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Why America Needs To Be United Instead of Divided

Hello my name is Michael V. Moore, and I won’t be talking about fitness today.

I’m an American who happens to be Black. I support the Black Lives Matter movement AND I support honest hard-working police officers that make our communities safer.

Does supporting Black Lives Matter mean that I’m a 6’ 3” black terrorist who’s plotting to take over the United States government?

Does supporting cops mean that I think the cops that took the lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, & Freddie Gray were just doing their job and deserve no jail time because they have a hard job?

Why do you feel that you have to be on one side or the other?

Due to what’s been going on these past weeks and years in America, I wanted to take the time to talk about what’s been in my mind.

I feel like I’m watching America’s dark ugly history of hatred repeat itself. It sickens me to my core. I know I’m all about traveling fitness, but I feel it would be irresponsible if I didn’t talk about these massive issues in our country.

One of the main reasons for the issues is that people are afraid of addressing it. Several folks, who read the second sentence, got put off as soon as I put the word “Black” in it. It terrifies folks when that world pops up in sentences.

It signifies even more emotions when the phrase Black Lives Matter comes into play. One of the instant responses to the slogan has been “All Lives Matter”. Automatically people who are afraid of having a constructive dialogue found a way to contradict that message.

I think any decent human being understands that All Lives Matter! I don’t think my life is no more privileged then the next. I think in this world no life deserves to be treated unfairly and unjustly. I’m VERY aware of the Syrian Civil War crisis going on.

Syrian Refugees in Greece

How come I don’t hear that slogan for those refugees? Aren’t they a part of the “ALL” part?

I could go on and on the Syrian topic (ESPECIALLY people’s ignorance on Muslims) but my point in this post is to allow you to see that there are more than just two choices.

There are some messed up things going on in this world and country. If you don’t fully understand the frustrations, than maybe it’s time you looked through the viewpoint of someone else’s eyes. Let me stroll you through my American experience as a black man who grew up in the suburbs.

Black or White and Something In-Between

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised in Northern Virginia. In Cincinnati, most of my family lived in predominately black neighborhoods. My cousins who were like brothers to me went to 97% black schools.

Meanwhile in Virginia, I lived in a predominately white neighborhood, with a mixture of minorities. As a child, I had no idea just how diverse the minority population was. It turns out that I had good friends that were Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Turkish, Pakistani, Mexican, Ecuadorean, African (actual from Africa), etc. My innocent eyes never saw color or race as a youngster so I played with everyone.

As the years went on, it became interesting to go visit my cousins in Cincinnati. I started realizing that when they came to Virginia they sometimes were shell shocked because they were not use to seeing black folks as the minority. Additionally, they said my brother and I talked funny when compared to the other Cincinnati kids. Jokingly, our Cincinnati friends and family would say we sounded “white” because we talked very properly.

When at school in Virginia, it became obvious to me over time that I was different. Normally, white students made up 80% of my classes while minority students made up 20%.Group of happy multiracial school children reading books. Isolated on white background.

If you’ve never been the in the minority at school, you’re probably not aware that you than become a minority within the minority. You would be lucky if you would find two other students with the same racial background as you.

I started feeling disconnected. I made friends with anyone but a lot of the times; my classmates truly didn’t get my struggles. They did not know how the world treated me on a daily basis.

They didn’t understand when I heard something that just didn’t feel right. It became hard to relate to a lot of the white majority classmates issues because I didn’t think they were as significant as the issues I experienced everyday. Nobody really cared about my issues, but I always helped out with their concerns.

Growing up as the minority made it hard to go to Cincinnati and identify with blacks that were use to being the majority. I could not relate to a lot of the issues that my cousins and their black friends were having.

I had a serious identity crisis. I couldn’t fully identify with most of my white classmates in my advanced classes; AND I was not black enough for my black friends & family living in the hood. I became stuck in this no man’s land.

College & Working Years

In 1999, I decided to go to Temple University. Temple was a school in which every race got a good representation. Most outsiders at the time assumed Temple was a historically black college due to the large number of black students you saw on campus. The reality at that time was black students made up 35-40% of the campus. That statistic made me feel good to be at such a diverse campus.

As an electrical engineer undergraduate, I saw the number of minority faces start to dwindle as the years moved on. It’s the nature of pursuing math and science degrees. White males overwhelmingly dominate engineering professions in America.

After graduating, my 9 to 5 hours became just like my childhood school hours. I was always one of a few black males at my company. Socially, it didn’t bother me because I was use to it as a child.

In my life, all I have ever cared about was what was true in your heart. All I ever asked is that you treat others like you want to be treated. No matter what racial background you have, treat others with respect and you were (and are) good with me!

My Daily Reality

I‘ve experienced my fair share of prejudices and racism in the work place. It’s sad because a lot of my work colleagues were in complete denial that it exists. I can see why it’s hard for my white colleagues to not see it when it happens. If you had not grown up being the minority, you don’t know the signs of it because you didn’t have to live it on a daily basis.

Outside of the work place I’ve seen people try to lump me into the negative stereotypical black man. I lost count the hundreds of times car doors locked as soon as I walked by.  The clutches of purses as I walk by.

The uneasy feeling of me walking in a mall, parking lot or public area whenever there’s a white woman in front of me. Me always going out of my way to make sure I pass her so she doesn’t feel threatened by the black guy behind her. The times I’ve been pulled over by cops seeking to find just something  I could be arrested for.

But I don’t want to keep talking about me, because as a black man living in America, I know it happens.   I’m not here to convince my personal case. I want to focus on the larger issues.

Stop Ignoring The Problem

Tamir Rice
Do You Even Know My Name and Why I Was Shot?

Not seeing and just ignoring systematic police racial profiling is what really hits me hard. It’s sad that there had to be video proof of Philando Castille being murdered for a black woman’s story to be believed. The fact that an American told you what happened was not good enough.

This US citizen had to create a live Facebook stream of her beloved dying to actually get the public to believe.

That hurts.

Really really badly.

If you’re a human with feelings and that didn’t sadden you, I don’t understand why not?

When Paris was under attack by a terrorist act, I saw Americans use their Facebook page with France flag color signs to signify their unity.

When I’ve been seeing these unnecessary black American deaths on the news, I don’t see the same unity. I feel that it’s treated as if it’s a TV advertisement for bird food. A person without a bird ignores the commercial because it’s not something they need in their life. Majority of folks don’t have birds so that commercial will be ignored over and over again.

This is a SERIOUS American problem that can’t be ignored anymore!

When Dallas cops were protecting Americans freedom to peacefully protest, did they deserve to be gunned down by ONE lunatic?

It really angered me when the media was feeding lies that the lunatic was a member of Black Lives Matter. Instead of getting actually facts, it was pinned on a peaceful movement.

That’s why you have to really do your research!

Knowing the facts would make you aware of the reality of these issues. If you don’t live in it, you must do your research.

You can’t let the news dedicate your world! You can’t let Fox News tell you how to feel. You can’t just watch CNN to tell you how to feel.

You can’t just go with whatever a Republican says because you’re a Republican.

You can’t agree with everything a Democrat says just because you’re a Democrat.

I hate that it’s an either/or society!

You don’t have to be Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Jacob and Edward from Twilight
An Autobot or Decepticon.

Megatron and Optimus Prime aka Decepticon and Autobot

This is the real world. If you’re an American you’re fortunate enough to have options. You can actually think for yourself! I really wish people would actually talk to one another.

If I didn’t share my background with you, would you assume I hate all white people just because Black Lives Matter?

Who forced that false impression into your mind?

Would you believe me if I told I’ve been pulled over 10 times due to driving while black?

Would you believe me even though I don’t have a video of each instance?

Does that mean I’m against cops?

Stop making everything in the world based on two decisions. Don’t be scared to self-educate and get to the truth. That’s the only way problems are going to be solved if we start acknowledging the problem to begin with.

I just pray by the time this article is released not another senseless act of violence takes place.

Let’s Unite and Not Divide!Richmond California Police Chief Chris Magnus