Over the past months, my feelings about the tragedy that took a young man’s life and for all intents, ruined another’s, have been torn
between our right to bear arms, self-defense, and the loss of a young man that reportedly loved children and sports. I have raised three sons and the very thought that one of my boys could lose his life in such a way – a way where two people could not have been more wrong about one another continues to haunt me. I hear the discussion of subconscious racial bias and fear, and I have to agree, to some degree, I see it in myself.
I was walking in downtown St. Louis on Sunday and I spotted a group of young black youths walking towards me on the other side of the street and without thinking, I smiled and waved to them. In return, I got the same back. For a moment I felt like I had, to at least a small degree, connected with the young men, if for no other reason, I acknowledged them with the initiative of respect and greeting that I hope conveyed that regardless of the color of my skin, or the differences of our opinions, I care about their issues, their worries and their grief.
Then it occurred to me that perhaps it may not be the answer to all of our issues, a simple wave and a smile – just a respectful greeting,
could be a beginning to us working on our inner fears and subconscious bias when it comes to relations between those born with a different skin color than the one we were born with. Maybe, such a simple effort could have avoided the tragedy between Trayvon and George. It made me feel a little better and more as though I was addressing my inner fears in a more positive way. Just wave, smile and say hi. Try it! Try it for Trayvon, George, and mostly for yourself and the rest of us!