Saturday, September 19, 2015

You Can't Escape Time

There's only one escape from Father Time and that's an early death. I thought this as I watched an ET edition that featured actors and recording acts in their earlier years and what they look like today. Time has a remarkable effect on the human body. I tried to remember being 18 years old and how old my parents seemed to me at the time. The truth is that I'm older today than my parents were in my teens. I now recognize that how we see ourselves is quite different than how we actually look to the world. I'm convinced that it takes a little while to have the mirror and our personal picture of ourselves synchronize. So let's enjoy today because the years are going by so fast and we don't have much control over how we age. 

Keep passing the open windows...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Inevitable "Preconceived Notions"

We're programmed to quickly learn what instances, people and things can cause us harm and to react accordingly to avoid or defend ourselves from the same. Unfortunately, these intuitive alarms are sometimes shaped by outside images. In short, we learn some things by what's presented to us in the media.  
The image of a man of color is often associated with aggression, danger and sadly,  wrongdoing. This skewed perception is dangerous when your job requires that you make life and death decisions in a split-second. Law enforcement officers have high stress jobs and we recognize that their ability to assess and act on situations is crucial to their survival. It's equally important that they recognize that their preconceived ideas of what a bad guy looks like must change. A black guy is not, by default, a bad guy and the idea that brutal - and in some instances fatal- force is necessary to apprehend a man of color is front and center in the media. Whether we agree with the amount of force being used and the way that law enforcement is being portrayed in the media in the interactions with minorities, the facts and statistics remain the same. There is an issue. There is a problem. Either we come together as a society to redefine protocols law enforcement use when interacting with the public or we will see a shift in how communities see and react to those hired to protect and serve them. At the moment the evidence is clear - men of color are disrespected, disregarded and considered guilty and dangerous from the moment they are approached by law enforcement. That perception needs to change. The video of tennis star James Blake taken down in front of a midtown hotel in NYC is just one image of a man of color that was lucky enough to have a platform to resolve the injustice of brutality officers inflict as matter of "precaution" on their part. Let's stop justifying unacceptable abuse of power and make things right.

Keep passing the open windows.