One afternoon I played golf. The next morning my doctor told me I was facing heart surgery. My reality changed. A double by-pass corrected my problem.
One day, Eric Garner was selling cigarettes on the street in Staten Island. A short time later, he was unjustifiably killed by police. The reality of a nation changed. Atherosclerosis, the unpronounceable heart disease, is the number-one disease that kills in the United States. The number-one killer in our society may very well be racism. It is easier to pronounce but far more pernicious. Like heart disease it is often a slow progressive disease. But unlike heart disease it is not easily dispatched with surgery.
While it is far too soon to tell if our our moral outrage over the racist fed officially condoned pattern of violence is anything more than a collective emotional tempest, one can hope. I am old, white, and privileged. Because of that, I am protected, at least from legally sanctioned violence. Many of my sisters and brothers are not privileged and will not live to be old because they are not white.
The pattern of racial bias has produced more Eric Garners than we can count. We must change the pattern. Those whose professions includes personal counseling know well the adage that people can change but they don't.
Well, it's time for us to change. We must acknowledge our complicity, however small, in the pattern of prejudice, confess our guilt, drop our defenses, demand justice and learn to live together— because we are all part of the same family. Our lives depend on it.
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