EVUSA’s Stacy Hillard, Director of African American Ministries and Church Multiplication, recently had an article published on christianitytoday.com.
The Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO is troubling to me for two reasons: 1) I am an African American, and 2) I am a former police officer. Both play a vital role in shaping my view of the Ferguson incident and other incidents similar to Ferguson around the country in which young African-American males are dying at the hands of white police officers.
The problem is that each part of me creates a different perspective. Communities like Ferguson run into problems when they cannot understand how each group of people (police officers and African-Americans) see events like this differently.
While racism does exist among police officers, I don’t think it’s the driving force behind these tragic shootings. The driving force behind these incidents is not racism— it’s perspective! The varying perspectives at the heart of this tragedy are based, in large part, on false perceptions.
Too many encounters between young African-American males and white law enforcement officers are rooted in false perceptions that have created an unhealthy perspective on both sides. I believe that much of this is due to conversations that were meant to serve as solutions being centered on the wrong focal point: race.
Race is important because of the role it has played in shaping how we perceive others and ourselves. However, until we’re able to move beyond race and talk openly…….