I cried when I saw a woman comforting a black police officer who was helping others get hospital treatment from an assassin’s attack in the streets of Dallas last night. The cop was like many I knew in the legal profession, good guardians of the peace who laid their lives on the line every day to protect us civilians, particularly those of us in the inner cities.
I felt that a fearful and ugly cloud had blanketed America the last few days as we listened to the news of policemen shot and killed near the site John F Kennedy was slain, and of two black men killed by cops in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and then St. Paul, Minnesota
This is not what our Creator wants for us. It is not part of the love and happiness we seek for our cities, our country, and our world.
But then I realized that Divine Providence works in ways none of us can fully comprehend. There may be reasons for such horrific events to occur. In order for real change to take place, sometimes one must face a cataclysmic breakdown. We as a nation must hit rock bottom before we can look up and call out for help.
Now might be the moment in our history to finally address what never has truly been dealt with following the abolishment of slavery. And that is how we deal with the psychological fears some people have when dealing with the unknown stranger, in this case, the black man. It is a fear brought home by studies of police officers in their different treatments of whites and blacks.
It exists and the only way you can resolve the problem is to admit anxiety arises when a cop must investigate something he fears.
I admit that I am fearful of women wearing Islamic garbs. They remind me of the outfits worn by nuns in the 1950s and 1960s. I was fearful of them and the wrath of god the nuns could bring back then
My irrational mind caused emotional fears to arise years later as I’d picture a Muslim carrying a “tommy-gun” beneath her outfit. I become scared. I get fearful. I get wary of approaching such a mind-made-up caricature of another human being.
I believe cops might experience the same irrational fears when walking up to a black man. They may automatically see “man with a gun.” A man “hiding a gun” waiting for the moment to hurt those who dare approach him. But it’s all in the mind, a mind that takes in ugly cultural biases and baseless fears.
What we need in this country is psychological training for police. We need an effort to overcome the fears that lead to the killings of black men by police.
It can all start with the simple confession of fear. Admit it. We can grow into a more loving world community once we take that first step.