Everyone wants to receive fair and just treatment under the law. We have seen trials where the verdict that was rendered makes one ask the question: “was that really a just verdict?” Everyone wants to believe that justice is color blind…but the truth is it isn’t. It isn’t because police officers, jurors, judges, are all humans and they are therefore influenced by their predispositions, prejudices and paradigms.
Everyone has biases. For an officer, the challenge is to discern a potential volatile situation, protect the peace and treat a potential suspect with the right amount of restraint so as not to violate their civil rights (and to not personally become injured in the process). For a jury, the challenge is to set their biases aside, and to ponder the evidence and render a ruling that follows the precepts of law.
We live in a great country that affords its citizens more rights than any other free country. And yet we incarcerate more people at a rate that exceeds any other first world country. We see countless videos of police treating suspects with what appears to be in some cases, enormous amounts of unnecessary force…Why?
I believe society needs both the law and a good police force to maintain civility.
I don’t pretend to know the answers to these questions except that I think that some where along the way we lost our ability to see each and regard one another with respect and dignity. And that this is tied to the way that people have chosen to behave (without regard for one another and without integrity).
When we stop seeing each other through the eyes of dignity, we see each other through the eyes of skepticism and mistrust. We stop trying to know the real person and find it easier and safer to place labels on people such as: He’s a thug. She’s a slut, etc…We label each other with disparaging names so that we no longer see a thinking, feeling human being but rather we see a caricature.
Caricatures allow us to cast wide nets of exaggerated misperceptions over entire racial groups and stigmatize them. We tend to justify our actions by telling ourselves ‘they’re all like that’…and ‘those people are no good’…etc…After all, its easier to stigmatize than to take the time to get to know people.
It occurred to me is that if the Lord Jesus Himself were to come to Earth and appear in the midst of any major city he would probably be looked upon with great suspicion. He might even be profiled and stopped based entirely on His appearance. I can imagine Him being arrested and charged with being a vagrant because He would be among the lost, the ‘dregs’ of society, ministering to them and the authorities would arrest Him for obstruction.
If He were to be arraigned, I can imagine Him be tried by a jury who would judge Him by his appearance…No he wouldn’t necessarily wear a hoodie but His robe and sandals would be enough for someone to think He was up to no good. The jury would deliberate and most certainly return a guilty verdict…And He would look upon them with compassion and most certainly forgive them.
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Be blessed and have a great day!