The Portland Protests

Violence. Intimidation. Destruction of Property.

How’s that helping the process of combatting and eventually overcoming racial prejudice in our land?

I read that groups of masked people (mostly white), supporters of Black Lives Matter, have gone into white neighborhoods demanding to know whether residents agree with them or not. Or they go to the outside seating area of restaurants doing the same. Or they take and destroy property wantonly.

How’s that helping?

It is not.

You want quick results on the issue of race? Then you will have none.

But you will be sure to get backlash.

Racism cannot be resolved by violence.

Racism is the ugly offspring of intimidation, of disregard for the other, of people in power closing themselves to discovering what is human in those who are different from them.

It is rooted in fear of the other.

You cannot eradicate it through provoking fear.

Racism is a solvable problem but it will take commitment.

Our reluctance to not confront it has diminished us as a people. And still does. But you can’t scare people out of it.

We have to persuade. Induce people to embark in the quest for personal knowledge that will expand their minds and make room to accept those who are different from them.

No one jumps from being racist to not being racist.

It is a process and will take time.

Racism is not a matter of intelligence. People can be very smart and even make important contributions to humanity and yet be hampered by racist beliefs. Eminent people, even Nobel Prizes have been racists.

Intelligence will help a person work through their racism, but that quality alone does not preclude it.

Our nation can and should, organize a better effort to continue to reduce racism simply out of self interest, for steadily reducing racism will make us stronger, smarter, wiser and yes, more beautiful too.

Every African American in this country is entitled to affirm themselves each and every time they believe they are being treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. That needs to be supported, both at the individual and community level. Be firm, not violent.

If we sincerely wish to attenuate our racist feelings, when we encounter someone of a different race – no matter what their economic standing – let us quietly ask ourselves, ‘What gifts do they have that I don’t?’

I assure you they have gifts. We just need to look for them.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books. Available in Amazon.

Two Officers are Shot in Compton, California. 9/12/2020

Mr Biden and the State assemblyman for the area quickly condemned the act while calling for justice. Our President, on the other hand, upon seeing the video of the shooting and referring to the perpetrator, tweeted, ‘Animals that must be hit hard.’

Let us pause to think about the difference.

The two officers from the Sheriff’s department were shot in the face and head. Both had joined the force only 14 months ago. A woman, 31, a man, 24. They have undergone surgery at a nearby hospital and are reported to be in critical condition.

The officers were on duty patrolling a Metro station for the train that passes through Compton. They were helping passengers in the system feel safe. People like you and me.

The shooter chose to see the officers as easy targets.

‘All these cops are bad. I don’t care what they’ve done,’ the shooter must have thought. ‘If you put that uniform on, you’re bad. They share responsibility for what other officers have done. I could wait for the court system to look at the details, but how long will that take? Plus, the courts are run by the elites in power. I’m not going to wait for that. I’ll just go out and kill myself a couple. Never mind if they’ve never committed any abuses themselves. Never mind if they have brothers and sisters and parents and children. My need for revenge is greater than anything else.’

Animated by such anger, the person found a gun and readied for the act.

Before proceeding, he may have spoken to someone in his confidence and said, ‘I’ll be in the news, for sure. I hope I don’t get caught, but if I do, I’ll be in the news all over the world. I will be part of history, whereas right now I’m not part of anything, my life of little value.’

The other person may have tried to dissuade him (or her, we don’t know the sex yet) saying something like, ‘this eye for an eye way of settling things has been tried before and it doesn’t work,’ which may have given pause to the shooter and the officers would have been spared.

Or, the other person may have said, ‘wow, what guts you have! I didn’t know you had it in you. I mean, you haven’t done much with your life so far, and you have a low opinion of yourself, but now you’re wanting to turn it around. Well, yeah, I guess you’ll be a hero to some.’

Or, the other person could have said, ‘You’re a fool! Stop that thinking right away! You have to learn to value yourself. What’s the matter with you? You’re just starting out. Life is precious! Don’t waste it!’

Or, the would be shooter might have had no one to speak to, no one to say that he was filled with such hatred from all the recent incidents in our national life, and had not been able to process the anger and destructive choices that were festering in him.

In the end, there was no one around with the courage to say to the would be shooter, ‘pause my brother, there have been many injustices in our lives, yes, and there will be more, but we can’t just strike out in anger or we will perish together.’

And before the president said his famous words, that same person would have said to the shooter, ‘none of us, Blacks, Whites, Asian, Latinos, are “Animals that must be hit hard”’.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books, including Letter to A Shooter. Available in Amazon.