Racial Pattern Recognition.

June 1, 2020

Racial Pattern Recognition.

May 29, 2023

One of our MEA alums said to me recently “brain overwhelmed, heart underprepared” for the past few months. And, that was before this past week’s unjust demise of George Floyd and the aftermath. Let’s do some wisdom “after-math.” Let’s recognize an intractable pattern of police racial abuse as evidenced in this Washington Post article.

But, just as important, let’s recognize the emotional impact of this incident as articulated in the article, “Black people tend to internalize, while white people tend to compartmentalize.” Of course, police forces need more accountability. We need to not just look at whether there’s a justification for the use of force, but also whether the officer seized on the opportunity to de-escalate. These are supposed to be officers of peace.

But, we’re all accountable, even in ways we can’t imagine. Last Thursday, I published this post entitled “Perspective is Everything” and one of our alums, Masharika Prejean Maddison, reminded me that this generic outline of someone’s life in 20th century America has a blind spot. She writes, “I'm wondering how the timeline of an African American male would read right now. How old would the writer have been when they first experienced a racist remark? How old were they when they were first accosted by a law enforcement official? How old were they when they were diminished by an educator? How old were they when they realized their non-person of color friend was more likely to matriculate through college? How old were they when they witnessed a black man's death?”

She reminded me that Grace Lee Boggs said, "You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it." Want to take responsibility for what happened in Minneapolis? Consider how “the other,” a person who is different than you might factor into everything you think, decide, and - in my case - write about.

We are mirrors for each other. And, the mirror isn’t color blind.

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