To the African American community,
I stand behind you. I think. I empathize with you on a human level. I understand that people are being killed by police more often than they should. I agree that it is a huge problem. I agree that racism is very much alive and well. I agree that #BlackLivesMatter.
But I don't know where to stand. Do I stand up for you, or does that make it seem like I'm trying to say I understand what you're going through? Do I stand beside you, making it seem like it's my fight as much as it is yours? Do I stand behind you, backing what you say, or does that mean I don't care enough to fight with you?
I love you. I love you on a human level with the love that each member of the human race should have for one another. I love you in the way the Bible tells me to love every person as my neighbor. I love you as fellow Americans who share the same rights that were bestowed upon us. I love you as my friends, my family, brothers, and sisters.
I see your pain. I see it in your eyes as you scan through your Facebook news feed to see yet another death. I see your frustration. I see it as you don't know what to do to fix it. I see your fear. I see it in not knowing what comes next, if it could be your father, brother, sister, mother, or yourself. I see it, but I have no right to feel it.
This is your struggle, and I want to respect that. I want you to know that while I feel a portion of your pain, I do not know what it's like. Nor can I. This is not my struggle to bear. I feel for you on a human level, but I can never understand.
So you tell me. Tell me what I should do. Tell me what I can say. Tell me how I can help. Because honestly, I don't know. I don't know how to help. Praying, singing, talking, tiptoeing around the subject is obviously not doing anything. Tell me how I can talk about it.
I am not comparing my struggle to yours. I've struggled with my response to these killings. I've struggled with what to do. And the truth is, I don't know. How am I supposed to talk about it in a socially acceptable way? How I am I supposed to talk about this struggle that is not mine? I have a desire to help people. I have a duty to talk about this because it is impacting my fellow human beings. It is impacting my friends, some so close, I consider my family. But how?
I have struggled with every sentence of this article. I have struggled with every word. "I understand that people are being killed." Do I say African Americans or does that make it sound like it's completely not my problem? Do I say black people or is that racist? My silence on my social media thus far does not mean that I don't care. It means that I don't know what to say. I don't know how to say it. I don't know what is socially acceptable to say. I don't know to what degree I can say anything because this is not about me.
At what point do we start seeing this as not only a race issue, but also a human being issue? I do. So tell me. Tell me how I can help. There's a comment section below, so let me know. Give me your opinion. If there's something going on in your area that people can get involved in, drop it there to let people know about it. I'll end with a quote from Elie Wiesel.
"Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe." ~Elie Wiesel