In the discussion of Baltimore, and in the general issue of police violence towards blacks, I’m hearing a lot of similar comments from white friends and acquaintances.
Of course, there are always those who are simply determined to not question the integrity of the police, especially against the word of urban blacks.
However, there are others who are willing to concede to the at least possible extremity of police responses in at least certain situations. And yet of all the players in this issue, the angry rioters always seem to steal the attention. I hear comments such as, “but still, there is no excuse for lawlessness” and “if you want the cops to be more nice to you, why would you burn down your own town?”
And to these questions, and with present restraint from addressing other facets of the situation, I would like to make this simple point:
As a member of the human race, my responsibility to consider the concerns of others is not contingent upon how they appeal for that consideration. My charge to acknowledge the suffering of others is not dependent upon the way in which they make me aware of that suffering. My inherent duty to face the problems interwoven into the very fabric of my homeland does not change according to how others have chosen to face those problems.
Closing my eyes to what’s in front of me because I don’t understand it does not excuse me from being a witness and closing my ears to a shouting voice because I wish it were whispering does not change the content of its words.
Whether by action or inaction, we are all writing the pages of our children and grandchildren’s history books. Consider carefully what part you’re playing.