I’m checking email right now at the Bricktown IHOP after doing my pedicab work tonight, but I wanted to talk a little bit about a conversation I had this evening with OKC Police officer.
The officer pulled up to me after I carried a passenger and he and I had a pretty good conversation, in which he expressed his concern about what I said on this blog a couple of weeks ago about what I believed was the different treatment of black and white folks by the police in Bricktown. To paraphrase him, he said that I was unfair to the police and should have asked for their side of the story.
I told him that I appreciate him sharing his perspective and that he is right, that I didn’t share both sides of the story, and that in the future I might still criticize the OKCPD but I would try to talk to one of the officers about what is going on before doing so. We talked some about it, but for the most part it was a pretty cordial conversation. (One very good point the officer made was that the officers stationed in Bricktown are pretty diverse, and are fairly representative of the community… well at least when it comes to race)
For the rest of the night, I kept thinking about the conversation. Looking back on it and the blog post in question, I think I did say what I saw in Bricktown, but context is everything and possibly the context of the police-citizen encounters that I saw might have shed more light on these incidents. I think if I knew the context, I might still have had the same opinion, but maybe not.
So, this comes back to both the power and the danger of the blog medium. The blog gives us the power to express ourselves without censorship, but it also gives us the potential of saying things that might be hurtful or somewhat inaccurate. I do think I need to work on being more thoughtful about how I use the blog. I still plan to speak truth to power (and I should add, that I while I respect the humanity of OKC Police officers, I still don’t buy into the power-based paradigm of law enforcement, and so I have a hard time endorsing even the more benevolent uses of that power), but I want to do a better job of respecting the humanity of those I disagree with and even seeking to understand the perspective.
And I need to learn to control my anger. I was upset on the day I wrote the previous blog post (see link above) by what I perceived was unfair treatment under the law, and was even more upset on this last Saturday by what I saw (some of y’all may have seen me interviewed on KFOR about it), but on both of those occasions I judged the situations by appearances instead of by digging deeper for the real story (another good point made to me by the officer I talked to) and then let that judgment turn to anger, and then let that anger rule me instead of seeking to act from a more grounded center.
I really need to work on this. I think of the great spiritual activists of history (Dr. King, etc.) and what set them apart was that they only acted when they were grounded and centered. Right now, I am not. My life is a discombulated mess and it is sadly berift of a daily spiritual practice that keeps me sane, grounded, and plugged into the divine.
Anyway I guess I’ve said enough for tonight. (and to the officer I talked to tonight, if you read this, thanks for talking to me. I really appreciate your candor.)