Supporting the Ferguson Protesters Does Not Mean You Are Against Police.

There’s a ridiculous notion that because you support protesters and stand up for justice that somehow you can’t also support police and law enforcement.

I’m referring, of course, to the ridiculous controversy over the St. Louis Rams showing solidarity with the Ferguson community.

tumblr_nfy4h8xcyu1s9kglto1_1280Personally, I think an apology from the Rams is unnecessary. The fact that their act is so controversial shows there is still a race problem in the United States. I find it absurd. The team’s “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protest didn’t take anything away from anyone. It caused no harm. If anything, it shows awareness of, and support for, fans.

Just because I believe police officers must be held accountable for misdeeds doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that most cops are basically good. Law enforcement is a difficult and thankless job. We demand a lot from cops. We expect them to arrive the minute we call, but then jump on the entire force when one goes rogue. It doesn’t help that the bad cops get all the press. I’ve encountered good and bad cops on both sides of the law. Yes. I was arrested once, during an ACT-UP protest against Bush Sr. One of my arresting officers was unnecessarily violent. — but I digress. I can support law enforcement’s efforts to keep crime at bay and still stand in solidarity with Ferguson protesters. It’s not an either/or scenario. Which brings me to another issue.

There is a difference between protesters and looters. I fully support the Ferguson protesters. Though I completely understand the anger that led to vandalizing and looting, I don’t condone it. Neither do the residents and protesters of Ferguson. So let’s not lump protesters and vandals together.

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A Message To White People

We, as caucasians, have to understand that we don’t know all the answers. We need to recognize when to speak up, and when to shut the hell up and listen.

The Zimmerman trial verdict picked open a scab that has not had a chance to heal properly. The anger of non-whites is not an overreaction. It is a valid emotion stemming from centuries of systematic mistreatment, and downright cruelty.

Just because we elected a Black President does not mean we’ve evolved into a “Post Racist” America.

You can’t just say you’re not racist and make it so. It’s easy to find out if you are, though. Just ask any person of color you regularly come in contact with; any non-white person at all.. But be prepared for an honest answer. And don’t get pissed off if you don’t get the answer you wanted to hear.

Whether or not you use the six letter N word doesn’t determine if you’re a racist. Your actions, how you treat people, are a reflection of your true nature. Treating people as a group, instead of individually, is indicative of racism.

Here’s the deal. We all have our own truths; our own experience, if you will. The only way for us to understand is to listen. When people tell you there’s a problem, you can’t solve it by being defensive. Yeah. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. But life’s not easy, so get over it.

If someone says or does something offensive, don’t let it slide. Speak up.  If someone is trying to tell you there’s a problem, shut the hell up and listen.