Only faith can bring races together
Unfair and Unbalanced
BY MARILYN LANGFORD
BLACK PEOPLE have always known this. I witnessed racial profiling up close several years ago. My husband and I were waiting to be seated at Planet Hollywood in downtown Atlanta. The iconic Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis was in line ahead of us. We were chatting with him. A 20’s something male approached Congressman Lewis and said, “Excuse me. I need a table for two.” Of course, Congressman Lewis was very gracious. I was mortified. Congressman Lewis was not. He was used to being profiled because of his skin color.
IT HAS been said that the good that will come out of the Ferguson event will be that a conversation will be started. I don’t think that’s gonna happen! I learned that in my own family gathering on Thanksgiving. Even though we all basically agreed, opinions were so passionately expressed that it took my wisecracking, nine-year-old grandson to break it up. “Who needs television news when you have this!”
THE SUBJECT of Ferguson is so explosive that I approach it here with trepidation. I have spent my life loathing racism and showing my color-blindness in the way I live my life. Yes, young Black men are the victims of profiling and sometimes wrongfully killed. However, I truly believe that this was not the case in the Michael Brown shooting. On the other hand, I believe the chokehold case in New York was murder. Plain and simple. Each case should be judged on its own merits.
A PERSON'S opinions are colored by their life experiences. I am a former police officer from a metropolitan area. I feel I can see both sides of the issue. You never want to use your gun and you fear the day it may happen. When I accepted the job as a police officer, I accepted the premise that if the threat was “you or him”, then you must “shoot to kill.” This was our training. If a suspect hit me on my face and grabbed my gun and tried to turn it on me, I would have shot, too.
NOT ALL police officers should be judged by the actions of a few. I witnessed first hand police officers that were known to be racially biased. I witnessed officers with anger problems. These officers should be culled from the ranks. There should be more in-depth psychological testing for police officers before they are hired. Perhaps the “shoot to kill” doctrine should be revised.
AS WITH police officers, peaceful protesters should not be judged by the actions of the few looters and arsonists. The looting and burning that took place that night did nothing to advance the cause of abolishing racism. Their actions were so despicable that some white people will carry those images with them and use it to justify their racism. To nullify some of the negative effects of this behavior, the Black community in Ferguson should insist that the looters and arsonists be identified and prosecuted. It’s a sad shame it happened.
THE MOST important thing we learned from Ferguson was the positive influence that the spiritual leaders had on the troubled community. To truly abolish racism, people’s hearts and minds have to be changed. Who better to do that than religious leaders? People of faith, all kinds. Black and White, joining together across this country, teaching love and tolerance of all races. How great would that be?
Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.