Battle Racist Attitudes by Focusing on The Good
We as a nation are divided along political lines, racial lines, social and economic lines, and cultural lines. But historically, as a nation, we have been more divided along racial lines.
Over the past 7 years there has been an increase in the violence and hate between blacks and whites primarily due to the killing of blacks by white police officers. Ferguson, with the killing of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, has recently reported more alleged violence against an African-American resident. This past October a young man was found hanging in his backyard. The police and media were quick to report this as a suicide (too quick). However, his mother said it was a hate crime as a retaliation against her as a Ferguson activist against injustice and racism. To really set the record straight, this incident will require a federal investigation by the Justice Department. Police were too quick to conclude this as a suicide. Due to their past record, residents and community leaders want a more thorough investigation (Can you blame them?).
Whatever the outcome of any further investigation with the Ferguson hanging, a more important investigation must take place. This investigation involves a search to find out what we can do, both black and white, to reverse the hate.
In reversing the hate, I think it’s first important to see that black radical groups respond to the evil and hate imposed upon them. They do not start the hate or evil. They do what all people do when they feel threatened. They respond. This does not justify criminal or violent behavior by any radical group, no matter who they are. But it does reflect why radical groups get started and respond to the hate and racism imposed upon them by racist whites.
During the ‘60’s, Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders proved what non-violence could do to bring about positive change. He attempted to reverse the hate not by retaliation, but through non-violence and actions of peace. One suggestion I would make along the lines of non-violence that may help reverse some of the hate, is for us as a nation to uplift the good that is done by police and blacks in communities of violence. This does not mean police and residents not be held accountable to criminal behavior. It just means there is some good in the worst of conditions. And to bring out the good between opposing forces in the midst of violence, will change attitudes about both groups.
Some police see blacks in high-crime areas as the enemy. Therefore, the value of life their lives are reduced. This gives way for police to pull the trigger upon a blink of an eye or less.
But not all police are racist or corrupt. Not all African-Americans living in high-crime and violent demographics are lazy and selling drugs. If these stereotypes are going to be changed, and corresponding attitudes, the good must be brought out about both groups. The media must help by reporting a balance between the bad and the good both police and black citizens do that patrol and live in high crime, violent communities. Maybe this uplifting of the good police and residents do, in these crime ridden areas can help reverse the hate.
Richard Dalton is a pastor and founder of the Joshua Project in St. Louis, Mo. The Rev. Dalton previously worked with community groups in the city of Chester.
Culled from Daily Times