My heart is breaking for what is happening in Dallas and across our nation. Dallas is not an event that occurred Thursday. Dallas is a mindset that has been slowly and carefully built by the common enemy over time and that continues into our future with racist ideas like, “not all lives are equally at risk,” as a friend recently posted on Facebook.
I would agree. Not all lives are equally at risk. With that in mind, where is the outrage by the black community against black-on-black crime in neighborhoods where only good, law-abiding, poor black families have given up the right to bear arms and defend their young? Where is the outrage against the educational system that accepts sub-par teachers, materials, and effort and promotes a philosophy that indoctrinates poor black children into believing they should be given “free” stuff in exchange for chains that keep them from demanding more of themselves so that they can believe more in themselves? Where is the outrage against being forced to send black children to public schools that keep them from knowing, KNOWING, they can rise above anything with a good education, hard work, patient, sacrificial love, and faith in a God who created them because He Loves them? Where is the outrage against the media, the songwriters, the performers, the actors, and directors who use black bodies to promote sex outside of Marriage and fail to acknowledge lifelong damage done when a young black boy thinks he has to prove himself through sexual conquests or a young black girl measures her worth in how many boys want to paw her as she walks past? Where is the outrage about the millions of tiny black babies who feel the intense pain of abortion or the young mothers who feel they have no other choice, that death is the only option?
Not all lives are equally at risk.
Over the course of my lifetime, a very small number of black lives have been targeted by a much smaller number of police lives than the reverse. This is even more true in recent decades. I cannot imagine the outrage police officers would express toward other officers who took to the streets chanting that they should fry blacks like bacon. Yet few black leaders, from our esteemed president on down, work to quell the hate and prejudice, never mind get out on those streets and tell the marchers there is a better way, a more life affirming way to make a point, to garner sympathy, to find justice, to achieve their goals.
The few black people who have spoken out do not use platforms garnered from fame or fortune. They have been people like Steven Hildreth, Jr. They have been ordinary people who don’t accept that they cannot make a difference, ordinary people who become heroic for doing what is simple and and right but perhaps the most difficult task of all – speaking Truth when Truth is not popular.
Not all lives are equally at risk. Statistically ALL police (black, white, and everyone in between) are at greater risk as targets they present to criminal blacks than blacks are to criminal police.
Turn the Other Cheek?
There is value in Jesus’ philosophy of Turn the Other Cheek, and tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that and the day after that for countless tomorrows, thousands upon thousands of police officers across this great and beautiful land will get up and Turn the Other Cheek. They will go to work with targets painted on their backs. They will push back their human fear and see faces and stories behind the color of a person’s skin. They will walk into neighborhoods where anyone with an ounce of common sense would have an itchy trigger finger, and thousands upon thousands of them will return home without drawing their weapons at all.
Some will barely be shaving and still live in their childhood home with Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters. Some will have a wife and children waiting with challenges of their own they want to share. Some will open another cold can of soup and sit at a lonely dinette set in a small apartment at the end of another long shift with no one to comfort them about things they’ve seen that NO ONE should ever see. Some will have recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan and places most of us can barely spell and many don’t even know exists. They will be black, white, young old, fast, slow, wealthy, poor, smart, and less so. The one thing they will all have in common is that not one of those thousands will have discharged his weapon that day, and they will be thankful for that.
The few that go home at the end of the day after their weapon has discharged, especially those who hit their target and those who saw death in their failure to do so, will go home and replay the scenes in their minds for months and even years later. They will sit up for long hours. They will wake mid-sleep. They will search for answers to questions they never thought they themselves would ask. They will sit in their own darkness and look for ways things could have gone differently, “if only…”
thousands upon thousands millions upon millions of black lives will be better, safer, more Blessed for having been touched by all of those officers.
Do I know what it’s like to be black? Nope! Do I know there are bad cops? Yep! Do I know there have been cover ups? Yep! Are our court systems corrupt? Yep! I am no fan of our court systems. I know they award the monied, connected individual, even OJ proved that.
But to dwell on the VERY few bad in any circumstance or group of people and to constantly discuss our differences, even when that discussion is respectful or promotes interest and cultural awareness, divides us further.
We must spend more time discussing what unites us: love of family, desire for dignified employment, and value intrinsically given to each of us by our Creator (even value given to those who do not believe in a Creator), among other things. These things are far more important than what makes us different, than what divides us (I’ll write a whole other long-winded essay on that concept later).
For now, in a land more divided than I can ever remember, let us pull ropes of justice and love together in one direction putting our commonness rather than our differences to work. Let is stop pulling against one another as we try to measure which type of life matters most and realize that BlackLivesMatter yes, but White Lives and Tan lives and Yellow and Red Lives Matter just as much.
And you know what?
Blue Lives Matter too.
And I for one, will continue to thank the Good Lord for the police officers who have Blessed my world (and please do not mentally change my words to read “…Blessed my (white privileged) world”) from my Grandfather who is a retired NYPD Captain to some of my best friends.
I will continue to pray that the mindset that is trying to be Dallas will be wiped away by unity and Love. Am I unrealistic? Maybe. Or maybe I just remember those lessons my Grandfather taught me about demanding more to be more, about the power of looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems, and the value of hard work, the benefits of patient, sacrificial love, and how nothing is impossible when you have faith in a God who created all colors of people.
What started out as a facebook comment on a friend’s post turned into so much more. I don’t know if this beloved friend, the one who first told me about Beauty for Ashes in months after my husband left me pregnant with our fifth little boy, was defending the Black Lives Matter movement or making a simple statement.
I do know this isn’t my usual Single Mom Smiling piece, but I also know differences divide in society as they do in Marriage. Seeing the humanity in the other person, their ability to love, even if that love is not extended to you at the moment, and finding common ground is good practice in relationships, in the workforce, and in politics. Law enforcement and race issues are not exactly my usual topics, but these are not usual times.
Thank you for joining me on this and please pray for Dallas and for our law enforcement and Military and for all crime victims.
My own special thank you to friends and family in law enforcement who have touched my life and to those who wonder what they are getting into as they get dressed for duty today.
Dallas, you especially, are in my hearts and prayers. You will remain there for a long time.