Opinions are like assholes. Whadyaknow? Here’s mine. Racism is alive and well. Deeply ingrained in all of our institutions. Those who are ignorant or ignore the issue can do so as it is their right but it is to the detriment of their community, society and the successful forward progress of humanity. So be it. I have a black son. Because of the state of racism in our society and the obvious injustice that follows people of color and especially black males when interacting with police I have to start guiding him in how he acts and what he says to and about the police. Like it or not in a few years some may no longer see him as a cute kid but as a threatening black male. These are facts.
It pains me to say some of the following things because part of me feels I should be on the protest lines expressing my outrage at the system. We have had a tragic loss of life in Madison at the hands of police. A black male who was unarmed, not necessarily lacking in threat was killed. We don’t know the details. We are not Ferguson.
Here is what we do know. A 19 year old black man was shot and killed by a Madison Police Officer. The investigation was immediately turned over to the State DCI. The Chief of Police met with the family that night. The Mayor went to the neighborhood to mitigate the aftermath. The family asked for peace. Protests sprouted up. Candlelight vigils were held and are being held.
The short story right now is there is not enough info to take sides. Is the community responding appropriately? They might believe they are, sure. But to what? We don’t know anything yet. Is the MPD acting appropriately? It would appear they are.
What should we do? Denounce violence. Denounce hateful speech. Take the time to learn how racism has influenced and will continue to influence this discussion. Admit that racism is real and pervasive. Support your community, support the police. We need the police to keep us safe. We need our neighbors to be safe.
The overall message still rings true #blacklivesmatter. This we cannot forget. If that’s too hard for you how about start with this? People matter. People have all colors of skin, and police happen to be people.
I reserve the right to take sides once the DCI investigation results are made public. Then again I may not.
Take a stand on the larger issue but let’s not try to fit what happened here into that narrative until we know more.