This week America has been racked by violence between communities and the police officers charged with protecting them. Waves of anger and grief are buffeting society, bringing some together and others further apart than ever before. We need to renew our collective commitment to the American values of life, liberty, and equality, and not descend into a country composed of splintering factions set against one another. It is with deep regret that we report the headline used by right-wing propaganda outlet Drudge Report last night:
The shootings of two black men – Alton Sterling who was restrained and evidently falsely reported to law enforcement, and Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop – by police led to an outcry against the racial biases, both implicit and explicit, that plague our criminal justice system. At a Black Lives Matter protest last night in Dallas, twelve police officers were shot and five have died, making last night the deadliest attack on law enforcement since September 11th.
It is reprehensible to claim that a certain color of lives kills. Individuals kill. Sometimes those who kill are motivated by just rage that spills over into acts of atrocity; sometimes those who kill spend every work day in fear and must get by with judgement that is warped by implicit biases; and sometimes those who kill engage in disgusting behavior for the most perverse reasons imaginable. Whatever the motivations behind the police shootings and the shooting of police at the Dallas protest, we must not exploit racial divisions and prey upon an us-vs-them mentality to further a political agenda. Race does not kill.
Proclaiming that ‘Black Lives Kill’ deepens systemic prejudices against black people and their communities. The last week has demonstrated that America has not fully overcome its dark history of entrenched prejudice. We condemn the facets of our criminal justice system that are unjust towards black Americans. We condemn the cold blooded murders of officers who were on duty to preserve the American tradition of peaceful assembly and protest, and to protect the community from the devastating effects of riots.
However, we will not use last night’s brutality in Dallas to condemn black America.
The violent acts that took place at last night’s protest represent the worst of American society. We must all stand together, united by our commitment to American values and freedoms. We must take a painfully hard look at the persistent fractures in American society. We must empathize with the unique struggles faced by different communities. We must unite to enact peaceful change for a better future for all Americans – blue, black, and the rest.
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