Grievances expressed by black Americans are real and in need of being urgently and meaningfully addressed, and in many cases redressed.

However, since the largely peaceful demonstrations that were instrumental in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act we have seen those grievances evolve into riots and destruction in cities across the nation. The civil rights movement was underway when I was a college student, full of hope and controversy, and largely peaceful thanks to the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr.

That kind of leadership is obviously absent today, and has been since King’s assassination in 1968, another year of racial rioting.

While I can understand the frustration and even rage at a nation that appears to pay only lip service to racial equality, I have to wonder why many of the myriad facets of racial prejudice are being ignored by those who could do the most to overcome them.

In my experience, people earn respect through their behavior, not by demanding it. Stereotypes are created and maintained by the perceived behavior of a cohort, although they are certainly strengthened by pre-existing prejudice. And prejudice is expressed in often subtle ways that effectively keep people isolated by race, religion, and ethnicity and can therefore be extremely difficult to overcome. But prejudice can be overcome, primarily by determined action by individuals and groups in the form of behavior that commands respect.

Rioting does not command respect. The emotions that give rise to rioting can be sympathized with, but the rioting cannot. In the current environment of incivility among people holding widely divergent views it has become apparent that shouting and retreating into shallow sloganeering instead of reasonable, informed, and thoughtful discussion has become the norm with the result that we remain a people polarized seemingly beyond ever reaching agreement on anything of importance.

So it is with rioting. It solves nothing, reinforces negative stereotypes, and makes overcoming prejudice even more difficult. And yet it continues and repeats. National and local leadership doesn’t seem to have much constructive impact on the problem, as illustrated by the ineffectiveness of the immediate past president, a man uniquely qualified to have helped had he wished to do so. So it falls to leaders within the cohort trying to overcome the prejudice that causes such frustration and anger to change the approach; to insist on dignity, self-discipline, achievement rather than destruction and criminality. I’m still looking for those leaders.

It also falls to leaders at every level of government, local, regional, and national to insist that the public they serve is treated fairly. The examples of improper behavior by a tiny minority of law enforcement officers is a clear and glaring failure of leadership. When I was a U.S. Army company commander in the early ’70s that kind of failure of leadership routinely resulted in the summary removal of the immediate commander. If you fail to maintain the discipline of your organization and your people, you should be removed from your position of leadership. So, leaders, certainly charge those within your organization who violate the law, but you had better take immediate and lasting action to see that it is not repeated. That’s your job. If you don’t do your job you should not retain the privilege of command/leadership.

It’s time for grownups from all walks of life to assert themselves in favor of doing what’s necessary to make America truly great again.

James Sherry is a resident of Winchester.

(41) comments

spencersullivan

There were precisely 10 unarmed black people killed by police last year in America.

https://youtu.be/33vP7XP8qMs?t=108

Bernie Mac

There is something deeply wrong in the souls of the people that cannot bring themselves to condemn the rioting, arson and stealing that is rampant in America right now. Perhaps these people have no souls.

Spock Here

There is something deeply wrong in the souls of the people who cannot bring themselves to condemn the public execution of an American, with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes. Perhaps these people have no souls.

Doc Samson

Yes, please point out who HASN'T condemned that? I hereby condemn it! It was wrong on all levels. It was bad. It shouldn't have happened. Enough? Now that I've met your superficial virtue signaling, is it okay to also condemn the rioting and looting? I'll wait for your permission before doing so...

Bernie Mac

Like I said, he just can't do it.

Bernie Mac

Am I the only one that thinks Spork writes like a 10 year old?

Spock Here

Am I the only one that thinks Bernie writes like a 7 year old?

Doc Samson

Leftists believe their own lies, they can't help it - https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/03/the-media-are-lying-to-you-about-everything-including-the-riots/

shinyhappypeople

Your “source” the Federalist is a completely racist/ ultra conservative rag that actually has a tab for “black crime” section. They also offered support and cover for Roy Moore....so you’ll excuse us all when we laugh in your face when you source them.

Doc Samson

But of course... I wouldn't expect anything less! [lol]

Doc Samson

Also, feel free to prove any of the facts presented in the article as untrue... [whistling]

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

So now the Trumpsters are the custodians of MLK's legacy? If they do no better with it than they have done with being the custodians of the Constitution, the law, the Presidency, civility, order, decency, compassion, national unity, justice, freedom, or just about anything else you can name, then there won't be a legacy left.

Conservative

Nope, we are just reminding you of his legacy. Quit being triggered by who says it.

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

I am not triggered by anything. Absolutely amazed at the tone deafness of Orange-a-teers, but not triggered by any means.

Doc Samson

@Con - As with Spork above, only Leftists get to decide who can comment on each issue. Unless you are white with bad conservative thoughts. Or black with bad conservative thoughts. Or Hispanic and support Trump. If you are one of those, you get no say in anything...

shinyhappypeople

How many national news stories of black men and women being killed or assaulted at the hands of rogue cops have we heard from just this past year alone? Any idea? Or have you lost count and become numb to it like when you hear there’s an active shooter at a school or a mall. These cops killed this man for no actual reason- all in broad daylight while they knew they were being video’d committing this heinous crime! Why? Because they can. And they do. All the time, all over the country. No place is too big or too small for police corruption to flourish and for officers to act with little or no impunity. In the rare instance that they are charged, or even are removed from their position, the police unions work their magic and within months they are quietly reinstated and free to return to police the community once again. There is a pervasive and systemic internal problem that runs through the law enforcement community and while it is not all of law enforcement it is a falsehood to say that it is merely a few bad apples. Donald Trump has given a pass to white supremacists, his business (Trump management) has been sued and fined twice for racial discrimination, was a leading proponent of the racist“birtherism” quackery, blamed the 5 exonerated black men in the Central Park jogger case from the late ‘80’s (they were exonerated in 2002 and in 2019 he still insisted on there guilt...because his hunches are ALWAYS correct...*See hydroxychloriquine), and during these wildly chaotic and emotional days repeated a known racist slogan to the entire nation saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Please save the pearl-clutching for something befitting the righteous indignation you feign. Rioting and looting are horrible actions and should be punished for the crimes they are. Worse still- an even more heinous and horrific crime- is the normalization of killing and assaulting minorities at the hands of those tasked with keeping the peace and keeping us all safe and sound. No justice? No peace!

Spock Here

For some around here all that is apparently no excuse for getting "uppity." A knee on the neck, out for a jog, sleeping in your own home..."sit down and be quiet"

Bernie Mac

Thanks for the Democrats social justice talking points.

Now, what is your opinion?

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

You are the QAnon talking point king, Bernie.

Spock Here

I doubt even QAnon thinks he's worth their time. Some of them are actually intelligent and witty, tho not in a good way

Conservative

All that looting and violence does is reinforce stereotypes that fuel racism in the first place.

Spock Here

Except many of the looters are hired help from both extremist wings and actually Caucasian.

Conservative

I said the same thing (except for the skin color part because it doesn't matter) and was questioned by every leftist on here. Too many agendas and not enough truth saying.

Bernie Mac

Rioting, arson and stealing are NOT free speech. Violence against innocent people is NOT free speech. Those are crimes. Those that advocate and excuse such behavior are lowlife scumbags. This includes most media and most Democrats. Including those that post here on a regular basis. They are not fit to live among civilized people.

Spock Here

"Those that advocate and excuse such behavior are lowlife scumbags. This includes most media and most Democrats. Including those that post here on a regular basis. They are not fit to live among civilized people." Gee Bern, I guess it's too much to ask for a source "most media and most democrats including those that post here" Maybe it's time to give the hamsters in your head a coffee break or something.

Bernie Mac

@Spork

It's called an opinion, you idiot.

Doc Samson

@Bernie Mac - As we know by now, you can show actual footage or raw data and they still won't look or consider. Trying to provide "proof" is simply a waste of time...

Doc Samson

@Bernie Mac - Hold my beer! https://videos.whatfinger.com/2020/06/03/gutfeld-on-the-medias-role-in-the-riots-you-will-not-believe-these-clips-from-cnn-disgusting/

They won't even watch it...

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

"Civilized"........don't make me laugh, Bern. You, of all people, talking about being "civilized." There is a whole world outside of your mama's basement and Alex Jones' rants, Bern.

Bernie Mac

That's right. Civilized people don't act out on their base urges. Civilized people think about consequences before they act. Civilized people do not burn, loot and riot. Why do some Democrats have such difficulty understanding this basic concept?

Spock Here

Civilized people don't put their knee on someone's neck for almost 9 minutes, the reason behind the protests, which are different from the calculated burning, looting, and rioting Why do you have such difficulty understanding this basic concept?

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

Bernie, take the log out of your own eye. lol. You are always rude, crude, and hateful in the gross (and wrong) generalizations and sloganeering that passes for your political speech. You are, of course, free to say it, but at least take a look in the mirror before calling others "uncivilized." lol.

Bernie Mac

No matter how much a person can try to explain why rioting, arson and stealing is wrong, some people will never get it. They are just to thick-headed and cold-hearted. it is an exercise in futility. Like trying to teach physics to a donkey.

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

Bernie, it is appropriate that you should reference a donkey.

Spock Here

I know, let's kneel quietly during our national anthem to protest racial injustice. How can anybody complain about that?.....

Bryan.the.Nuri

You want protests that conform to your delicate sensibilities?

They raised their fists. You got mad.

The released the video tape. You got mad.

The posted videos online. You blamed the victims.

They carried guns. You called them thugs.

He knelt for the anthem. You cheered when he was called a son-of-a-b*tch.

Not to excuse the rioting, but I think they are done being ignored.

slowe

Yes, after repeated being ignored, dismissed, killed, imprisoned, mistreated, discriminated against, put off, disallowed to vote, what is left. Rioting, sadly, is all that is left to them to get the attention needed. Rioting would stop if: police were more fair and less racist, if politicians were more equitable, if whites were more aware of their own racism, if the police were better trained, if the bad cops were reported and dismissed. The end of the riots is in the hands of those in power - it always has been.

Conservative

That's not what Dr. King preached, and you know you are wrong. Protests are what he was about, not rioting and looting. You should be ashamed for encouraging rioting.

Spock Here

Agreed, Con. Some people don't know when to shush

Bryan.the.Nuri

Who encouraged riots? Not us.

But please, lecture the African American community as to how they can protest the systemic racism in a way that you can safely approve.

We'll wait.

ralcabin

So you personally know the author, & can say he got mad each time ? There is no excuse for the vandalism & stealing of innocent people's businesses. They are behaving like thugs & that does absolutely nothing for for there cause. Oh good we get to steal some stuff, set fires, break windows, that will definitely show the world we need to be treated better.

George Floyd's brother stated they weren't accomplishing anything by doing that. They aren't honoring his memory. What about the two police officers who were injured, one severely, ran over by a car? Or the black ex police captain in St. Louis who was shot & killed by a looter? Hear much coverage about that from the bias media? All they are doing is making themselves look bad, period. Charges have been brought against the cop, & all 4 were fired. Stop killing more innocent people, & let justice condemn Floyd's killer.

You are setting back history, Martin Luther King never resorted to theft or vandalism, & accomplished so much more. The act of one bad cop should not make you destroy hundreds of innocent people's lives. That is all you are doing right now.

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