Racism or Politics Part I
It has been a consistent theme of Right and Left Inc. that civil discourse is a catalyst to finding common ground where none was thought to exist. However, finding a significant patch of common ground in the field of race relations could test that assertion to its limits.
At the closing of the year 2014 the need for productive two sided conversations on race in the United States has been framed by the killing of several black males by white policemen. Some saw these events as nothing more than racially motivated murder, pure and simple. Others saw them as justifiable uses of force by police officers in the line of duty.
Media reports did little to provide clarity, but instead produced narratives that sensationalized the events and helped create an environment where premature and unreliable information prevailed. The result was the triggering of emotionally charged responses by both black and white citizens.
A National Dialog
It has become customary at such times to have calls for a national dialog on race relations but typically, little comes of it other than local gatherings or televised shouting matches where one side lectures the other on its bad behavior.
Prior to considering such a discussion it would help to acknowledge that the perception that this is a pure black and white issue is outdated. The notion that African Americans are united in the belief that the young black men who died at the hands of white police were unjustifiably gunned down by racist white cops does not stand up to scrutiny. By the same token, white people are far from united in the belief that white cops were only following established police procedure and killed the young men in self defense.
All this seems to beg the question, is what appears to be racial discord actually more about politics than race? It has become obvious that in the wake of what appears to be a racial event, opinions of what happened and who is to blame, are sharply divided along political lines. We have seen white commentators and journalists who are self identified Liberals side with those who blame it all on white racism. On the other hand, black commentators who identify themselves as Conservatives appear quick to deny racial motivations and defend the white behavior. Or another observation (unconfirmed) is that the large crowds of protesters seen on television, made up of both black and white demonstrators, contain few if any political conservatives.
This brings up the question: If we are to have a national dialog or dialogs, who should be talking to whom about what?
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