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  • Louis Venters

White Americans: There Are No Innocent Bystanders

My friend, a young African American man, was beaten up by police and arrested yesterday in the Charleston area after being stopped for not using a turn signal.

A turn signal.

My friend.

Not somebody in the news.

Somebody whom I've known since he was a kid, who has been to my house and eaten my food and played with my children. Somebody my wife and I have nurtured and been privileged to work with in common service. Not that that makes a damn bit of difference.

He came to Charleston to work in a faith-based program that empowers children and youth from a variety of backgrounds to improve their communities though peaceful means. What a twisted irony!

I wasn't there, but from what I've learned so far it seems clear enough that his fundamental offense was to be a young black man with two other young black men in his car.

My friend.

Not my sons this time. Not yet, God forbid.

But my friend.

White people who still think this is somebody else's problem to solve, or worse yet, that it's black people's fault that their country routinely brutalizes them: It's way past time y'all get deep inside your hearts, reflect, and act.

What kind of society do you want to live in? What kind of society are you going to leave for your children? For all children? What can you do to help make this right? What side of history do you want to be on?

There are no innocent bystanders.

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