I watched the video of mistreatment of George Floyd that led to his death. Afterward, I sat quietly. I pondered this question:
What can I do?
I felt so powerless sitting in my sadness, as I am sure many others felt. What can I do to stop this kind of treatment of fellow human beings?
I turn to the one thing I understand: My Voice.
It is always my desire to use My Voice to help you hear Someone Else. I continually hope that by writing my story from my perspective, it might give my reader the words to understand their own.
How can this apply to matters of race? I’m white. Where I grew up, I didn’t know an African-American until I went to college. In my rural upbringing, there were no neighbors, no classmates of color. What can I possibly say that might be of some consolation or bring legitimate hope?
There is much I don’t understand about race. But there is one thing I feel makes the most sense to me, and this is the issue toward which I choose to direct my words.
Anger has gotten the best of us.
Racism is fueled by anger. And so is every other kind of judgement against another person that puts one in the role of superiority over another.
Watching the video of the mistreatment of George Floyd produces anger. It should make anyone mad. George Floyd was a fellow human being. No one deserves that treatment. Anger is the right initial response.
But it can’t be the motive for seeking justice.
Nearly every book on parenting advised me as a young father to never discipline in anger. It was advice I wish I had heeded more often. If my anger was not productive in coaxing a 3 year old to change behavior, how much less effective in changing a grown adult?
Anger is like a warning light on the dashboard of a car. It signals when something is wrong. To ignore it is not helpful. I need to pay attention to anger.
Anger is a soldier in my personal Army of Action. I should never allow it to be in command. I listen to its briefing. I take into consideration what it feels. But Love needs to always be in charge. There is no greater commandment.
George Floyd’s death makes me mad. But if I am not wise, it will also make me just like the cop that stood on his neck.
Anger killed a man. Let’s don’t let it kill another because it was left unmitigated.
There is a better way forward.