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Walls and Bridges

July 29, 2016

Many of us today are angry about the things we see unfolding in our society. The lack of empathy hurts those of us who feel discarded and devalued by the collective powers that be. On either side of this social and cultural dynamic, we have members who go so far to the extreme that they build walls with their harmful rhetoric that lead to anger and violence that only further keep us apart!

In the midst of all the anger and righteous indignation, we need to remember that within every race, culture, religious ideology or social group there are elements within each that only want to see the world burn and they have no time for rational thinking or sound decision making.

Every time you tweet hate and ignorance, you build walls, fan the flames of hatred and justify violence! Every time we generalize and assess blame to an entire race, religion or culture we strengthen the walls of racial inequality and turn up the volume on the very ignorant rhetoric that keeps us from hearing each other on any standard issue!

I am a Black man who understands both the resolve of those who peacefully protest as well as the anger of those who turn violent. I have been racially profiled by the police many times throughout my life, but I have the understanding to single out hate and ignorance itself, not any particular race or group!

There is a universal truth that we are collectively missing today, hate doesn’t discriminate, people do! Hate isn’t a White man’s disease or a sickness that’s ravaging the projects or the trailer park; it’s potentially poisoning every would-be terrorist and every die-hard American who feels justified to profile or hate based on a person’s ethnicity or religion.

When the political dust has settled, if we find ourselves isolated and boxed in by our separate walls we will only have ourselves to blame for allowing fear and ignorance to divide and conquer us!

If we look past all of the jargon and varying ideologies on race and politics, we as a society will have to decide if we want to support building walls or building bridges? Bridges not only help us to go beyond our usual limitations and reach new ground, they connect us to others who need our help and those who can also help us. Walls on the other hand only keeps us disconnected from other resources and other people.

What do your posts or your tweets say about who you are? The anonymity of the internet or notion that they are only words is no excuse when it comes to hate and ignorance. If more people cared about making a real difference as they cared about making noise or a statement, we’d have more bridges uniting us as opposed to all the walls and excuses we allow to keep us divided!

I’m just as angry as any person who rationalizes rioting or wanting to turn to violence, but my resolve allows me to vent my frustration, take a deep breath and then share what I’ve learned. At the end of the day when my anger has subsided, and rational thought has once again returned, I realize that I want to build a bridge to help us communicate over the static of indifference and intolerance to help all like-minded people overcome this disease called hatred and racial injustice.

What are you building with your words and actions, Bridges or Walls?

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