These are my children and a few of their cousins. Some are biracial, some support Black Lives Matter, and some are in law enforcement. Do I have to choose who I support?

These are my children and a few of their cousins. They have 23 cousins if you count all of the children born on both sides of the family! I chose this picture for a few reasons, mainly because it’s very old and these kids are all adults now. Also to show that we are a biracial family.

I am blessed to have so many nieces and nephews, including two who chose law enforcement careers. Many of my nieces and nephews support Black Lives Matter, as do my children. Am I required to choose which ones I support?

I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I also respect law enforcement. I worry about all law enforcement officers in my family and my network of friends — Nicholas, Desmond, Jarrod, Dean, Alex, Michael, Paul, Tony, George, Kelly, and Andrew. And I know I probably forget even more.

When I started trying to raise awareness about white privilege, I tried to stay in my lane and not choose sides. Sometimes that seems impossible.

Today is June 14, 2020, and it is currently 4:19 PM. I want to mark the time because it feels like this year changes by the hour. We went from Australian wildfires to Kobe, to COVID-19, and stayed there for a long time. Now we are in whatever new era this time of racial unrest and protests will be called.

Along the way, I remember some earthquakes, tornadoes, a developing hurricane, and murder hornets. Did I miss anything? I think we all want to wake up from this nightmare!

I feel strongly that a lot of our society is broken. I think the deck has been stacked against black people for a long time. In the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time reading books and articles, trying to understand and make sense of all this.

And I’ve been trying to research to prove some of my points. However, I believe the points I am making do not need to be verified by statistics or research. Let me explain.

I believe systemic or institutional racism in our society is so prevalent that many of us can’t even see it. I think that I was born with privileges that are not available to black Americans. Based on my zip code, I had access to better education.

That education was mostly given by people who are also white. This education also gave me access to higher-paying jobs, where I was primarily surrounded by white people. To facilitate change, the people who need to understand and believe this is people like me.

I support the police.

I don’t support police brutality. I have always felt that society quickly forgets that police train to protect us. They have to react in stressful situations that most of us can’t imagine.

When anti-police sentiment seemed to be getting strong, years ago, I felt that society was being unfair. If a suspect is threatening a police officer, they need to protect themselves and any other nearby citizens. I have never had to make a split-second, life-threatening decision.

I know police officers are trained for this, but how much can they do to mimic this type of situation? I have a hard time questioning those kinds of decisions.

With George Floyd, I can’t think of a single reason why four officers could not have used another method to subdue him. Couldn’t they at least check on him? And what about those other three officers? I will say that two of them were brand new, on the job for three and four days.

I haven’t been in law enforcement or the military, but I do have a basic understanding that following a commanding officer’s orders is vital. They are trained not to question. This training is important in a life or death situation. So, I think their ability to stop the situation is a little more complicated than I first thought.

This is not an either-or situation. I support law enforcement, and I’m thankful they are there. I also think the police officer who caused George Floyd’s death should be held accountable. And I can’t believe that these types of incidents are continuing to happen, even when they know they are being filmed.

Racism exists.

I’ve always known this, but I didn’t think I was a part of it. Since I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge, I’ve become aware of many different types of racism. In the video below, the nice white lady is “looking out for her neighbor.”

A man is writing Black Lives Matter on a retaining wall, and she walks up to ask him if it is his property. Many people commenting did not see a problem with the exchange.

The questions I asked after viewing this were: Would she have felt the need to ask him if it were his property if he were white? If the message were anything but Black Lives Matter, would she have questioned it?

She said all the “right” things, “I support you,” and “You are free to express yourself.” These are common tactics for people who are trying not to appear racist.

What makes me the angriest about this situation are the comments. Many people commented that the homeowner could have stopped the situation if he had just complied and told her it was his house. So basically, he wasn’t behaving the way we civilized people do. If he had only been quiet and compliant, the nice lady would have just moved along.

Note: The Twitter account is currently suspended, but I could still watch the video on other sites such as gritdaily.com.

I’ve heard variations of this argument used to explain away questionable instances of police brutality. And I used to agree 100% because everyone knows that the police only question you if you are doing something illegal, right?

Ask any parent of a black son if this is true. In the last few weeks, I have heard one story after another about black mothers teaching their sons how to behave in different situations if they want to stay alive. Google Clint Smith, III, watch his TED TALK. Read this story about comedian Dave Chappelle.

I know that this is way more complicated than merely picking either/or. I know many of you are tired of hearing about it, but things need to change. I see the posts begging people to get along and love each other.

These seem harmless, but please realize that we can’t bury our heads in the sand and make this go away. We need to look at things differently. We need to be willing to talk about this and listen to the viewpoints of others.

Don’t unfriend people simply because you disagree with them, and don’t scroll past posts that make you sad. I don’t presume to know the answers, so for now, I am just trying to listen, read, and find productive ways to support anti-racism.

I support black lives matter AND I love my police family and friends. I don’t think the police are the entire problem but they need to be open to discussion.

Widow, Mother, Wife, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor. Recovering Republican trying to find my way. https://www.danellt9.com/

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