Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

All Lives Matter

10 July 2016


“Deep in our hearts we know that there is something wrong with our country”, Hillary Clinton said shortly after the Dallas murder of 5 white police officers by a black Army veteran. This wrong is usually attributed towards others (ie, blame game). It reminds me of the Bible and Luke 6:41: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? A blame game will never result in answers and solutions.

President Obama linked the Dallas assassinations to lack of gun control. His opponents immediately claimed that he was politicising the Dallas assassinations. The lack of gun control is indeed a political issue, if only because of the American Constitutional right to wear firearms. Political issues need political answers.

It is very difficult to pinpoint only 1 wrong. In my view, it’s a toxic cocktail of ingredients that also affect each other: crime, drugs, fear, inequality, poverty, race, and unemployment. The result is that blacks fear whites (eg, police) and that whites fear blacks (eg, crime). I think, feel and believe that fear is even more relevant than racism. This fear is paralyzing American society.

By failing to address the true issue behind continued police shootings of black people and the accelerating ambushes of white police officers, only a  blame game remains. This blame game will further divide an already polarised country. Many months ago, I truly thought, felt and believed that Donald Trump could unite America again by cherry-picking on Democratic and Republican ideals. I was wrong, very wrong.

The default American response to gun related violence is more guns. The logical consequences of that are more police shootings of black people and more assassinations of white police officers. It’s a never ending cycle of gun related violence. Blaming white police officers for shooting black people makes sense given video footage. Blaming Black Lives Matter for increasing racial divisions and tensions makes some sense as indeed All Lives Matter.

Sometimes people still surprise you and in a good way, like white Republican Newt Gingrich who said “it is more dangerous to be black in America” than white. “It is more dangerous, in that they are substantially more likely to end up in a situation where the police don’t respect you and where you could easily get killed. And sometimes for whites it’s difficult to appreciate how real that is and how it’s an everyday danger. It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years, to get a sense of this: If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America, and you instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk,” (eg, LA TimesUSA Today, WP).

Only empathy – the capacity to understand or feel what another (human) being is experiencing – is able to create consensus and subsequently solutions. Whites (including myself) have a moral obligation to reach out first as Power is predominantly white in colour. Also see my 11 November 2015 blog on Black Twitter vs White Supremacy. This is what makes Newt Gringich’ words so special. Perhaps age and experience indeed brings wisdom to man.

The ultimate solution is gun control – similar to most civilised countries. There is only one party that can help demilitarise the USA: the National Rifle Association. Even the NRA should realise that they are working against their long-term self-interests. This ultimate solution is hardly in sight. Empathy between Ebony and Ivory may be emerging however. In that context, the wise words of Newt Gingrich are even more important than President Obama’s wise solution.

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory (1982) – lyrics, video, Wiki

We all know that people are the same where ever you go 

There is good and bad in everyone 

And we learn to live, we learn to give each other 

What we need to survive together alive


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