As a mixed American, I feel I have a lot to say about the outrage from George Floyd’s murder. Some good things, some things that people might not agree with, and even some things that could offend. This day in age, it’s hard not to offend someone, but the best course of action is to respect a different opinion and move on.
The U.S. is the home of the free, not the home of the peaceful, and not the home of the fair. In my mind, that means anyone and everyone has a right to share their opinion with whomever will listen, as long as they remain law abiding. Even the hatred of racism should have a safe place to continue within our country, because people should have the freedom to believe what they want. If the goal of the BLM movement is to eliminate racism in our country, they might find that the opposing side has a similar goal.
Every coin, every story, every war has opposing sides, and when we’re dealing with such a large amount of opinions and emotions, neither side will completely eliminate the other. These “warring” factions, Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter, or the people vs. the government, should not be there to derail or impede the other side. These groups should exist to empower and educate.
The thirteenth amendment technically ended slavery, but what it really did is change the terms in which a person can be enslaved, from any person of color, to any criminal. Before I was born, there were major shifts in the economy of this country, from the ending of slavery to yellow journalism, to the war on drugs, and in my 30 years of living, I have felt the effects and seen the outcome of all of that.
I’ve been jailed for the smallest offenses, which I believe were racially motivated. Then, while in jail, I had very little say in what I ate or when I slept. It’s not a communion, it’s a jail. I’ve had a gun pulled on me three times in my life, which is pretty high I’d think for a 30-year-old, and every time it was by a police officer. While I think the media would have everyone believe you’re more likely to be held at gunpoint by a drug dealer or drug user than an officer of the law.
Being mixed, I was the center of a lot of discrimination. When I was younger, there was a stigma for dating outside of your race, and as a child ,sometimes you don’t understand the rules, but you just go along with them. Well, I had to constantly prove myself worthy of whichever race of woman I was courting. By being more “book smart” or more “street smart.” This was not the case 100% of the time, but I was very used to it by the time I grew up.
Also, friendships are much different. Growing up in Minneapolis, I had predominately black friends and they all considered me “the white boy.” I knew that, because they all openly called me that. And even if it had some negative connotation, it would never amount to the raw hatred I’ve felt from actual racist people.
Now, as an adult, I have accepted that both my white friends and my black friends treat me different, selectively. So, if my white friends have a “black” question or if my black friends have a “white” question, I’m the guy they’ll ask.
Our country has flaws, and if we continue to let people exploit these flaws, we will never get out of the circle of injustices we’ve seen for the last few hundred years. In the end, I hope I’ve educated the readers of this article to be a better person of any race. Race is not a choice and it’s not a handicap or an advantage. The best thing to do for any group of people is to learn for themselves and then re-educate the people around them. Ask yourself, how did my country get this way?
If you don’t know the following terms, or people, please research them and educate yourself as well:
Qualified Immunity (legal doctrine that protects government officials)
Southern Strategy (a political tactic used during the Nixon admin)
Hypersegregation (the new form of segregation)
Yellow Journalism (type of literature that spread fear and hate)
Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, and Fred Hampton. These 3 people were heavily involved in the creation of the BPP (Black Panther Party). If you don’t know the story of the rise and fall of the BPP, find out. The black community has never had such a powerful group before or since the BPP, for a reason.
This opinion piece was written by LAWA member, Matt Black.
It was written upon our request, and in response to how we, as a small central Minnesota nonprofit organization, can help to highlight diversity and support our membership more fully.