Friday, July 8, 2016

Red, white, black, blue: Race in America

President Obama is right. We're 'horrified' by what happened last night in Dallas.

Snipers opened fire on police during an otherwise peaceful march to protest two more fatal shootings of black men at the hands of police officers in the United State.

I just wish I could say I'm surprised. I'm not.

America has a race problem. It has for a long time.

Don't believe me? Take this little test.

Go to any story, preferably a crime story, on our website, DelcoTimes.com.

Scroll down and take a gander at the comments posted on those stories. See how long it takes for the issue to boil down to race. I'm not always especially proud of some of the filth that appears in our comments section. It's a full-time job - a luxury I don't have - to police that content.

When someone complains, I take a look. I often delete it. That does not stop it. Nor does trying to ban those making such blatantly racist claims. They simply log back on from another IP and go about their hateful ways.

There are a lot of things I like about the internet. And a few I loathe. The notion of allowing an anonymous platform for people to spew racial hatred - all while cloaked in anonymity - would be at the top of that list.

I spend an inordinate amount of time every day online. I am constantly posting on Twitter and Facebook, and updating our website.

I do nothing online that my name does not sit beside, whether it be this blog, my weekly print column, or for that matter the rest of the content in the Daily Times.

That does not include the comments.

Today we continue to mourn the deaths of five police officers in Dallas.

We also continue to seek answers in the shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of police, the lightning rod that touched off this latest outpouring of protest.

Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter.

Here in Delaware County, we are just a few days removed from seeing one of our own, Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman, gunned down in the line of duty. He took 7 bullets and survived. It's a dangerous job.

I don't doubt for a minute there are bad cops, just as there are bad editors, bad newspaper people and bad people in every line of work.

This morning, this feels different.

We have a problem in this country.

You can see it in the political rhetoric that borders on "us vs. them."

That's not what we're about. Or maybe I've been wrong all this time. Maybe it is what we're all about. Or what we've become.

Take another look at the conversation on social media. And the anonymous comments on websites.

It's scary out there, something akin to the Wild, Wild West.

And it's getting scarier every day.

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