Is it possible that having to choose between supporting the police and supporting the black community is a false notion? Isn’t there a way to love both simultaneously?
I choose the Radical Middle.
The RADICAL MIDDLE is the idea that wisdom lies between the extremes. There are always two sides of an argument. Stereotyping, pat answers, simple solutions and broad categories are fool’s errands. For a long time, the idea of being in the middle was seen as riding the fence, wimping out, milquetoast, refusing to commit and weakness. I want to redefine it.
In a land where I am forced to be all one way or another is not a land where I want to live. To ignorantly follow the extreme voices of our nation is not where I want to acquire my wisdom. To be played and manipulated by the pundits in the media is not for me.
I want to know what wisdom says. I want to know what God says. I want to be about what is right, not what is popular.
I refuse to let the extreme voices dictate the conversation. I’m going to be a loud voice that says, ‘enough is enough! Stop making needless enemies with eachother, when we can make powerful allies, just by being intellectually honest and looking at issues from multiple sides.
And then George Floyd was murdered.
What do I say now? Is there a RADICAL MIDDLE to this situation, to this conversation?
Yes, absolutely there is, if someone is willing to take the time to listen.
No, there’s no RADICAL MIDDLE to the needless murder of a black man by the hands of a police officer. That is purely wrong, 100%. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Where there is a RADICAL MIDDLE is in response to is the underlying issue that caused it in the first place and how our nation is responding in dangerous rioting.
A False Dichotomy
The dichotomy now is that I’ve been told by society that I either need to be for the protection of black lives OR I need to be pro-law enforcement. I’ve been sold two options and told that anything else will be shouted down. I’ve been told that for me to call George Floyd’s death a murder by an officer and support the public outcry over the deep pain black people have suffered in our country is turning my back on my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, to castigate the Blue.
I’ve also been told that to bring a balanced approach to law enforcement reform and explain that the majority of Law Enforcement and First Responders are good, honest people putting a uniform on every day and walking into danger, is tantamount to being a white supremacist and hatred toward my beloved African American family.
I say to those voices“Stop turning a blind eye to wisdom.” Stop being so afraid that nothing will change, or that everything will change, that you are willing to shout things you don’t really believe the full implications of. Stop letting fear rule the day. Start letting the voice of reason back into your heart and the voice of God, the voice of wisdom, back into your spirit.
These Things Can Be Mutually True
- George Floyd’s murder was a horrific tragedy that never should have happened.
- Most officers in our nation serve and protect all ethnicities.
- There is systemic racism in America AND good people are trying to change it, but it’s difficult.
- There is room for protest and anger, AND we need to be wise about how to do that and refuse to let our baser instincts prevail.
- Minorities are unfairly treated and need to demand justice.
- There’s a tremendous amount of First Responders who agree with that statement.
- The color of George Floyd’s skin was the significant factor in the wrong and unnecessary tactic of the officer.
- We’ve made tremendous strides in America in rooting out individual racism AND have a long ways to go to change structural racism.
- Black lives do matter.
- There are good police officers who want to protect everyone.
Bridgeway Christian Church, the house of faith that I lead as the Senior Pastor hosted a four-week symposium on Racism (Healing an Ethnically Wounded Nation), AND simultaneous hosted an annual awards banquet for the Roseville Police and Firefighters. We put a significant amount of time and money into both, because both are true and necessary.
I am not telling America to calm down.
There are times when our righteous anger needs to boil over and scream from the rooftops and viciously demand justice. There are times when quiet conversations in the back rooms aren’t accomplishing anything significant.
I am not telling the black community that what happened in Minneapolis was a rare occurrence, or that you need to have it on camera to prove it.
For every Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbery, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and George Floyd, there are thousands not caught on camera. I believe you.
I am not telling police officers that they are all unknowingly racist, that they don’t take care of us, or that they don’t put their lives on the line every day.
I hold police officers in high esteem and consider them to be heroes. I know you are trying to do your best and that a few spoil it for all of you. I know that greater restrictions on policies put your lives in greater danger. I believe you.
What I am saying is that more hatred doesn’t erase the old hatred and polarizing views never win the day.
I’m saying that everyone has valuable rights and freedom opinion and that we are actually all far more on the same page than we would like to admit. I am saying that change needs to happen and if we all partnered together, it wouldn’t have risen to this dangerous level, yet violence and property damage only makes criminals out of well-intended, hurt, people.
I want change.
I want justice. I don’t have all the answers on how to do that, but I do know one thing: The extreme voices on our airwaves will never get us there.
Join me in the RADICAL MIDDLE and join my THOUGHT REVOLUTION.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Justin Luebke
Lance Hahn is the host of the podcast Thought Revolution, currently available on AccessMore, and all major podcast platforms.