top of page
  • Writer's pictureLarry Miller

Bipartisan Bravery is Needed to End America’s Racial Pandemic

When I saw the video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, many things went through my mind. Disgust and anger of course, followed by the cascade of questions that only time could answer. What was Floyd doing that warranted police intervention? Why did Chauvin restrain him by putting his knee on his neck when Floyd was already on the ground? Why did other officers at the scene allow Chauvin to continue?

Questions and questions and, so far, few answers.

Now we’re in the midst of daily protests from coast to coast. People shouting about racial injustices and inequality – and rightly so. The peaceful protests have sparked rioting, looting and lawlessness. Was that touched off just by criminals who saw an opportunity, or people with radical agendas who equally saw an opportunity – or both?

Questions and questions and, so far, few answers.

However, there already are some answers for all this unfolding social awareness, predictable promises and platitudes of redress, talks of equal opportunities, sentiments of solidarity, statue and mural removals, black squares posted on social media and televised moments of kneeling, dancing and breathing.

If I may be so bold, many of the deprivations pandemic throughout Black and Brown communities existed and festered long before the Trump presidency. The blame for them can be laid at the doorstep of both political parties. If any of the social unrest and verbal responses have meant anything, then government – both sides of the political aisle—should start by raising the minimum wage to a livable, family-sustaining income. Low pay and short hours don’t lift people out of poverty. If any of the slogans, platitudes and promises mean anything, elected officials must begin there.

When people work full-time hours and earn more money, they save more (good for banks) and spend more on items like clothing, books, cars, computers and services like internet access. When people earn more they need fewer government handouts and subsidies. When they work more hours, they qualify for employee medical benefits.

What about truly equitable funding for public education in those communities? There’s no law that will ever stop some people from dropping out of school, but for those who want a good education, shouldn’t that be a fundamental right? Education is one of the keys that opens doors of opportunity to careers in business, politics, technology, communications, the law, teaching, engineering and more.

Such careers enable home ownership, which promotes stable communities. And stable communities lower crime and violence. These answers and solutions are already known. The question is does the political will and vision exist to initiate them?

Now for a dose of reality to balance all of the platitudes of eradicating racism. If my sixty-plus years on Earth have taught me anything, it’s that racism cannot be eradicated by legislation. Oh, to be certain, the law can prevent overt and outward acts of provable discrimination on job sites and in public. But laws fall short of being able to change something whose root is in the human heart and mind.

History shows that evils such as hatred, contention, jealousy, wrath, selfish ambition, dissension, murder and the like have always existed. They lead to wars, brutality, slavery, tyranny and all of the suffering that follows. History also shows it far easier to destroy than to create.

The question here is how do we raise better human beings? Human beings given over to loving and respecting one another despite our differences? How do we create a society of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, restraint, faithfulness and self-control? Aspects of life for which there is no law?

What’s really needed is a protest, a revolution of the human heart, where we look within ourselves and think; how can I be a better man, a better woman? We change our world, our society, our culture not by violence and bloodshed, which only sows the seeds for more of the same, but by looking within and changing ourselves.

That requires a lot more time, energy, dedication, perseverance, endurance and effort than waving signs, chanting slogans and offering platitudes and promises


Larry Miller is the Special Projects Manager Ceisler Media's Philadelphia Office.


Post Categories

bottom of page