I’m not one of those people who really wants to track genealogy. I don’t want to learn too much about the history that led me to being here, mainly because I think there would be some things that would come up that would make me angry enough to want to confront someone who had nothing to do with the past… lol
With that said, I have to own up to the fact that, obviously, I’m not “purebred black” in any sense of the word.
I’m not all that sure of my family history on my dad’s side of the family except that my grandfather was from Alabama and that somewhere along the line there was a mixing of Irish blood in the system. Based only on visuals there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that there was white blood in my history.
On my mom’s side… I do know that on her father’s side I’m a mix of black and members of the Blackfoot tribe from Canada and the Cherokee tribe of Oklahoma. I also know that on her mother’s side that my great grandmother was a mix of black and native American but I’m unsure which tribe that was, and is the only person I know for sure who was left on someone’s doorstep as a baby in a basket (seems that type of tale is true).
All of this truly makes me a person of color, but I identify more with being black than anything else based on my upbringing. Still, it makes me sensitive to the plight of all peoples of color, immigrants who aren’t necessarily people of color yet were treated as such (Italians were castigated in the early history of this country for having dark skin), people of different religions (even though I don’t personally have or believe in religion) and those who are different in other ways that I shouldn’t need to address.
With that said, it’s my hope that most of us will continue to speak out when we see something or hear something that’s negative against a group or person based not on who that person is but what they accept as their historical or current background. We can’t stay silent, but we should try not to be confrontational… although I’ll admit that part’s hard.
Why is it hard? Sometimes we’re pretty close to certain issues, and it’s hard to deny that, even looking at things from a leadership perspective, they seem to touch on the issue of race. Since I’m the guy who agreed with the statement that “it’s always about race“, and time and time again situations seem to prove it, I like to think that I can find either good or bad leaders and leadership processes that, even stimulated by seeming racial bias of some kind, lead us to a place where we can call out something and hopefully pull it back around to a lesson we can learn from.
I’m not sure, but let’s find out as I share this missive that I put on my Facebook page yesterday:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke needs to resign. He’s the worst kind of leader, and for a city the size and complexity of Milwaukee, he’s not what they need to move forward.
Why is he the worst kind of leader? Because instead of owning up to his responsibilities, and instead of trying to address the issue to bring people together, the only thing he has to say about the troubles with the police department is “Hey, black people kill more black people than we do.”
Not only is that leadership failure, it’s dodging the issue. The police are hired and trained to be a higher authority than the every day, average American. They’re supposed to have a set of rules and code, not unlike our military.
Even during war, our soldiers have to follow a code of conduct that their leaders set and follow, and you never hear a general say “well, with the pressure of our fighting “whomever”, it’s okay for us to kill them in any way possible and whenever we want to because they’re trying to kill us, and if who we kill happens to be innocent, oh well…”
That’s what this guy is doing. That’s what he did on the night Philando Castile was murdered by the police. He showed no remorse for this man being killed; he showed no concern that his police might have done something wrong. Instead he went on CNN & said President Obama’s lying. That’s not what true leaders do.
I hate when I see major leadership failures like this. Sure, there are other problems, real problems in black communities. There are real problems all over the world. However, when you step into a position of responsibility and authority you’re supposed to be above all that. You’re supposed to be a leader… period!
Also, because I know some people aren’t going to see this message for what it’s supposed to be (that’s how some people are these days) without my adding these disclaimers, let me say that retaliation against the police or military by shooting them also has to stop. You folks are just making it worse, and it’s not the right thing to do. We have to stop killing each other and focus on the real issues in this world in another way.
Let’s stop the killing ON BOTH SIDES… just stop… now… please…
I felt that had to be said, and I hope it delivered more of a leadership lesson than a diversity lesson. We all know that everyone’s not a racist or bigot, even if something they say is insensitive. I think we all know when someone really is and when they’re actually not.
I’ll try to remember this myself. Who’s with me?