by Henry Rissier

I don’t think most white people consider themselves to be racist, but after the horrific killing of George Floyd many of us have looked inward to try to understand what is happening in our country. After reading first hand experiences of black people with police such as “driving while black,” or U.S. Senator Tim Scott being held and interrogated numerous times for trying to enter the Senate chambers, my belief is that most white people, myself included, lacked proper empathy for what it’s like to be a minority in America.

Being old enough to remember segregation that was called “separate but equal,” the peaceful MLK marches and resultant white backlash, and then the ultimate passage of the The Civil Rights Amendment, a lot of us considered that huge strides had been made to eliminate racism in our country. To a great extent, this is true compared to our ugly past, but a small percentage of police have tainted that progress to the point where “systematic racism” is considered inherent in our country.

How can we overcome this -- whether it’s a perception or a reality?  Perhaps we can try to follow the example of Christ in everything we do or say. The responsibility for desire and action to end racism is the responsibility of every race, because hatred effects every race, religion, ethnicity, and even special needs people. I think the solution requires a mutual empathy and desire to understand each other and communicate. Let’s hope we can practice this in our community.