It’s Not Us Against Them
Sometimes volatile situations can make it hard for people to realize that everyone is not their enemy.
Although all may have not had similar run-ins with police officers, not understanding the Black experience when it comes to law enforcement does not necessarily make our brethren of other races our enemies or bigots.
Therefore, despite the racial tensions in our country because of the tragic deaths of Black men like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Eric Harris and Walter Scott among others, it is important that we do not add fuel to the fire of the racial powder keg that is ready to explode.
During the summer of 1963, 18-year-old Eric Kuber asked his boss if he could take off a few days so that he could attend the March on Washington according to the Washington Post.
His boss responded by asking him if he was a nigger lover, but eventually let him take the days off and still keep his job upon his return.
His boss’ inquiry was similar to the questions many Whites had about the Civil Rights Movement.
Many Whites at that time did not understand what the Black community wanted from their movement. Many thought what they were asking for was to marry their daughters and enter their families.
As a result, the six Black leaders (Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, John Lewis, James Farmer and A. Philip Randolph) of the March on Washington invited four liberal White leaders (a rabbi, a Catholic leader, a Protestant minister and United Automobile Workers President Walter Reuther) into the planning stages of the March on Washington.
The goal was to show them that ending discrimination against Blacks would be beneficial to the White community as well, and for them to get a better understanding of the Black plight.
Over 50 years later, when people see footage from that historic march, they see an integrated crowd. The Washington Post estimated that between 75,000 to 90,000 Whites joined hands with the predominately Black marchers that day to make history.
While it is often difficult to find common ground when there is often not a common experience, the Black and White community must work together to end police brutality because it affects all citizens, regardless of race.
Although it seems to affect Blacks at an exorbitant rate, many Whites and Latinos experience unnecessary police brutality too.
Who’s to say that the same police brutality that is ruining Black families on a regular basis won’t start happening to people of other races soon?
No one, regardless of race, wants to bury a loved one for something that could have very easily been avoided.
Furthermore, no one wants to be branded a racist just because the color of his or her skin is different than the person suffering from oppression.
Despite the difficulty, all people have to somehow come together to fix the problem.
If Whites and others do not admit that there is a problem with police brutality, nothing will ever change.
If Blacks do not realize that it is not us against them, nothing will ever change.
And if police officers do not admit that many of their colleagues are severely abusing their power and are totally out of control, they cannot expect much sympathy from oppressed communities.
When the 10 March on Washington leaders came together you had Black clergy, students and politicians combined with White clergy and businesspeople.
That open and inclusive dialogue was the catalyst for much of the change we enjoy today in comparison to the days of Jim Crow laws.
Ultimately, history is usually our best teacher. It worked for our predecessors and it will work for us if we are inclusive enough.