Race. Better yet, race relations. They are not going to get better, folks. Immediately, you're thinking (I know I am), "Gee, what a pessimistic attitude." Maybe...but let me tell you what sparked this post on a day when I swore I had many other things to do. A picture was posted on social media showing a white female police officer in Ocala, FL sitting on a curb sharing a meal with a black homeless man. The picture was taken, not as a publicity stunt but, rather, by a lady at a stop light who happened to notice the random act of kindness. She posted it on the internet and it went viral somewhat quickly. Obviously, the Ocala Police Department was notified, they identified the officer, and commended her for this act - To Serve & Protect. Simple, right? Something that, I think we can all agree (apparently not), was a simple kindness shown to someone down on their luck (for whatever reason).
In the interest of this story, did you notice that I didn't even hint at the fact that this man might have been a junkie, alcoholic, or criminal? Let's set the record straight for anyone that doesn't know me, too, that might be reading this - I'm white. All I said, and all that was mentioned in the title of the original post, was, "Police Officer Shares Meal With Homeless Man." If you want to read the actual article, it can be found here - http://bit.ly/1VFC95E. You'd think this would generate positive reactions, right? One would think that, in light of all the recent events and stories in regard to policemen (and women), a story like this would make people feel better. I did, anyway, and I appear to be extremely naive. For it was after I read the article, then the comments, that I realized that race relations in this country are an absolute joke. Now, before anyone chastises me for generalizing, I will admit that I am. Too often, in light of these stories and prior to my reactions, I find myself prefacing my responses with, "I have black friends," or, "One of my partners with a previous company was black." Why? Why should any of us have to justify that we have friends of a different race to make our comments legitimate? Honestly, if we are truly for civil rights for all, we should never have to make those statements or justifications.
So the article was posted on Facebook by Kandi Burruss (singer-songwriter and of, "Real Housewives of Atlanta," fame, among other things). I didn't see it originally but it was brought to my attention by the sweetheart in my life that happened to 'join the mess' and make a comment in response to the article. Her comment, listed below, gives a glimpse into her beliefs and speaks volumes.
"The officer didn't do this knowing she was being photographed which shows it was a true RANDOM act of kindness. It hurts my heart to see so many people throwing around race comments rather than appreciating it for what is...one human being showing compassion for another. Until we ALL realize we are part of one race...the HUMAN race...and stop labeling each other as white, black, Latino, oriental, Asian, etc we will never move forward. I don't care what color your skin is, your sexual orientation, democrat or republican, if you treat me with respect I will treat you with respect and kindness."
And there it is. The HUMAN race. We all bleed the same color. We are all sitting on the same little orb in a big galaxy.....and none of us is getting out of here alive. The comments made after reading the post above, though, are the reason I say we just don't get it.....and probably never will. Yeah, yeah...I'm generalizing again. Let me share some of what I read, though - "Cops did it as a publicity stunt because they are trying to take the attention off their recent actions in Ferguson, Baltimore and (fill in the blank with whatever story you want." Then there was the classic, "She a bitch - shoulda brought him a whole meal," (one of my favorites, I think, because no one EVER does enough), or better still, "Now is not the time for empathy for cops. I want to see posts and articles about cops being held accountable for their heinous actions against black citizens."
Honestly, I don't know why I am still amazed at some of the reactions. Probably because I was raised in a time when our parents taught us to see past the color of someone's skin. What amazes me the most, I think, is that I don't see the different skin colors until they are pointed out. Do you want to know who continues to make the point of differentiating? Do NOT say it's the whites. Hell, at this point, most of us are too scared to point it out. If anyone dares say the dreaded, "N-Word," we could lose our jobs and things we have worked many years to achieve. Blacks, on the other hand, not only use it freely, but it permeates much of the music from black artists. Watch a white artist put that word in their song lyrics and you'll se a music contract.....and career....gone. Oh, but it's okay because there are certain circumstances when blacks justify it and it is totally acceptable. To that double standard, I call bullshit. Until it stops coming from EVERYONE, things will not get better.
As I continue to write this, I'm going from feeling hopeless for race relations in our country, to seething. I continue to hear that more needs to be done and the white man is holding the black man down, or simply killing them and getting away with it. There is a pervasive sense of entitlement and, honestly, I'd like to ask from where that emanates. Seriously, why do the blacks in the inner city and the ones making the most noise (think the Baltimore situation shown on CNN) think they are owed something? Slavery? Is that really the core issue? I'm dead serious when I ask the question. I ask it, too, because I look at situations like the minimum wage issue in Seattle, WA recently. I'm sure it wasn't just blacks, however the people there screamed that they felt they were owed a minimum wage of $15.00/hour. Well, they got their wish....and we are already seeing the fallout. Apparently, someone should've stayed in school to take math classes because they now realize, with the increased wages, that they will no longer qualify for welfare. My response is, "That's awesome - it worked! We offered a hand-UP rather than a hand-OUT and they can do better now. Work more hours and finally get themselves off welfare." I'm an idiot. Not only did they not see it that way, the workers are now asking for decreased hours so they can still continue to receive welfare. I think that, in and of itself, speaks volumes. How dare I speak to this? Well, folks, because I am one of the people (as are all my friends and coworkers) that gets out of bed on a daily basis and goes to work so they can receive welfare. I'm qualified to make the statements because I make sure that my taxes are paid so the HAND-UP is given, not the HAND-OUT.
Our country is more divided than ever, I think, in my lifetime. That lifetime, ironically, includes the 60's and, while many will think that's not possible, I disagree. Whites are not being asked to help, it's being demanded and we are being held hostage. We have 'Race-baiters' like the criminal, Al Sharpton, or the Dr King-wannabe, Jesse Jackson. They are prime examples of why they do NOT want civil rights for all - if it happens, they're out of a job and their voices are useless. I firmly believe Dr King would've happily ridden off into the sunset had 'civil rights for all' been a reality. It was, after all, his dream and with its' fulfillment, he would've believed his mission in life was a success. Much like President Kennedy, I think Dr King, too, believed in the hand-up rather than hand-out. It was a time when people were told to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your country." (Close to the right quote - don't sue me) Somehow, we've gotten to a place where we, "Don't bother doing anything for your country, just ask what someone else will do for you." It is, by all accounts, sad and pathetic.
Here's the thing, people - going full circle to where this post began, we need more random acts of kindness. We need to look at each other while being colorblind. That's ALL of us. If you want a better world, work for it. Do not tell me black lives matter - ALL lives matter. If you want the cops to stop shooting you, stop breaking the law (blacks, whites, hispanics, orientals). Don't charge a cop and go after his gun, then expect he will not use deadly force. You KNOW you'd do the same so stop making this an issue of race. Are there bad cops? Yes. Are there bad 'anything'? Yes. Conversely, there are good cops, whites, blacks, hispanics, orientals - the 'Yin' always has a 'Yang'. To think otherwise is ridiculous. Night and day, summer and winter, good and bad. If you want change, work for it. Do it legally and responsibly.....and I will stand by your side working for that same change. Until then, though, if you ain't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. I hate to think of the world we are leaving for our kids. Seriously, it's time for us to get our acts together. Stop the hate. It's not a difficult message and random acts of kindness are a lot easier to deal with than random killings.
Peace out......or, until next time..........