Riots in Cincinnati

Tonight I heard about the riots in Cincinnati for the first time. I feel rather disconnected that I didn’t hear about them before–which is odd considering I check three or four different news sites on a daily basis. I watched the footage on the news tonight and it was like some movie or footage from the 1960s on one of those PBS documentaries.

People screaming, the crowds reeling, the blood flowing. The angry mobs, the powerless leaders, the armored men fighting back the crowd. An innocent man killed.

Maybe not so innocent, but the parallels are still there.

Racial incidents drive me nuts. Nobody has any good answers. You can tell the kind of people you’re with by the way they react to news reports. Which side do they come down on, what kind of comments do they make? It’s very telling of a person’s racial attitudes.

So the black man is running from the white cop, he turns and reaches for something, possibly a weapon. Pop. The white officer fires in self-defense, fearing the worst. The unarmed black man drops to the ground, shot dead. It’s not a very good situation for anyone involved.

What causes a man to run from a cop like that? What causes a cop to fear the first and start pulling the trigger? And couldn’t the cop aim for a leg or a shoulder–or is that too much to ask in the heat of the moment? And why would a hunted man make a movement that could be seen as threatening when he’s facing a cop with a gun? Why have 15 people been killed by the Cincinnati police since 1995? 15 black people? 15 black males? Apparently white guys aren’t dangerous. Are African American males really that dangerous? Are they all gun-toting thugs that deserve to be gunned down in self-defense? Or is this just a senseless stereotype that is continually perpetuated?

It’s perpetuated every time a parent tells you not to go to that part of town. It’s perpetuated every time you watch the news and someone makes a comment about those people. You wonder where racism comes from? It comes from the innocent comments that go unquestioned and serve to perpetuate the stereotypes.

Will it ever end? No, I don’t think so. We’re only human.

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