Empathy is the answer for police shootings

blmpoliceGrowing up biracial, with a black father and a white mother, made me something of an outsider. I held allegiances to two groups, but never completely felt part of either one.

Racist comments from the Italian side of my family and slurs from my white peers at school were a constant reminder that I was different, inferior. I was too black. Insults from a couple of black family members – and one in particular – about the way I talked, the clothes I wore, the fact that when it came to black popular culture I always seemed to be a step behind, also let me know that I never quite fit in. I was too white.

While this kind of criticism wasn’t so great for my self-esteem, it taught me to see the same issue from multiple perspectives. When you grow up within two worlds at odds, you come to understand both viewpoints without necessarily agreeing with either one. Instead of choosing a side, you step back and see how destructive and pointless the fight is.

Watching the news unfold this past week has been heartbreaking. Last Thursday night I finally brought myself to watch the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being shot to death by police. Less than an hour later, scrolling through my Twitter timeline, I learned that police at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas had been shot, and as we now know, five in total were killed, even more wounded. Like many, I couldn’t sleep that night, seeing the way that hatred continues to hold this country in its grip.

Being a part of the black community, and now working for a website that tells the stories of men and women in uniform – including police officers – I’m once again connected to two groups seemingly at odds with each other. What I see in the wake of this tragedy is two sides shouting, but no one really listening…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.

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