I was struck recently with an observation that I tried to rationalize in my white male head as I was interacting with the world without my uniform on. I had some errands to run and was struck with the reflections in my eyes.
As I walked around one store, I observed a young black female with a young white male and by their interaction they appeared to be a couple. Somehow the interaction was without malice. When I went to the counter to pay for my purchases the black store clerk greeted me in a kind and helpful voice, it was a genuine. We exchanged small talk and when I was completed she wished me a “good day” that I returned to her. When I had completed that task, my son and I stopped into a Chinese restaurant. We approached the counter purchased our food and went to take a table to eat. My son was wearing a shirt with a kali emblem on it and one of the other diners, a Filipino man who was with a black woman and two children who appeared to be their children, called out a greeting to him. There was an older white man with an oriental woman and several other people of differing melanin levels all eating in the same restaurant.
As we were heading to our car to leave, my son and I had a conversation about the way we could negotiate through society, 2 white guys who just interacted with all kinds of people of differing cultures, beliefs, values and skin tone and yet no yelling, screaming, hatred or violence. Not one terse word was spoken in all the interactions we had, just pleasant greetings and people going about their lives.
Our experience that day is repeated by millions of people in thousands of towns across this great country every hour. Where is the hatred, where is the racism and where are the riots? I only see them where the media and politicians create them. So why is it our minds don’t believe what our eyes see?
It is in the best interest of politicians and the media to create an environment where people feel like victims. Victims need someone to protect them and the media needs a story. Why else would you only see problems where the cameras are? But victimhood eventually allows people to avoid responsibility for their behavior and blame others thus victims become dependent on others to take care of them. This kind of dependence then leads people to seek out those who feel sorry for themselves and weakens not only them but the society they belong to. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 states – “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
These kinds of articles often draw the ire of those who claim victimhood but I am asking those who may get angry to breath and step outside the victim status for a minute. Ask yourself if your experiences in life are really because you are a victim or have been told to be one. The truth of life is that life sucks. We are blessed with good days in between difficulty and drudgery. EVERYONE suffers from unfair treatment. That does not dismiss inappropriate behavior from anyone but life is not fair and if anyone told you it was, they lied to you.
If you care to make a change in your victim perspective here are some suggestions:
- Make the decision that you don’t have to be a victim.
- If you find yourself getting defensive, ask yourself if the person making you mad is just a jerk to you or everyone.
- Step outside of your group and interact with other people. Groupthink is dangerous for everyone but interacting with others can help you see them as individuals.
- Make the conscious decision that you have control over your thoughts and behavior and not other peoples’.
Changing how we see things can be the beginning on a much more fulfilling and self-directed course in life. America has come a long way, let’s not get dragged back to the past when it seems in everyday life people have moved on.
Tim Barfield is in his 35th year as a police officer. He started as a police officer in a rural village before transferring to an inner ring suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He spent 32 years in that department gaining experience in many areas of police work. In 2014, he accepted a position as police chief for another department. He is a husband, father and grandfather who has a love for police work and police officers with a goal of helping them succeed in a great profession. His responsibilities and desires have included patrol, traffic, DARE, SWAT, training and supervision. He is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. He continues to learn and instruct on subjects with an emphasis on awareness, police survival mindset and ethics.