This probably won’t win me any friends, and that bothers me. Maybe that’s the point of this post. We seem to have lost the ability to disagree with one another and still respect and like one another—to still be friends.
So here goes. Like many in this country, I have watched with interest and anticipation as the Derek Chauvin trial unfolds. I have watched the coverage and read articles about the other major events around the country during the trial which affect how we feel about what is happening in the trial.
Then I read the article. I don’t even remember who wrote it, and I don’t care. The article said many things that many others were saying that they went in one ear and out the other.
Except the one line. I can’t quote it, but the author said something like this: Headlines are saying that the country is on trial. That is exactly wrong. Derek Chauvin is on trial, and no one else.
I could not believe the ignorance and/or naivete.
Of course, no one else is legally on trial. Duh. (Yes, he did make that point and seemed to be proud of himself for this unique insight). But everyone who has anything to do with how this country is right now is also on trial.
Conservatives and Whites are on trial. Are we part of a system that “protects” itself by not only hiring people who allow themselves to lose control as I believe Chauvin did? Are we willing to see racism where it is embedded and call it out so it can be changed? Do we care that our black and brown (and increasingly Asian) friends feel very different when they are approached by an armed police officer than we do? Do we get that “Black Lives Matter” is a slogan because for years the fact is that black lives haven’t mattered—at least not as much as white lives have?
A lot of people are saying these things and they need to be heard. But they also need to look in the mirror.
Those on the left and those who are people of color responding in anger and in many cases, hate (let’s be real—I have experienced this and seen it often!) are also on trial. Are they willing to make changes that will help us move away from racism? Or are they simply trying to flip the coin so that they are in the same place of preference and power that others have been in. Do they want equality and justice, or are they trying to simply be the ones on top?
Those who just labeled me as a racist for asking that question are as ignorant, naive and racist as the conservatives who don’t understand the racism issue to begin with. And they need to understand that one of the reasons the reforms they are pushing for—the reforms they can’t understand why everyone aren’t accepting—are being held up by many who see this and are fearful of the country simply turning to an “It’s our turn” approach to justice.
If you laugh at this or brush it off, you are part of the problem. People in America are so divided that they fear each other—and fear leads to dislike and even hate. Each “side” has reason for concern. The only way the culture will change for the good is if they start listening and caring about what concerns each other.
From what I see in the Derek Chauvin coverage, I fear that won’t happen. This doesn’t surprise me because this trial has also shined a light on those who claim to follow the King but are actually rooted in this world. We aren’t listening. We aren’t serving. We aren’t loving (determining what is needed by the other and doing it). We are commanded to listen, serve and love by the one who is King of Kings, but we aren’t obeying those commands.
Until that changes, the only verdict from the trial will be guilty.