Friday, November 28, 2014

With Us or Against Us: The All or Nothing Logic Trap

I could be naive, and I'm willing to admit my intellectual limitations, but saying all cops aren't racist is akin to saying all black people aren't criminals. No serious person disputes this sort of claim. As a nation we suffer from a severe lack of critical thinking. In my opinion, the biggest outward sign of this lack is our collective inability to look at situations and recognize the gray areas contained in them.

We continually fall into the trap of declaring 100% allegiance for or against a proposition without looking for any overlap. America is either the greatest nation on earth or the worst; instead of a more realistic view that America has done a lot of good things, yet she has her share of dirty secrets as well. We're forced to make choices in which all of our proverbial eggs are in one basket. I reject the notion that I have to be left-wing or right-wing, up or down, in or out. Situations like Ferguson, Missouri have the tendency to bring out the worst in our country when it comes to in-group out-group distinctions.

Race is such a sensitive issue that important questions related to the topic are trivialized. For example: why is the unemployment rate for black veterans almost twice that of white veterans? That's a legitimate question, but if I ask it I'm a"race hustler". We(as a nation)are almost to childish to have adult conversations.

Over last few years I have donated money and supported several groups that peaceful protest and fight against laws I feel are unfair I.E. stop-and-frisk, but my support isn't an indictment against all of the individuals in law enforcement, but a critique of the system itself. I'll always stand with black people fighting for equality and dignity, but I'll never (voluntarily) live in the hood again. I know that gang violence is a problem, but I reject the notion that every black kid is in a gang or a threat. It's funny, the majority of pedophiles in this country are white, yet when I see a white person I don't automatically assume they molest children, nor do I fear that they will shoot up a school or movie theater.

It seems odd that when someone of color stands up for our people controversy ensues. I have stood in solidarity with gays and lesbians in their fight for equal treatment under the law without my motives or patriotism being questioned. It's like I have to choose between being a black man or being an American. That's a choice I won't make for anyone.