Who do we blame for the rioting?
I can’t imagine anyone watching the rioting in the streets and not having a strong reaction, be it shock, fear, excitement, rage, sadness or hope. And as we watch filled with deep emotion, most of us will choose a side and look to blame the other for causing the chaos.
Knowing the vast diversity of beliefs among my family and friends, I know many of you are blaming the protesters and many others are looking to the institutions as the cause.
But the real blame, those who through benign neglect, have nurtured the seeds of this conflict, are me and many of you, my friends. Those of us who knew better, but did nothing.
As I watched the news clips in heartbreak, frustration, anger and then wonder. Wondering if this was going to be that pivotal moment in our history where the tides turn, where we evolve into a country that truly values all human life.
It was one glimpse of a protester holding a sign that read “White silence is violence” that shattered my thoughts and felt like a shot to the heart.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” Fifty years later, we have heard you, we just ignored you — which I believe is far worse.
Yes, we sit around and engage in dialogue about the injustice and inequality that is so prevalent in our country, we make and like social media posts that support those views. We even call out others when they make racist remarks, maybe we donate money and/or time to organizations we believe help level the playing field, but then what? What have we really done to create systemic change? What can we do? What should we do?
Here’s what I know, we are broken, we are bleeding. To those outraged about the broken windows, burned cars and looting, where is your outrage about our people, yes our people, our fellow human beings, our countrymen, our neighbors that are broken, burned and have had the opportunities afforded to so many of us, looted from them by the lottery of birth. Where is that outrage?
I don’t have the answers. I so wish I did, I wished that I asked the question before today. But I am asking, I am listening.