Black Lives Matter. Few of us have been saying that, but we have to recognize it because the murder of George Floyd will not be forgotten.
This is a justice issue, but not exclusively a police issue. It is an issue with all of us and it’s been around for a long time.
A white, male, Midwestern man, discussing race relations with me once said “I have no problem with black people. I’m not prejudiced. As a matter of fact, I would be all for giving them (the blacks) half of the United States –– if they never crossed the line.”
My friend Frank played on the basketball team when he was in the Army. At least half the players on his team were black. One evening, he invited the whole team over for a sandwich to the apartment where he and his wife lived. The next day, the soft-spoken and mild-mannered landlord who owned the apartment and lived nearby came to Frank, furious and screamed at him, “Don’t you ever invite blacks into your apartment again.” Frank was stunned.
“But they’re my teammates and friends.”
“I don’t care – don’t ever have another black person in that apartment again.”
I only played basketball with one black teammate: LeRoy. LeRoy was a great shooter, but we had one problem with him: He was so short he never got any rebounds.
In the history of this country, not only have blacks been on the short end of justice, but Native Americans as well. Our record of dealing with blacks and Indians is shameful. Any time Indians occupied land that was rich in fertility, oil, gold or expansion space, they got pushed off or killed. We rewarded brave “Indian fighter” generals with political offices.
I grew up with Native American classmates and teammates and played sports against all-Indian teams. The Sioux players in North Dakota were great athletes and good friends. Do I harbor any prejudice? Who is totally color blind? But I do have a Native grandson and a Mexican great-granddaughter, so I am forced to monitor my attitudes. Indian Lives Matter too.
With protest marches going on from coast to coast, this is a critical time in America.
This is a difficult time to be in law enforcement. Most of the officers are honest, caring and law abiding, risking their lives for all of us. One was just shot and killed doing his duty in Grand Forks. We need to appreciate and support them because Blue Lives Matter.
Police attitudes reflect the attitudes of the society they represent, so this must be a time when all of us reassess our own attitudes about our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters.
Remember the last line of our song "America the Beautiful": "And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."
It’s time for equal justice. "Let justice roll down like a stream and righteousness like a river that never goes dry."