I watched the video of the Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the neck of George Floyd. I heard George Floyd yell out, "I can't breathe!" I heard him call for his Mother. I watched him die and it was horrific. I was shaken to the core.
My heart breaks for the Floyd family and on a larger scale to all those families who have suffered at the hands of racism.
We have a racism problem in the United States. We have a police response problem to people of color in the United States. We have an equality of justice problem in the United States. We have an apathy problem in the United States from white men like me.
For the past few weeks I have been asking myself, where is the balm of Gilead? How do we fix this? How do we heal? I have come to one inconvenient conclusion; change must start with me.
The following are six actions I can do today to help change tomorrow.
- I can recognize and understand I have white privilege.
White privilege is not a negative.
White privilege does not mean I am racist.
White privilege means when I get pulled over by the police, I get a ticket.
White privilege means I don't worry about getting dragged out of the car and beaten.
White privilege means I don't worry about going to jail because I may fit a description.
White privilege means I never have to have a conversation with my children to tell them that some people will hate you because of the color of your skin. This is what it means to have white privilege.
I have white privilege.
- I can verbalize and say out loud, "Black lives matter."
I can't equivocate and say, "all lives matter" and "blue lives matter" this is a diversion. Statistics show black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by Police than are whites.
I say, "Black Lives Matter."
- I can BELIEVE black lives matter.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
This passage has come to represent a moral standard, a virtue to which the citizens of The United States should strive.
Either I am a man of virtue, of moral excellence and choose to believe black lives matter or I am not. I choose to believe. I hold these truths to be self-evident.
I believe black lives matter.
- I can take a stand and move to action.
I can use my voice to clarify, defend and speak out. I will not fear the consequences.
I will take a stand.
- I can love my neighbor.
I can reach out and engage unconditionally regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political differences.
I will love my neighbor.
- I can teach my children to do the same. Just as hate is taught so is acceptance and love.
The powerful admonition of acceptance must survive generationally.
I will teach my children.
I am not naive. Systemic racism is a cancer that will take generations to end, if it can end at all. I'm not worried about the odds. I choose to take a stand because we are endowed by our Creator that ALL men are created equal. And when my judgment day comes and I am asked, "What did you do for your fellow man?" I can answer unequivocally, "I am my brother's keeper, I fought for him."