Stream of Conscience

I battle with writing about topics like domestic violence, rape, sexism, abortion, or racism. Not because I’m afraid of what people will think or say (yes, I am), but mostly because I believe that we create our reality with thoughts and emotion. I don’t want to increase negative vibes by talking too much about a thing or stirring up negative emotion that could spread like a virus.

I also believe knowledge is power and that if we arm ourselves with it, we are better prepared to serve others and do good in our beautiful world. Covering our ears about important issues doesn’t help anyone. And it can be hurtful.

But becoming obsessed with knowledge to the point that it is all you think about is poisonous. It will spread through your mind and eat away at every healthy cell you have. The negative thoughts create negative emotions and then, boom!, you have created the very thing you hate. We fight and fight these things, we’re angry, we shake our fists, we cry, we weep over this or that, and what do we get? More of what we detest.  When will we learn?

But is the answer to simply ignore it all? Deny the abuse, domestic violence, rape, sexism, racist attitudes and behaviors?  No, that’s not it, either.  We must find a balance.

I believe in the power of empathy. Listening to someone’s story and affirming their life experience is an act of compassion so powerful that it can change hearts and minds like nothing else. Love is the answer to our problems and Love in action is what will save our families, our schools, our communities, our nation, and our world. I know I sound like a visionary dreamer. That’s what I am, but it’s what I believe in with all my heart.  Is it always easy?  Hell, no. But it’s the answer that gives us hope and the answer I want to live for.

Chicago PD last week addressed one of these difficult issues: racism. If you watch the show, you’ll understand when I say the actor, LaRoyce Hawkins who plays the TV police detective, Kevin Atwater, oh, his acting is all in his eyes, isn’t it? He’s amazing and I could just swim in those eyes. He tells a story without uttering a word. I hope he wins an award for this series.

In the episode, Kevin went undercover to gain the trust of some crime gang members. He and an “associate”, Darryl, were on their way to meet with one of the city’s most well-known leaders of a crime ring when a city of Chicago police cruiser pulled Kevin and Darryl over.

Officer Doyle, a white man, began his inquisition by mocking the men of color and calling them boys. The scene quickly escalates when Kevin, maintaining his cover, says “We’re men, officer, not boys.” Officer Doyle throws him against the SUV roughly and handcuffs him. But the chaos isn’t over.

Officer Doyle yells to his partner to throw Kevin in the back of the cruiser, and Darryl is incredulous, looking at the officer and saying, “What’s your problem?”  Officer Doyle pulls out his gun and points it at Darryl who backs up and puts his hands in the air. “We were just drivin’ on the damn street!” he says.

“Get on your knees!” Officer Doyle yells out to Darryl.

“I ain’t getting’ on my knees!”

We don’t see what happens next, but we hear more yelling, then two gun shots.  Darryl is dead on the street.

The body camera later revealed that Darryl lunged at Officer Doyle, therefore justifying the officer for using his weapon. However, Kevin knew that the officer had unnecessarily provoked the man from the minute he walked up to the side of the car.

The emotion and conflict Kevin felt as a police officer, a black man, a human being, you could see it all in his eyes. He was angry. Angry that “just another black man” was killed; angry about “get them (drug dealers) at all costs”; angry at a racist officer who shared a badge.

I think he felt betrayed by the badge he swore to stand by. His police friends were concerned about him while his boss, Hank, expected the same high standard of police conduct. Still, Hank defended Kevin all the way to the top of the power chain.

Even though Kevin maintained his cover and was professional the entire way through, he questioned his own actions. Should he have stood there silently and swallowed his dignity and submitted to the “man”, the arrogant, bigoted police officer? If he had, would the other man be alive? Was his death, even the death of a scumbag drug dealer, his fault? These were his questions for himself.

His friend and officer Adam Ruzek, said something like I’m a white man, I can’t understand what it’s like for you. But I’m behind you all the way. I’ve got your back.

That’s cool, he’s his friend and he’s concerned about Kevin, and wants him to know he’s there for him. But, personally, I found that scene lacking in emotional connection. It was like Adam abandoned Kevin. He said the words, I’ve got your back, but he walked away, and Kevin is left alone to wrestle with this thing alone. I hope it’s not hurtful for me to say this. I’m not implying that we white folks understand what it’s like to be black. But can’t we be a little more invested emotionally, especially if it’s a friend? Is that what it’s like to be a black man? To be all alone?  Is that what it’s like to be a man?

Well, that is sad, because we’re not made to get through this life alone.  All of us were created in complete divine connection. At birth, we experienced the first pangs of disconnection and ever since it’s the demon we fight daily, the demon of detachment.

I will never know what it’s like to worry about my husband or son going out, to wonder if they’ll be pulled over and treated like trash, or God forbid, worry that they’ll be killed by a rogue police officer.  I believe that MOST POLICE OFFICERS ARE NOT RACIST!  I believe that most of the men and women in uniform risk their lives every day for us and I am so very grateful for them.  Not everyone will agree with me because maybe that’s not their experience or what they’ve been told, but I know in my city, the police force is doing more to increase communication and build bridges to reach young people and families and to create safe places for people to live, work, learn and play.

We are ALL created in the image of God, in the image of LOVE.  We ALL have such amazing potential and glorious power, and it’s not man made or man-given.  You or I don’t have to wait to be given our power.

Take your personal power by rejecting the narrative that you are a victim. Have you been a victim of something bad?  I’m sure you have. But keeping that thinking, maintaining that as an identity will keep you down and powerless.

Don’t accept the narrative that others have given you. Make your own story for yourself.  Be your own woman. Be your own man. Don’t let the media or an institution or anyone else tell you who you are or should be.

You are powerful and a creator of good things.

I like having positive role models to help me stay focused on what’s important. It’s easy to get distracted sometimes, so I look to them as excellent examples of people who have overcome adversity and risen above it without the permission from anyone except one: themselves.

Give yourself permission today to do what you need to do to be free and powerful to live a life of joy and love and peace.

You are worthy my friend! So worthy and LOVED! It’s time to celebrate one another. Let’s not dwell on the negative. We can acknowledge it, and listen to one another’s stories, but let’s help each other move forward to become the creators of peace and love and joy that we were made to be.

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