Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Truth is Always in the Middle

If you haven't seen the news, today there was a video that surfaced of two young black men who tied up a white man and repeatedly cut and beat him while they scream "(bleep) white people; (bleep) Donald Trump!"  The incident was recorded by two black women on Facebook Live for over thirty minutes.

The chief of police called the entire event 'sickening.'  What poured fuel on the fire was when investigators at a press conference wouldn't talk about it as a hate crime because they had no proof  the victim 'voted in the election.'

Say what?

Some commentators on the news were outraged and quick to echo New Gingrich, "If this had been done to an African American by four whites, every liberal in the country would be outraged, and there’d be no question but that it’s a hate crime.”

As you may have guessed this has become a Red vs Blue issue - which is now becoming the secondary story.  A whole lot of head scratching is going on about whether the reluctance to call it a hate crime is a double standard.  

Just what is a 'hate crime?'  

I (mistakenly) thought it had to do with whether the assailant was hateful in his intent.  Actually, the law is not about the emotion involved and more about the victim selected.   A hate crime is when you purposefully pick a person of a specific gender, race, ethnicity etc.  So it made some sense that the investigators were still trying to determine whether the assailants were specifically picking a white person to beat up.

However . . . this is a pretty thin technicality.  Seems like it could have been pretty quickly determined - say like in the first five minutes of watching the tape.  You can see it here.  

But I want to challenge you first.

When you watch this video - resist the urge to write over the event.  Don't make this horrible act into a grenade you can launch here on Facebook at people who think differently than you.  Let's keep our focus on changing the culture in our country.  

See, because here is what you will be tempted to do:  You will watch this horrible video and you will then post something that supports your liberal or conservative worldview.  You will forget that the truth is always in the middle.  You will create more divisions and launch a secondary cultural argument.  You will repeat this savage act in your social media contempt of opposing viewpoints.  One violent act in the city begets several thousand violent acts in the suburbs.

And it never ends.

Jedidiah Brown, an activist in the community of Chicago said it well: "We in Chicago have embraced such a violent culture . . . I think we're failing this next generation that's coming up behind us."
Notice the word he used: 'We.'
Before you post anything about 'you' - think again about 'we.'  It is easy to lob verbal grenades at each other and feel like you have accomplished something.  Start your conversations with questions rather than statements.  How can we fix this thing - in our town, our neighborhood?
Getting rid of our culture of violence may just start with a simple act of cooperating over social media as we pick up the pieces together.

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