It seems to be true, if you are Black or Hispanic, you have been brought up with a different set of rules. I have known friends and employees who were brought up to keep a low profile in Public. They told their children and grandchildren to walk and never run in Public, to be dressed “properly”. I thought we had moved beyond racism, but the statistics and the facts confirm that we are still confronting our racist past.
Do I think Body Cameras on Police will provide a more accurate account of events, yes! However, to overcome the tendency to react in contentious situations, a system of “trust” and Community participation should be encouraged. The Camden chief of Police stated on “Face the Nation” Sunday , “he’s developing a culture of trust between the Police and the Community they serve”. It seems so simple, like the days of old, Cops walked the beat and got to know the people and kids. Understanding each other breaks down barriers and promotes cooperation and “good” behavior on all sides. It’s not easy to think before reacting, but the training is sorely lacking. We’re talking about the health and well being of “our Citizens”, we’re not talking about the use of “over whelming force”.
Can we overcome our feelings about “fear” of the other. I think so. One way I would propose, would be mandatory Community Service or Military service after High School for all of our kids. Their choice in their selection of service, to be compensated in a variety of ways: tuition, internships in industry, apprenticeships; the list is endless and would include appropriate compensation. Admittedly, I haven’t thought through the actual mechanism. However, the concept would allow all our kids equal opportunity and exposure to kids from all strata of Society; Which reminds me that ” Stratification of the classes “is something we lost and should be re-instated! When that happens both inequality and racism may be reduced?
It is my feeling that our State of Inequality, the stresses on the population, on the Police and our citizens is overwhelming. As a nation, it is our responsibility to balance the scales of Justice. We cannot have Law for a few without Justice. That’s why I continue to propose Community Service for all, after high school graduation. When you become part of a larger group, the goal is more important then any single person. By working together, the fortunate and the less fortunate can forge life long bonds of friendship independent of the “accident” of one’s birth. I’ve seen this happen with my grandchildren, they have a rainbow colored group of friends interacting daily on the sports field and in school and out of school.
I, too, was fortunate to be exposed to every immigrant group arriving in America. My Father’s shop, he was a Union Flooring contractor, attracted the Norwegian’s, Albanians and Estonian’s after WWll. The next wave of immigrants were the Italian’s and the Jamaican’s. The third wave consisted of American’s: African American’s and Polish American’s , Irish American’s and those who ceased to think about their ancestry! The last wave, under my stewardship, were the Hispanics and a Turkish group of Floor layers. All of our employees were hard working or they weren’t employed for long. But everyone was considered part of our family. We exchanged stories. We cried with our employees when they were sad and we laughed with them during good prosperous times. We never lost sight of everyone’s humanness. Perhaps that’s why we got along. We were an integrated society without knowing that it was a “big” deal. We worked towards a common goal: Making enough money to support “our” shop and assuring a decent wage for our workers. Many times I declined salary for myself rather then deprive workers of their daily earnings.
It never occurred to me, that I had to be poor to feel the pain and suffering of others. Only an impoverished “spirit”, has no compassion for others. To be human is to feel appropriate emotion at all times. We feel outraged when Justice is denied to anyone, independent of their status. However, if Justice is Blind to some groups and not others, that is a condition that cannot be tolerated. Like our State of Inequality, Justice demands fair laws and thoughtful execution of those laws. As we begin to tackle the concept of racial inequality, perhaps we will also acknowledge our State of Inequality and begin to search for solutions that will make our world safer and more just for all!
I have read several articles on Race and inequality , but was moved by Charles Blow’s analysis. Please do read and comment. Let’s continue the conversation! Thank you dear readers.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/08/opinion/charles-blow-from-eric-garner-and-michael-brown The energy pouring into the streets is diffuse and organic, but powerful.