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Just Listen.

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The morning after those horrible shootings in Dallas, I saw all kinds of eye-witness reports on the news.

Here are some of the eye-witness reports I saw about the actions of the police during that terrible ordeal…

Several people witnessed police officers turning their backs on the shooter and instead focusing on the Black Lives Matter protesters, telling them to get on the ground and crawl to safety.

Another person witnessed an officer who used his body as a shield to protect a protester who had fallen.

Another person witnessed several officers who made a circle around the protesters, to protect them from possible attacks.

It goes on and on. I saw several reports – from Black Lives Matter protesters – of police officers who literally put their lives on the line to protect the people who were there to protest police actions.

And here are some quotes from actual Black Lives Matter protesters, the morning after the shootings…

“We can’t forget the reason we’re here. We’re here for the two men who lost their lives this week. But we also can’t forget the heroism we witnessed from the police officers who were here last night.”

“The police last night were everything a good police officer is supposed to be.”

“I think our T-shirts should now include the names of the officers who died last night. Those men died protecting black lives.”

That last quote was from a minister who was at the rally.

Again, it goes on and on. In interview after interview, I saw something amazing happen…

I saw Black Lives Matter folks standing with the police, not against them. The police risked their lives to protect the Black Lives Matter protesters, and Black Lives Matter released a statement condemning the violence in Dallas, saying, “Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it.”

These groups – who the country wrongly sees as enemies – stood together in the face of a common enemy. They stood together as friends.

Folks, this shows us that Black Lives Matter and the police are not enemies.

In fact, I submit that these two groups stand for the same thing: They stand for the preservation and protection of human life.

It’s important to note that I’m talking about the good people in both groups. I’m talking about honest cops and peaceful protesters. The shitbags who commit violence – for either side – are not representative of these groups as a whole.

Sadly, there’s a truth about racism and sexism that people rarely talk about:

Only white people can end racism against black folks.

Only black people can end racism against white folks.

The offense can never be defeated by the offended party. It can only be defeated by the offenders.

Black folks can’t end racism against them. They can raise awareness, of course, but they simply don’t have the power to end it. Racism against black folks can only end when the racists choose to stop being racists. It can only end when white folks decide it can’t continue.

Black folks can protest all day and all night, but until the racists decide to stop being racist, racism will continue. And the people most able to make racists stop being racist are other white folks. If they’re racist, they’re obviously not going to listen to the complaints of the people they’re racist against.

But if they know black folks and white folks won’t tolerate their behavior, they might be motivated to stop that behavior. We can’t change what’s in their hearts, but we can change what they do.

Do you really want to end this conflict between the police and black folks? Well, white people, we have the power to end it. It’s actually very easy to end it, but we choose to allow it to continue.

How do we end it?

We end it by listening to each other.

It really is that simple.

When a black man says he’s been treated unfairly by the police, we can stop the conflict by simply listening to that black man. Instead of instantly assuming he’s lying, if we take his accusation seriously, and look into his claim, we’re taking a major first step towards peace.

I’m not saying we have to immediately believe anybody who makes an accusation. I’m just saying we have to listen to him, and take his claim seriously. Pushing for an investigation is not standing against the police. It’s an attempt to weed out the bad cops, so the police departments can better do their jobs.

Because, the truth is, there are bad cops. We all know that’s true.

And those bad cops are hurting the police as much as they’re hurting the communities they patrol.

If we truly support the police – and I absolutely do support the police – we should stand against bad cops, because bad cops stand against everything the police stands for.

Just like that shooter in Dallas stands against everything Black Lives Matter stands for.

See, this isn’t a fight between good guys and bad guys. This is about two groups of good guys, who are fighting for the same things.

Any good cop doesn’t want black folks to be mistreated by racist cops, and any good Black Lives Matter member isn’t standing against the police… they’re standing against bad cops.

Are there situations where a man thinks he was mistreated, when in reality, he wasn’t?

Of course.

But just because they’re wrong sometimes doesn’t mean they’re wrong all the time.

After Dallas, Black Lives Matter folks and the police stood shoulder to shoulder. They stood against the people who are trying to escalate the violence.

And if they can do it after Dallas, they can continue to do it.

But it must start with us… white people. We don’t have to instantly believe every accusation. That’s not what black folks are asking us to do.

They’re simply asking us to listen to them.

Is that really so hard? Is taking them seriously and pushing for a fair investigation really too much to ask for?

No. Of course it’s not.

So I’m asking my fellow white folks to take the first step toward peace… I’m asking you folks to simply listen to the complaints.

Because if the accusation turns out to be true, don’t you think the officer who did it should be punished?

So let’s try a new approach, folks. When a black man is killed by a police officer, let’s not immediately choose a side. Let’s not immediately decide one side is wrong and one side is right.

Let’s stop standing on the side of the police or standing on the side of Black Lives Matter. Let’s instead stand on the side of justice. Let’s take each situation seriously, and let’s treat each situation individually.

This isn’t a “them vs us” scenario. This isn’t a race issue at all. It’s a human issue. If a man is wrongly killed by another man – even if the other man is an officer of the law – shouldn’t we demand justice, no matter what color the men are?

It’s time for us to accept some hard truths:

Sometimes bad cops treat black men differently, just because they’re black.
Sometimes bad cops kill black men with no justification.
Sometimes good cops are accused of racism when it’s simply not there.
And sometimes good cops are forced to take a life.

All of those situations happen. We all know that’s true. So when it happens, shouldn’t we all demand an investigation, so we can know if the killing was (sadly) justified, or if the killing was a murder.

I have several family members who are officers of the law, and I can tell you, most cops are good cops. Most cops put their lives on the line every day, just to protect people from potential danger.

But the sad truth is, bad cops exist. And they can only be weeded out when we admit they exist, and when we do everything we can to get rid of them.

Bad cops are a stain on justice. They hurt the police by damaging the police’s reputation with the people they’ve sworn to protect. And they hurt their communities in a far more deadly way.

It benefits all of us to weed these assholes out. It benefits us all to get rid of them.

So instead of instantly drawing a line in the sand, let’s instead work together to make the police departments and the communities free of bad cops.

It’s time for us to start listening to each other.

Thanks for reading. I wrote this blog in an attempt to bring folks together. If the result ends up being more divisiveness, I genuinely apologize.

It hurts me to see anybody die, including cops.

So let’s choose to end it.

Take care folks.

–Jerry

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