Surprise: We have a race problem in America.

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster. I watched two videos of black men being shot and killed by police. The videos were so graphic and so real, I felt my heart drop, and my mind race. The thought of being in a situation where one small move means the end of my life at the hands of those entrusted to protect and serve? Gut wrenching. But the truth is, as a white man, that situation will probably never present itself to me.

About 10 years ago, I was robbed at gun point. Three friends and I were in Indianapolis attending a concert, and on the way back to the car, two men came out of the bushes with hand guns drawn. We gave them everything we had, waited, and called the police. Yes, they were black men. But… does that mean that I should fear all black men now? Should my instinct be to cower when a black man approaches?

Of course not.

Some will argue that, statistically speaking, a little over half of homicides are committed by black people, which means that they are roughly 8 times more likely to be homicide offenders than white people. So… does that mean ALL black people should be assumed armed and dangerous? Statistics also show that homicide rates have gone down significantly since the 90’s. But… statistics also show that white people are more likely to carry out terrorist attacks in the US. Should all white people be suspect? It doesn’t seem that they are. Black male teens are 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than white men are.

For some reason, any discussion of this is viewed as anti-police. The fact is, many police are just not well trained in deescalation of situations, and many have a built in fear of black people. After all, statistics, right? We need for our police to understand that black people are just like other people. And police, just like anyone else in this world, have a built in fear of what they don’t understand.  The difference is, most people don’t have guns drawn when faced with that which they don’t understand.

We have a systemic issue that needs addressed. I would hope that it would be our police departments leading that charge.


Share this post: