This is The RK3 Show Episode Number 62 and today’s episode is quite a bit different. It’s what I call one of those “From the Heart” episodes. Nothing is scripted, no notes, no show intro, no music. No nothing. It’s just real raw from the heart.
I felt the need to do it this way today because of what’s happening and in our country. We have a lot of our guest episodes already recorded and in the bucket – we don’t have any shortage of episodes. But it just felt different.
It just felt like I needed to process, it felt like I needed to talk. It felt like I needed to just share what’s on my heart in a way that is productive and yet real.
George Floyd: What happened?
If you don’t know what’s happening in our country, it’s that a gentleman by the name of George Floyd was killed by an officer in Minnesota last week May 25th and now our country’s at a place where there are protests. Dnd on top of the protests – most of which are peaceful – there are riots, there’s looting. All of that is kind of par for the course as far as most major protests go, but not for the reason that we would think.
Rioters: Jubilant People or Thugs?
I remember living in the state of Massachusetts when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 after nearly a century of “bad luck”. When that happened, there was crazy happening in Boston. People were jumping on top of cars before, flipping police cruisers. Windows were being broken out, stores being broken into – all sorts of crazy happening.
Those were not considered riots. The people weren’t considered thugs. The people weren’t considered anything other than jubilant people who were experiencing something that their city, their state hadn’t experienced in a decade.
Where I live now in the state of Maryland, when the Freddie Gray situation happened, there was a lot of those protesting but there was also rioting and crazy and all sorts of different things happening in the in the state. And at that point, people were referred to as thugs. People are referred to as criminals in a general way even before considering what they were fighting or what was going on.
Because of the existence of footage cellphone cameras, smartphones, and the ability to record, there are a lot of different things that are happening that our mainstream media are not reporting or picking up on.
There are groups that are not related to the protesters that are inciting violence. These people are referred to as “provocateurs” or in short, troublemakers.
They’re going in and being manipulative and they’re taking advantage of a situation to incite stuff that isn’t necessary because they know that the certain group of people are going to be blamed.
They just want to cause additional harm and pain and distract away from the situation that is taking place. It’s a shame that that is not only where our country is but it’s a shame that that is where people feel that they have to be in order to keep themselves in a position of power.
Amy Cooper and the Bird Watcher
Last week, when all this was starting to take place. I was in this place where I didn’t know what to say. But I had a raw thought come into my mind.
I listened to the story of this young lady in the park that was being asked by a man to leash her dog. She was in a dog park and in an area where dogs needed to be leashed and he simply asked her to do what was required in that area because he was bird watching. And she told him that she was going to call the police and tell them she was being threatened by an African-American man, and she did just that.
If you feel threatened, why stay? If you feel threatened, if you feel in fear of your life, if you feel like you’re about to be harmed, why would you stay there?
I’ll share with you one of my fears. I don’t like snakes. If I’m walking down the street and I see a snake and I see that that snake is coiled up and ready to strike, I’m not going to stand there and say “oh my gosh, let me call someone to get rid of the snake.” Im running!’m not going to wait to be bitten or struck then figure out whether it’s a venomous snake or not. I’m getting out of there.
I don’t understand why someone who says that they feel threatened would then stand there. And call 911 to say that “I’m being threatened and I feel scared because an African-American man is threatening me.” This is NOT FEAR. That’s ENTITLEMENT. It’s PRIVILEGE. It’s WEAPONIZING RACE.
Then what made it worse for me is that for some people, they kind of felt that she did the right thing. She apologized – “I’m not racist. I apologize.”
You may not be explicitly racist however, your INHERENT IMPLICIT BEHAVIOR makes it clear that you consciously or unconsciously view a group of people in a certain way.
My response to that apology as a human being, as a believer, as a Christian is that I forgive you, but I do not accept your apology. I do not accept your apology because there was no statement of changing the behavior. There was no statement of recognizing the incorrectness/inappropriateness of your behavior. You just didn’t want to be thought about in a certain way going forward.
The callousness of our society is so much so that even when being recorded, we believe somewhere in our heart that our behavior is warranted, we are justified, and we’re going to be able to get away with it. We may have a difficult moment. We may be called out but society, history, leadership, the laws – everything is on our side so our behavior is justified. That is the very definition of privilege.
How Can We Make Change Happen?
How do we begin to think differently? How do we begin to operate differently?
It starts with individual willingness from those who benefit from a system. The individual willingness to reject that system. And then with the individual willingness has to come a a corporate willingness.
The individual now needs to go to friends, family, leaders, community leaders, city leader, state leaders and begin to convince them. Not just to create laws that provide equity, equality but to reject the system itself. Reject the system itself that provides or creates the situations where we have protesting and even the looting.
It’s disheartening when we see news or conversations and those lump protesters, looters, and rioters all into the same bucket. They’re not of the same bucket. Protesters, especially peaceful protesters, are simply bringing light, bringing awareness to an issue that is affecting a larger community.
Looters are manipulators – people who simply want to get some stuff for free and are using and taking advantage of the love of the heightened emotions in a certain time and place. That’s criminal – bottom line.
Rioters are not necessarily in the same place with looters. However, the issue at hand is that that they’re different than than protesters.
As a Christian, a biblical example of when when Jesus went into the temple and he started to turn over tables and and and break things down because the there they were disrespecting what the temple stood for. We started to turn it into a marketplace.
Profit and greed became paramount and he went in and he was turning over tables. He was a rioter in that in that circumstance. Was he a looter? No, because he wasn’t taking the stuff that was there.
Was he protesting? Yeah, he was protesting. But he was also taking it a step further. And to be quite frank, in some cases when you’re not being listened to, when you’re unheard, riots take place.
Where Do We Go From Here?
But what is it that we do? Where do we go from here? What what do we do? I dont have the full or complete answer. What I do know is that sorry or an apology is no longer enough.
My desire is that we break down and we reject the system that creates this. I know that’s a hard thing and it may be an impossible thing. It’s a huge undertaking. And maybe it’s something that is not even feasible right at this moment.
What is feasible is for us, together – I call on my European friends, brothers, and sisters to begin to intentionally look inward. And determine what is it that you can do to help provide opportunity to make a difference and to look seriously at the implied or unconscious behaviors.
Take on the action of questioning yourself everyday step out of your comfort zone. Look around you if you recognize that your circle is is homogeneous. If your circle only consists of a specific group of people, how can you step out of your comfort zone to reach out to someone else? To just form a real relationship and then begin standing up for them.
How can you do that? I call on my European brothers and sisters, but I also call on my African. brothers and sisters to push through the anger, to push through the pain, to push through the frustration.
On an individual level, not everybody is bad, not everybody is out to hurt you, not everybody is out to make your your life difficult. I fully recognize that it can be difficult when someone is trying to understand and reach out in the person that you’re reaching out to is rejecting you.
So I call on my people of African descent also to recognize the efforts of brothers and sisters who pain with you as well. They may not understand or even be able to experience the experience that you have. But it’s going to call for openness on the part of every person to call for openness from all of us and a willingness to move through.
Hope Still Exists
We’re in a crazy time. Were in a crazy timing. I know that we are not anywhere close to a solution and I know that were not able to flip a switch and and change things. But hope still exists.
Choose HOPE. Choose to look towards a brighter day choose to believe that greater things are possible. Choose to believe that human beings really have good in their hearts and it’s up to us to bring that out of each other TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY.
Yeah, there are a few rotten apples in the bunch. But let’s not lump those rotten apples in with everyone. Let’s all look to see if we can find the goodness in each other.
Individually and collectively, let’s see if we can make some change and do something different. And really embrace hope and see if we can make this world a better place.
— Robert Kennedy III, RK3, Host of The RK3 Show