In our course material, we strive to break down the barriers that keep us from living happy and fulfilling lives. Why is it that when you turn on the news all we see are extremists turning against each other? My inspiration for this post is to bring into awareness the current state of the American Policing and the Justice System. When did officers and the communities they serve turn against each other? When did the mentality of “Us vs. Them” solidify to a point that a solution seems hard to grasp? Let’s dive deeper into the issue. This is about more than the recent acts of violence ringing in the public’s ears without pause. The media is relentless with reliving the horror and typically only glorifies blood, gore, and unrest growing in communities across the nation. Minorities are in turmoil and the general populace distrust towards authority is growing exponentially every time another life is taken without reasonable justification. People are getting very uneasy about the people and governments who are supposed to protect and serve them. Some are even filled with rage. Is this warranted? Let’s look at some quick statistics.
In my current city of Salt Lake City, Utah you are more likely to be killed by a police officer then a gang member. Or drug dealers. Or to die from child abuse put together. An entire city in Michigan is irreparably damaged and poisoned for life because no one at city hall wanted to ask the question what would happen if corrosion safety measures were not in place to protect its citizens for something as basic to life as contaminated water. America has the largest prison population in the entire world, making up 25% of all prisoners worldwide.
This is here in the United States, the self-proclaimed “land of the free”. For minorities, the statistics are even more severe. For example, the USA is now imprisoning about 1 out of every 36 people in its black population (compared to 1 out of every 150 being jailed overall). American “justice” is especially focused on jailing young black males and other minorities.
The has led to the growth of a divisive movement – ‘Black Lives Matter’ – which has only served to further polarize America down racial lines, obsessing on skin color while ignoring the true causes of and solutions to police brutality and disproportionate crime and punishment. The color of your skin does not make it more likely that you will be a criminal. We are all equals and possess the same tendencies for both good and evil. Some studies suggest that a black man is more than 10xs more likely to commit a crime then his pale skinned brother. How do we explain this? Let us not base this information inherently on something you only possess on your shell because that is irrelevant.
Although having money or opportunity in your family growing up does not indicate your success by itself alone; let’s face the reality that money provides more opportunities to people who are able to access them. Cities whose populaces have better financial portfolios have better schools because they can be invested in. Many areas of the country have disproportionate racial profiles due to the fact some generations are not able to leave. It was only 50 years ago that black families were even allowed the same privileges as their neighbors. That is so many generations of potentially missed opportunities because you were not allowed to have the same rights in schools and corporations among other basic civil rights. These families have been struggling for generations to try and catch up to the standard of living the rest had from the inception of this country. That is why we find so many minorities in the inner city trying to make ends meet. And so many crimes are committed as “crimes of opportunity”– all of which, the main motivation is to obtain money or valuables. Let’s consider for a moment the struggles these “criminals” have been faced with from their earliest memories.
What would happen in the world if police and the justice system recognized a fellow struggling human being rather than just seeing a potential thug? Compassion and mindfulness is the only way to bridge this divide we’ve created on appearance, stereotypes, and the assumed motivations of someone trying to get their fair share in a livable environment by whatever means legal or illegal.
Anyone is free to choose to become a person of the law… It could be you or I, a neighbor, a stranger. After all, the pendulum swings both ways as we have seen in recent developments that officers lives are also being taken by assailants in a cowardly and faceless meaningless matter. We come to the realization there may be a culture of fear; sometimes intense fear that has been going on and developing for decades. What are these blockages and constructs that keep us from uplifting each other versus the divide and conquer agenda. How do we create and restore balance, symbiosis, and harmony in our communities once and for all?
It does not help that the media will only focus on a few awful stories as a basis for the state of society. I admit even I feel scared seeing the mayhem on TV. Other human beings are brought down to unthinkable levels of violence because they suffer inside without comprehension and cannot connect with their neighbors anymore. But we should be mindful of the energy we are manifesting not only within ourselves, but everyone we encounter in everyday life when we allow these false constructs to dictate how we relate to one another and act out by bringing more polarity to the situation. You have a choice to create exactly the way you want your life to be and how others interact with you. What if we made a conscious choice to choose love, and to see others as an extension of ourselves whose fate and well-being are intertwined with our own? Is love more powerful then fear?