I’m very lucky and I know it. I’m white, I live in a fairly affluent, suburban area (relatively speaking) in Canada, where, for example, police officers by and large treat everyone equally and exercise some measure of non-violence.
I haven’t witnessed police brutality or violence up close and personal.
Occasionally, they’re hard-asses – like a lot of RCMP (not all, granted), but they seem to apply that treatment evenly across the board more or less (with some exceptions), at least, that’s the impression that I get.
When an Indian or Chinese guy gets pulled over for a routine traffic stop here, they can reasonably expect not to be harassed or face violent action any more than I would be in this country. At least, that’s what we are taught to believe in Canada.
Let me know in the comment section below if I’m way off base in my assumption/assessment and if you have had a different experience and you believe it’s racially motivated.
That doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant and not keep our expectations high and fight racism and intolerance whenever we see/experience it. That treatment of people based on race and colour could very easily seep into Canadian culture, and that is unacceptable.
I was brought up to respect law enforcement and those who serve in the military. They have a tough gig a lot of the time, dealing with people who sometimes have little excuse for their disrespect of those who “serve and protect.” I get that – particularly in my country.
But I also recognize, based on statistics and factual data that in America that isn’t always the case. Now, there is ZERO excuse for physically violence or destruction of public property. Don’t sink to the level of cops who seek to do harm to people based on certain characteristics – or just because their egos were bruised. They are officers OF the law – their job is to apply it, not to make it. Our job as citizens is to OBEY laws, unless of course they are wholly and truly unjust. But be like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, not Suge Knight. Violence and rioting is NEVER the answer. Nonviolence works EVERY SINGLE TIME. One injustice NEVER justifies another. An injustice to one is an injustice to all, to badly paraphrase Dr. King.
But I also realize that doing the right thing can be exceedingly frustrating sometimes. Jesus, Gandhi, MLK, JFK, RFK and others – all people with the courage of their convictions who were assassinated because, among other reasons, they preached nonviolence. Just remember, when you practice nonviolence, you ALWAYS win in the end.
One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas. No one can stop an idea whose time has come.
Non-violence is the weapon of the strong.
Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
John F. Kennedy
What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by his assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero, and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.
Robert F. Kennedy
“You have learnt how it was said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.”
That JFK quote is actually my personal favourite right now. It was actually written and delivered in the context of what should have been the end of the Cold War, until Lyndon Baines Johnson became the first modern neoconservative who rode JFK’s coattails on Civil Rights and ultimately tried to give Vietnamese people similar rights through the barrel of a gun and napalm.
So, as you might have guessed, I am entirely for nonviolent resistance and against direct, violent behaviour for any reason except in self-defence and self-preservation. Take the moral high ground and never surrender it for any reason, even when things seem bleak. Our heroes above (literally and figurately) were proven right by history. It is our job to demand better of those we elect and those sworn to “serve and protect” us.
But it is also our job as human beings to take care of our own shit and make sure we never, ever become everything we despise and resist. We are better than that. The KKK and self-avowed violent racists who lynched black people not that many decades ago and today’s crooked cops are evil. We are better than those criminals and whether the justice system recognizes it or not, we need to hold their feet to the fire and demand better peacefully. We’re the good guys. THEY are the bad guys. The Good Guys never resort to evil to achieve a means to an end.
Let me know if I’m wildly off base in the comment section below. I want your story if it’s a different one from my experience. As always, thank you for reading.