I acknowledge that the circumstances into which I happened to have been born afford me a tremendous privilege. I’ve grown up in a middle class suburb in Nassau County, Long Island. It is not mostly white, but it is mostly safe. It’s a very well mixed and diverse community and I grew up surrounded by friends and classmates who looked differently than I did and I never thought of them as anything less than my friends. My parents and family never regarded them as less. I am a white female whose upper-middle class family, provided for consistently by her ever-present blue-collar father, has always been there to support her financially and in all other ways throughout growing up. They’ve provided a stable home for all 24.5 years of my life, which gave me the ability to make the most of the A-class public education I was given in Valley Stream schools and throughout my private college education, which I paid for myself with the help of many banks and my Dad’s good name. (I will likely be paying until it’s time for my grandchildren to start thinking about college.) I work every day of my life to be a person worthy of this privilege because I know not many people in the world have it better than I do. Aside from the “female” part of my situation, I have it, basically, the best there is. I want to deserve everything I’m lucky enough to have in life.
I acknowledge that when I’m pulled over for blowing a stop sign in my suburban neighborhood at 2AM in my black SUV with dark windows, I am probably regarded differently than would be my best friend’s boyfriend, who is an amazing person and treats my friend with respect and kindness and loves her, who we share a neighborhood with, who I adore, but who happens to be a black 6’4″-ish male in his mid-twenties. This is very obviously not fair and a problem that needs to be addressed. I don’t have the answer, but I do acknowledge that there is a problem.
I acknowledge that the number of police officers and retired police officers that comprise my circle of friends and my family gives me a tremendous bias on this issue.
I acknowledge that the position I happened upon in life doesn’t give me a great deal of credibility when dealing with issues such as these; ones that concern race and economic class.
I acknowledge that the senseless loss of Black Lives in America is tragic and disgusting and I wish I knew a solution for it.
I acknowledge that, sadly, racism and hate will likely always exist in the world, inside and out of the police force, because we are all people and people are flawed.
I believe that the media is fueling the fire.
I believe that it’s not fair to hold an entire group of people responsible for the actions of one. “The Police” didn’t kill anyone, however, A Police Officer did and the officers responsible should be held accountable, ideally to a higher degree than would be a civilian. On the same token, I don’t believe that all black people are criminals nor are all white people or police officers innocent of undue violence. I, personally, don’t really care what color you are. I understand that others might, and for that, I’m sorry. I do care if you act in a law abiding manner and approach tenuous situations in a smart way that doesn’t put yourself or others in danger. I care if you respect your home city and the property of others. No, a broken window is not nearly as tragic as the loss of an innocent life but breaking windows won’t bring lives back and it won’t get the kind of attention necessary to address and start discussing the root of the problem on a national level.
I believe more cops are doing their jobs for the right reasons than the media and press would lead you to believe. I also believe there are cops out there who aren’t. I wish there was a better way or any way to differentiate.
I believe my cousin and uncle and friends and Officer Brian Moore, who do accept an inherent risk when taking their position, still deserve the right to walk down the street or go to work without the risk of violence incited solely by the badge they wear for their job.
I believe that Black Lives Matter. I believe Police Lives Matter. I believe that the two are not mutually exclusive.
I believe there is an urgent and important series of conversations that need to be had regarding violence in this country in general.
I hope, above all, that things get better.