Stop the Presses: Another White Guy Has an Opinion

So, let’s talk about Brown and Garner for a moment. Just a moment because this whole thing has been covered and recovered, and the last thing anybody needs is another rant by some random white dude, no matter the side.

Why am I making this racial? Because it is, at least under the surface.

It’s entirely reasonable to suspect that Darren Wilson was justified in his use of a firearm. The grand jury decided not to indict based on contradictory witness statements and the evidence presented in the autopsy (which was kind of weird on its own, but that’s another story).

It’s entirely reasonable to suspect that the offers responsible for subduing and ultimately killing Eric Garner were acting in accord with the way they were trained.

It’s entirely reasonable to assume that, all things being equal, the same events would have transpired if Garner and Brown had been white. It’s reasonable. It may not be true, but it’s reasonable.

And herein lies the problem: I’m a white guy. I can listen to and accept the arguments that the police’s actions were justified because I have the privilege of not being accosted by the police every time I go outside my door. It’s possible that my privilege biases me in the same way that a lack of privilege biased at least some of the rioters/protesters/looters/what-have-you out in Ferguson.

Were the police justified in their submission of Eric Garner?

Was Darren Wilson justified in shooting Michael Brown?

These are important questions, but there are other questions that are more important.

Why do some folks seem to divide along racial or class lines when this issue comes up?

Why might more African Americans feel justified in protesting the actions of the police?

Why does tension exist between African Americans and police of all races?

But perhaps most importantly, why is it so difficult for either side to admit the other has a point?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the answers. Neither do you. That’s the point. Too many people think they have the answer, but they haven’t bothered with any of the questions.

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