As American citizens, we have reached an important moment in which we must challenge the misconception that publicly supporting African Americans and other people of color by denouncing racial injustice, be it police brutality or harassment, means the same thing as being anti-police. This untruth presented time and again to the American public is known as a "false dichotomy" or "false dilemma."
Too often we are easily persuaded that we must choose only one of two options that are mutually exclusive. In fact, it is entirely possible to publicly support Black Lives Matter -- both the statement and the movement -- and law enforcement. As a conscientious American citizen, the well-being of my fellow citizens is of great concern to me, and given the historic and ongoing violent mistreatment of people of color, particularly young black men, I must publicly state that I support Black Lives Matter. I agree with the statement and I support the movement that has necessitated as a result of continuous, well-documented injustices such as the beating of Rodney King and the killing of George Floyd.
Out of the same desire to be a good citizen, I also support honest, ethical police officers who risk their lives for public safety, such as those who have helped protect the right of people to lawfully protest in recent weeks. I support law enforcement by being a law-abiding citizen and good neighbor who has been involved with the community for over twenty-five years as a teacher, coach, and volunteer for literary events. I support the police by taking an active interest in my community and my fellow citizens, and on this same principle, I also support Black Lives Matter as I value all human life and dignity. Therefore, I do not have to choose one or the other.
How often are we so easily and needlessly divided with this old con-job, the "false dilemma?" (Do we really need to choose between wearing a mask, during a disease pandemic mind you, or personal freedom and liberty?) American citizens can in fact publicly denounce racial injustice and police brutality without being anti-police.
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