Saint Louis is engulfed in civil disobedience, marching and window breaking. Just three years after Michael Brown’s death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, the city is once again the center of racial division in America.
The details of the case did not affect the rioters. The facts of the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, does not matter to the participants of the civil unrest. I had a speaking engagement in the Saint Louis area the afternoon of the verdict. I knew there would be trouble and even warned my attendees to be careful going home. But no one I spoke to knew the facts of this case. I asked waiters, guests and the food server. I stopped at a gas station and asked a guy pumping gas next to me. It was a non-issue to the public.
No one had followed the case, not when it happened back in 2011 or as the judge heard evidence – because those facts did not matter. What mattered was the beliefs of both sides of the issue. Those who believe cops are racist hunters of black men just knew another white cop had shot a black man. Those who believe the cops are righteous protectors of society believe the shooting was justified and the riots are just an excuse for gang members to loot.
Those who believe the police are racist have become angry and hopeless. They truly believe that they live in a country where the police purposely stop and target black men. In their hearts they accept as a fact police are their enemies and that America does not care. They may even believe that America applauds this action.
There is no real need to try and explain, help, find common ground, feel guilty or apologize. It will not matter, and you will not feel any better. You cannot “make sure” of anything, and you certainly cannot develop a program to alleviate their fear and anger.
You cannot get a grip of the situation if you consider it from where you live. You must try to place your normal human nature into an environment you feel is hostile and hopeless. You have to place yourself in an environment where it is common to have no fathers in the home, welfare is common and your major commodity in high school is gangs.
Once you believe something is true, you place it deep in your heart. It is difficult to get anything out of your heart. You will defend it vigorously and only surround yourself with like-minded people. If you tell a black man that cops are not his enemy, you are not only telling him he is wrong, but you are telling him everyone he knows is also wrong. You expect him to believe his friends, pastor, uncle and teachers at school are wrong. You expect him to reject the entertainers, sports stars and movie actors who are also wrong – and instead to think you are correct.
It will not matter what evidence you produce; your argument will be deflected. They call you a name because it changes the subject. Calling you a name stops you from dealing out the facts and gets you to defend yourself against the name-calling.
You develop intolerance of anyone not holding your beliefs because those are also the beliefs of most folks you know and look up to. This is why I keep telling all of my friends to stop debating and start gathering like-minded people to lead away from the heartfelt beliefs.
“Reaching out” to the other side is only a feel-good exercise but has no real hope of succeeding. We see folks hosting false beliefs and following the wrong people, and we think just sharing the truth with them is enough. But ask yourself a question: Could former President Obama reach out to you and get you to vote Democratic? How would that conversation go? Why do we think liberals can be converted with only a conversation and our very presence?
In reality, few of us have ever witnessed a debate with a liberal ending in their conversion, agreement and complete change of heart. It seldom happens, but we just keep trying. So what works? What always works? Organizing within self-thinking groups. Stop trying to convert and start building groups around our beliefs. No more inviting them in to be tolerant. Negotiating and debating is only great entertainment.
Have you ever seen Jesse Jackson debate? How about Al Sharpton, or the New Black Panthers? They are successful because they only associate with like-minded people. After the latest Saint Louis civil outbreak ends, you will still have division, misunderstanding and distrust. You get what you feed.
That’s how you build an army, church or social group. Stop inviting them to give their opinions, stop bragging about how you “schooled” some liberal. Let’s build or join groups we believe in and grow our society. My group is being built at www.Ur2Bfree.com.
No more trying to all come together. When, in the history of mankind, have we all been together? When Jesus Christ returns He will bring us all together for the very first time. And even then, only after He pulls us out and separates us from non-believers.
We are Americans, we have an American culture, American values and American virtues. If you do not share them and wish to change them, remember, we are also very competitive.