This post comes from a personal place. I have long been a supporter that prejudice and racism exists way more than it should in subtle and not so subtle ways. I have had tough conversations and lost friendships over that position. Attended hours of diversity training as I look inside my biases and views that affect my teaching students of color. It is hard to open your eyes to white privilege, but not nearly as hard as navigating life as a black person in America.
It is equally personal because I was a police wife for 10 years. Never being able to post my husband’s face or uniform, getting threats to hurt me because I am married to him, the uncertainty of attending his funeral every day he goes to work. Meeting some of the best humans around that give their lives to community service, but never feeling safe. The two roles have some similar threads and yet are often put on one side or the other.
You either are for or against me.
You either love or hate me.
You either ride or die.
I love the #ThirdOption movement that says what if there is another way and you don’t have to choose. In my own words for the movement “What if you can Back the Blue but not the Bullshit?”
As we explore this #BlackLivesMatter the core seems to center around systems and policies that are failing people of color. Corrupt officers allowed to get a paycheck, targeting, profiling…a system that is very similar to education in their funding, their leadership and practices. A system that struggles to get qualified applicants to fill the number of vacancies. A system that lacks in crucial training to practice the best and up to date techniques. Employees overrun with exhaustion, mental health issues and limited resources to fully do the job they are called to do. A system that has a HUGE disparity in population vs. employment…meaning more black students and less black teachers. A system with unions that make it nearly impossible to get fired and a system where steps are how the employees get paid not proficiency.
I am not saying officers have it harder or that they are the victim here. Black Lives are being overlooked. That officer is a murderer and not the first one. Parenting a black son should be as safe as parenting a white one and it is not. But maybe we can support the majority of good officers while also declaring the policies and procedures need to change. We cannot let skin color determine consequence. Policing is here to stay so we must seek the third option of how we can make changes and create laws and hire chiefs and city leaders that will fire and filter the multitude of officers that do not deserve to wear the badge, but make no mistake it is not ALL…let these bodies be the beginning of burying the bull#%$ that cost them their lives.
I believe God will use this moment in time to do something big and we all need to do our part to make this moment in history count.