We are ALL victimized by anger and violence every day. Stop making it a black vs police issue, or a black vs. white issue. Stop inciting more anger and more violence. We need to stop anger and violence by starting with the person in our mirrors. We can't eradicate the problem if we are splintered into factions that care more about one victim of anger and violence than about another. The war is us against anger and violence, not us against each other. Is it really more devastating to society for a young black man to be killed by a police officer than for a young mother to be killed by her husband? Or more horrific for a gay man to be killed by a Muslim than for a small child to be killed by his mother? Is it really more terrible that blacks fear deadly encounters with police officers they encounter than that women fear deadly encounters with every man they encounter?
Anger and violence will be part of our lives until we swear allegiance to the human race instead of to one faction, until we swear allegiance to a movement against ALL anger and violence. Anger and violence will be part of our lives until we swear allegiance to groups who march and protest for ALL victims of anger and violence, until we swear allegiance to the entire human race instead of one select group.
We don’t have to agree between political lines, or across economic differences, or among various issues like guns or gays or the personal rights of cats but we do all have to agree that anger expressed as violence against ANYONE will not be tolerated. Why can’t we all, every moment of our lives, expend our frustrated energy by standing up together, united as human beings, against all anger and violence? Why can’t we all, every moment of our lives, expend our compassionate energy by standing up together, united as human beings, for every one of its victims? Segregated, racist, classist weekend warriors warmongering for our favorite faction of victim will only beget more factions, more anger, more violence, more victims. By uniting and protesting together in the way we act, the way we speak, the way we treat strangers and loved ones, we can make angry violence as despicable and as intolerable as slavery, as gay bashing, as child labor, as animal torture.
I will never, ever forget Mark Brunner's photos from 1996 when an 18 year old black college student named Keshia Thomas covered a white supremacist with her own body to protect him from a violent, angry mob after a Klan rally erupted in mayhem. Despite being there to protest against his views, she protected him from anger and violence because he was a human being. Why can't we all be like that?
Black lives DO matter but no more than the lives of every other person on the planet. Keshia Thomas, who but for our love of violence would still be a worldwide celebrity for her actions, knew that. She was protesting the Klan that day because black lives mattered to her but she chose to endanger herself to protect a radical white supremacist because his life mattered, too.
She’s been one of my personal heroes ever since that day in 1996.
Let’s be more like she was.