Regarding Racism and Police Brutality

Over and over and over and over again, we see African Americans murderously slain by cops, and yet still, there are some who refuse to admit there is a problem. In spite of statistics that black youths are 18x more likely to be tried as adults than non-blacks for the same crime, in spite of conclusive video evidence, some continue to deny that there's a problem. We hear irrelevant and ad hominem arguments about their criminal records, or their alleged attempts to resist arrest, as if either of those justifies their murder, or as if any of that even matters. Philando Castile complied with police officers, did exactly what we are told to do in notifying the officer that he had a concealed carry permit, did not have any sort of criminal record, and he still suffered the same fate as Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott... the list goes on and on. The reality is that none of that matters; they were all killed because they were black, and they were all killed by people' whose jobs were to protect and serve us–to protect and serve them. If that doesn't signify a problem, then I don't know what does.

For those who still refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem, my question for you is: why? Why does it bother you when others speak out about the injustices they face? Your lives are not affected or made any more difficult by others seeking equality and justice. Why does it bother you when others seek what is rightfully promised to them in the U.S. Constitution: that all men are created equal? "Black Lives Matter" does not mean that only black lives matter; it means that black lives matter too. And for the "All Lives Matter" crowd: in order for all lives to matter, black lives have to matter. Black lives are a part of all lives, so if you truly believe that all lives matter, then you should be equally as outraged at Alton Sterling or Philando Castile's lives being taken as anyone else.

Unfortunately, we've already witnessed the terrible effects marginalization can have in the awful Dallas massacres. It's also a tragic display of why police officers should be the ones to speak out and lead the movement against bad cops who commit these heinous murders (not to mention the double standard that exists where Muslims must speak out against ISIS, but cops can continuously stay silent when their fellow cops go rogue). Marginalization breeds violence and retaliation, and everyone is put in danger, but especially police officers. Not only does it put their profession in a terrible light, but it puts them, the well-meaning heroic cops, in danger of retaliation by vigilantes who feel that if the system won't give them justice, they will seek it themselves. Violence towards any innocent life is never the answer.

The goal is not to trade places, but to save lives. The whole "if you're not with me, you're against me" mindset is toxic and must change, because it only further divides by pinning people against one another. We all seem to want the same thing and yet the only way we know how to get it is by taking it away from someone else. It isn't necessary to take someone down in order bring yourself up; in fact, we are all better off when we come together and support one another.

Are we seeking power for power’s sake? Or are we seeking to make the world and our nation better places to live. If we seek the latter, violence can never provide the answer. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder the hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.