Toward Better Understanding
(A fictionalized letter from a minority)
by Andy Joppa
Dear Fellow Americans,
I am a member of a minority group. Here are my thoughts on some of the major problems effecting our nation, myself and my family. As you read what I have to say you can intuit the cause of those problems and the solutions.
If you could but walk in my shoes for a single mile…a single yard…then, and only then, could you understand the desperate plight of my life. Every moment is fraught with danger and challenges to my very ability to exist as a productive Green male. Yes…I am a member of that large minority group…the Greens.
You see, every male member of my group is green. We were all born this way.
While most of us are upstanding citizens, it has been well measured that the vast majority of crimes of violence and threats to the safety of police…or civilians…or each other… are perpetrated by those with that distinguishing color. They represent a small, but significant, part of the Green community. We have nothing else in common except that characteristic.
The violence seems to be innate within many of these members of my group. This is given added depth by their often, fatherless homes, and an education system dumbed down for our groups lowest common denominator. I recognize there is no systemic anti-Greenism. I know that America doesn’t hate Greens, but only that small sub-set that are violent, criminal and vulgar. We decent Greens hate them as much as you do.
My burden is that many, in the non-Green community, have begun to respond to our vivid color defensively, alarmed by its potential danger. In the circumstance in which others find themselves it is understandable, and I commiserate. Many police seem only to want to return home safely after their tour of duty to their wives and children. It seems they are often antagonized to act for the sake of the nearest cell phone camera…all trying only to stir up conflict between Greens and other groups.
Others do their best to differentiate between us, but it is understandable why they would react aggressively to their logical presumptions of threat that surrounds them. While there are certainly a limited number of bad police, and they must not go unchecked, I know that the vast majority do not want to damage anyone’s life…or their own lives or challenge their careers with unnecessary acts of violence.
However, and here is my problem, when that symbol of violence is perceived on my green face, I am swept up in the responses that it logically generates. I would like everyone to know that I am a decent law-abiding citizen. I do know, however, that Korean grocers don’t like tracking me around their store for enjoyment…but when 96 times out of a 100 its someone looking like me that robs them, that becomes inevitable. These Koreans aren’t bad people, they just don’t like to have their limited profit stolen from them. My group represents their biggest threat. As a Green I regret that this sub-group of my people has been so damaging to those around it.
I recognize, as a rational human being, that the urgency and immediacy of the moment, doesn’t allow for a deeper inspection of my morality. I pay a price because other members my group, through their extreme levels of violence and criminality, have made it impossible to differentiate me from the killers and thugs that look just like me. Those are the shoes I walk in. Because so many like me are a danger to those around them…I am paying a price. I know I keep repeating “I pay a price” …but that is exactly the circumstance. We decent Greens pay a price for the miscreant members of our community. They are my problem…not you.
God, I wish they weren’t members of my group but, more realistically, I wish that my fellows conducted themselves with more dignity and decorum. That notwithstanding, I understand the price I must pay. I understand that my laments should not be against the police or other citizens but, rather, against my brothers who by their egregious misconduct make it impossible for me to not be suspected of being of the same type. I would do the same should the situation be reversed.
I beg my green brothers to be more civilized, less prone to violence, less apt to challenge police authority but, they seem incapable of learning the simplest behavioral changes that would make my life more endurable. It is my brothers that don’t understand the shoes I walk in…it is my brothers who do not know what it is like to be a decent Green family man with a high regard for life and the property of others.
I know groups have been formed such as Green Lives Matter. They do nothing more than perpetuate my dilemma. They insist that the problem is not the uncivilized behavior of those looking like me but is entirely the result of police and others, being biased against those of us with that color. Even when one of us is dealt with aggressively while involved in a serious criminal action it is defined as being a result of bias against those of green color.
Having spent a lifetime in my shoes I know from whence comes my dilemma. It is the result of a world that refuses to suggest changes in behavior of some of the members of my group that would be of benefit to all. In so doing they have given continuing license for them to persist in their unacceptable behaviors.
Now, I don’t really care about them, they are criminals and, aside from our appearance, we have nothing in common. But I do care about how their escalating levels of violence creates implications for me, my wife and children. When I see destructive riots being done in my name, it does little more than deepen the concerns of our society about people like me. This becomes especially outrageous when much of the violence is instigated by those who never have to walk a mile in my shoes.
So, I offer to the leaders of my Green group, let the violent among us know that they are the enemy of most of us that are decent. Let them know they must stop savaging us…stop killing us…stop stealing from us…stop introducing drugs into our community. Let them know that those of us who just want to go to work and come home safely need them to stop being the defining part of our community.
It is that sub-group that is my scourge…that group that is ruining my life. Please…only you can change all this by changing your behavior…please. The rest of we Greens need you to be civilized. If not…my problems…and the nations will continue indefinitely.