Everything wrong with America is on full display right now in Minneapolis.
A rogue white cop kills a black man amid accusations he might have passed off a fake $20 as real minutes earlier at a nearby convenience store. The black man is arrested and put in handcuffs, though it’s unclear exactly what threat he posed. Soon the man is on the ground, and the rogue cop puts, and keeps, his knee on the back of the man’s neck, in effect suffocating him until he dies.
Police brutality. Full stop.
The pent up and justified anger of people — white and black — fed up with the treatment of African-Americans, especially men, at the hands of police explodes.
Peaceful protests, the right way to show disgust, quickly gives way to rioting and looting. Innocent men and women, business owners and employees, stand to lose their careers because a small number of people turn to violence.
Looting is unlawful. Full stop.
For some reason, the four officers, all of whom are white, involved in the death of the black man have yet to be arrested.
A CNN journalist, who is not white, is. His crime? Doing his job.
Arresting journalists who are following the law while doing their job is wrong. Full stop.
The dictator-in-chief takes to Twitter to affirm that he’s all in favor of the looters being shot.
Idiotic (non-)presidential behavior. Full stop.
Nothing in this account is consistent with the simplistic myth that permeates throughout this country that America is the best nation in the world. Racism is never far from the surface all over the land. Chronic poverty is not addressed all over the land. Respect for the rule of law is absent all over the land. Corruption, under the guise of legislation, exists, and most especially in federal policies that benefit wealthy corporations over individual citizens.
Spare me the nonsensical responses that say “if you don’t like America, leave it.” Instead, acknowledge that the privilege that comes with being white in the United States also carries the responsibility to affirm that we have the power, because of our skin color, to improve the lives of everyone.
We can choose to acknowledge that power, or we can pretend that “those” people are responsible for taking care of themselves. We can demand a fairer economic, legal and educational system. We can, dare I say, make America great.
Or we can unfriend people on social media and claim an air of superiority.