The U in U.S. Stands for United
It was a beautiful end of May weekend, one in which I was able to enjoy back-to-back days on the beach and witness the incredible launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
Meanwhile our country was in chaos, not just over the pandemic but a racial divide that is playing out in violent protests and riots from coast-to-coast. What we have watched over the last few days is at times difficult to put into words because by all accounts it is horrific, disturbing, frightening…add whatever else you want.
Which brings me to something that is at the core of much what has happened after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The overwhelming majority of you reading this like me are white. That’s not a headline story but a fact based on where we live. Even the most open-minded of us cannot relate to what it’s like for a black person to grow up in America because whether we want to admit it or not it’s different.
I was listening to an interview Sunday with Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason, one of only 13 Division 1 black head coaches in the nation. While watching the developments of the weekend he was reminded about his father who used to wear a lanyard around his neck that contained his driver’s license and registration.
Father advised son to do the same so if he was ever stopped by a police officer he would not have to reach into the glove compartment for the documents. They were right there.
In many black families father and son often have “the talk.” Not the one about sex and how to treat women but the one about being black in America, especially when dealing with the police. It’s very different from the conversation that most of us have with our sons and it’s a shame that in 2020 this is the country we live in.
I was watching an interview the other day with someone who said that the basic difference is simply this. When a white person is arrested they are innocent until proven guilty but when someone of color is arrested they are guilty until proven innocent.
I can’t relate and you can’t either.
Are we blessed or lucky or just blind to what is really happening in many towns and cities across our country. I don’t know but I am often reminded of something my father believed very strongly in: that our greatest threat was not from enemies outside America but rather ourselves.
We better start learning that the U in U.S. stands for united because divided we will fall.