black inventors of things they use everyday. Make it a cultural exploration as with any trip to a foreign culture without the burden of guilt or pressure to accept. Forgiveness is a clean slate. You deserve to wriite on it as you wish moving forward
    Part of not being aware of the struggle was never being introduced to the victories of fellow Americans. Treat yourself to the joys of those who overcame as well as honoring the victims sorrows. All the Best.

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  32. onehumanopinion

    I am am a white guy who was raised in a middle-class household a few decades ago. My father had that cop talk with me. “If you are pulled over you say, ‘yes, sir,’ and you say, ‘no, sir.’ You do what you are told, when you are told to do it. You roll your window down before you pull over so your hands can be on the steering wheel where he can see them at all times. If you reach for anything, ask permission first, and move slowly. They will shoot you before they even dream of letting themselves or their partner get shot.”

    Children of all colors and classes should be given this speech. A lot of cops are scared. They want to go home to their families. And if you’re black and they see you as a thug, that makes it even worse for you. But being white does not give you a free pass. Respect the cops, but fear them. They are human, scared, and armed. And some of them are just dickheads who want you to give them the smallest reason to pull the trigger.

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    1. louiswu49

      Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. I’ve seen compliance itself viewed as suspicious behavior. Point is, while the “talk” might be a unfortunate necessity now, we need to work towards a day when it isn’t. It shouldn’t be necessary to view those paid to protect us as wild, dangerous animals. Police contact shouldn’t be a crap shoot.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. onehumanopinion

        I agree. There are no guarantees. Interacting with police is dangerous even if you do everything right, especially if the cop things you and everyone with your skin color is a killer. Reaching for your wallet in front of a cop is no reason to be killed. Nobody should have to shut their mouth and swallow their pride and let themselves be treated as an inmate just to avoid being gunned down. That is not the world I want to live in and I will continue to fight to change it. But it’s the world we do live in. That’s how it is. And while we’re fighting to change it, I would love to see everyone being as safe as possible.

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