Change. I’ve gotten so tired of that word. Obama used it as his slogan during his campaign for the presidency. People slapped the slogan on their bumper next to their “Coexist” stickers. For me, it has become such an over-used word that it has become ubiquitous and thus lost its meaning nearly altogether.
Now, with the lack of indictments in two admittedly hot-button and controversial for all the wrong reasons grand jury decisions, people are clamoring for “change” in the way police handle situations.
I won’t belabor the part of the argument in which people forget that if they’d simply do as they are legally ordered to do, they can avoid all of this drama in the first place.
No, I will assume that the people who really are curious about how to improve relations will be more like my new friend, Patricia.
In November of 2014, I attended Michael Hyatt‘s Platform Conference. During a breakout session, I made a comment about cops only trusting other cops.
Patricia, a black lady, wanted to know what I meant when I said it. We started to talk and what she was really asking me was much deeper than me explaining my comment. She wanted to know how her community and the police could begin to heal and improve relations. (I was intrigued by her question because she had earlier mentioned she is the author of a book called My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness.
I found her non-confrontational, up-front, and sincere approach both honest and endearing.
We agreed that the conference didn’t really allow for us to delve deeper, so we agreed to reconnect later and talk about the kind of change the two of us, a white cop and a black lady, could start.
What follows is a three-part video series I did for Uniform Storie’s Ask Motorcop series that talks about the very change we had alluded to at our conference.
Q1: Do cops only trust other cops?
Q2: What if police treated people with more respect?
Q3: How do we improve police and citizen relations?
Did we solve the world’s ills? Nope.
Did we bring years of racial tension to its knees? Don’t be daft.
Did we start a conversation about how to change for the better? We did.
I hope I changed her mind about what a white police officer is like and how we approach a given situation. I know she has given me plenty to think about when I am interacting with the public.
The bottom line is this: Two American adults with very different life experiences talked about some divisive and touchy subjects without invectives or anger.
If we can change our preconceived notions and sit down with open minds and open hearts, there shouldn’t be a reason others can’t do the same.