I took this extraordinary step because after everything that has happened
over the past seven days the color delusion is still growing in popularity and acceptance.
Every single day this past week there have been reports of police officers ambushed in the line of duty. As I wrote in my last post (Brian's Meandering Mind: The color delusion), this current trend began on July 5th when a man selling pirated CDs and DVDs was shot dead by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On July 6th, in St. Paul, Minnesota, a concealed carry weapons permit holder was shot to death in his car in front of his fiance and her four year-old daughter. Black Lives Matter, the advocacy group that grew out of a Twitter hashtag, immediately flooded social media with a call for protest marches in every major American city. At a protest march in Dallas on July 7th, five police officers were killed and seven more were wounded by a man who felt both angered by the flood of news reports about young black men killed by cops and impatient with the efforts of Black Lives Matter. I don't know how many police have been killed in the days between Dallas and today (July 13, 2016), but it seems like every time I turn on CNNj there has been another ambush. Protest marches in Atlanta, St. Paul, and Washington D.C. have raised tensions even further by blocking highways, thus impeding the flow of trucks carrying food and consumer products into the city. If you are protesting oppressive police tactics why would you block a highway carrying food into your own neighborhood?
Violent criminals and law enforcement have fatal or near fatal run-ins almost every day somewhere in the world. Whether it is a terror bomb in front of a police checkpoint in Baghdad or an ambush by a machete-wielding career criminal on the streets of New York, every single day police, criminals, and innocent bystanders die in cities all around the world. As long as we have criminals, we will need law enforcement. As a result, the two will always find opportunities to have violent clashes that inflict casualties on both sides. I am honestly not the least bit worried about this. It is a perfectly normal state of affairs; bloody and rife with tragedy, but perfectly normal. No, what worries me is how widely accepted it has become to assume that white cops are patrolling American streets looking for black men to shoot down in cold blood at the first excuse. That delusion contains in it the seeds for a civil war pitting black street gangs backed by Mexican drug cartels against the law enforcement structure of the United States of America.
A few years ago, a young black man was killed while avoiding the rain by walking beneath the eaves of houses in a gated retirement community in Florida. Somehow he wound up in a fist fight with a member of the local Neighborhood Watch. The resident shot him during the scuffle, killing him. This resulted in huge international outrage. So much so, that I began to worry we were on the verge of a race war (Brian's Meandering Mind: The Coming Race War. The roots of this tension and discontent go back to the Civil Rights movement of the sixties (Brian's Meandering Mind: Even Worse than a Conspiracy). My father, for example, likes to tell the story of an Army friend of his.
My father has always enjoyed jazz and blues. When he was in the Army, he met a man who had grown up in the same city where he lived, but on the far side of town. This was San Jose, California. My father had moved there as a teenager, but this fellow had grown up there. In addition to coming from the same city, they both enjoyed jazz and blues and admired many of the same musicians. They were both on the US Army Pistol and Rifle team. Whenever they traveled to a new town they would go looking for jazz bars or blues joints. No one on the Pistol Team thought their friendship was unusual. Naturally my father's parents were glad to know he'd found a friend he could hang out while on the road. They were just two guys who came from the same city and both enjoyed the same music.
Then one day the Pistol and Rifle Team attended a match in Alabama. Suddenly, everywhere they went they had to use different restrooms and water fountains. The jazz clubs did not allow my father's friend to enter while the blues joints did not allow my father to enter, even though in both places black, white, and hispanic musicians performed together on stage. Alabama was the first time for either my father or his friend to encounter genuine racism.
Notice something. No one out in California cared that my father was white and his friend was black. They themselves certainly didn't care. The Army had both of them together competing in the same matches against different military units and even against military members from overseas. It only became a problem in Alabama.
After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., race relations in the United States took a turn for the worse. Even though Jim Crow laws, school segregation, and other systemic problems existed in some parts of the nation, their acceptance was never universal and was never considered "normal" in most of the nation. Throughout the Midwest blacks and whites worked side by side in American factories, earned the same pay, took the same days off, and had the same benefits. Cattle ranches employed black and white cowboys side by side (despite Hollywood movies). Large-scale commercial farming was just getting off the ground when my father was in the Army, and even there, blacks, whites, and hispanics worked together in the fields and when maintaining or driving the equipment. In some cases they even owned large land parcels together. But after Dr. King's assassination, suddenly hatred and suspicion became a standard feature of politics and interpersonal relationships all across the United States.
Why did things become worse after the civil rights movement succeeded? Why did the hatred and prejudice of the south spread through the nation? I don't have a good explanation for this. The one fact I am absolutely certain of is that race relations in the United States of America are far worse now than they have ever been at any time in our history. Race relations are worse now than they were when Americans owned slaves! I don't understand how eliminating slavery, adding five Constitutional Amendments, and electing our first black president has landed us on the verge of a race war. I do not understand it at all. I can only report what I see with my eyes and what I've read of history.
Skin tone is a descriptor. It is no different than eye color or hair color. This is how I was raised. This is how my mind works and how I think. I cannot hate or fear someone just because of their skin tone, their religion, or their nationality. I simply do not have that capacity and I do not understand anyone who does. I am appalled when I listen to people positioning themselves as black activists preaching about how oppressed black people are in America. Then, when you look into that person's life, you see they have no friends outside a small circle of people who share almost everything in common, including the brands of their groceries! What right do these people have to tell me I hate black people? Why should I listen to them or offer them even the smallest shred of respect? Why do black people flock around them like sheep around a shepherd? Are there still people in black communities who want to be slaves and look up to these activists as saviors and providers? I don't know. It completely baffles me.
I was raised to treat everyone with equal respect and courtesy. Not to call them names, not to think of them as stupid when they disagree with me, and to judge them strictly on the basis of their behavior. So when black people assume white cops are hunting them for sport (Angela Rye, on CNN, in an interview with Don Lemon, July 9, 2016) and everyone gasps in horror, my first thought is, "Why is she lying?" After she repeats herself a couple of times it finally dawns on me that she not only believes what she says, she is neither pandering to black people nor propagandizing a political platform! At that point in time, the only conclusion I can reach is such a person must be completely delusional. If she repeats an absolute falsehood in complete acceptance of its reality, then I do not know what other conclusion can be reached. Delusional people are preaching a delusional belief that blacks in America are suffering under severe systemic oppression and must rise up violently to free themselves from their chains. This delusion has us on the brink of a race war that could potentially kill millions of people of every skin tone imaginable.
I don't know why 12.3% of our population commits 52.5% of our murders and represents 39.4% of our prison population. (Wikipedia: Race and Crime in the United States) Scholars, as always, have many different competing theories. The one thing I do know is that I personally don't have any problems associating with people who are honest, open-minded, and realistic, even when we disagree politically, even when we have different skin tones. But they do have to be realistic. We cannot have a simple conversation, let alone a political debate, if the person I am talking with cannot deal in real world facts.