Home > Love, Safety, Social Justice > acknowledgment, an act of love

acknowledgment, an act of love

Yesterday, black Republican United States Senator Tim Scott took to the Senate floor to describe being pulled over seven times in one year as an elected U.S. official. In some cases, he was pulled over for speeding; in others, “driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some reason just as trivial.” He explained how this is common among the black men in his life, regardless of their position, income, or disposition:

His brother, a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, was once pulled over for driving a Volvo. The officer thought it might be stolen.

One of his staffers was pulled over so many times for driving a nice car, he traded down for a less-nice model.

“Thank God I have never been bodily harmed,” Scott said, adding that he is nevertheless keenly aware of the currently slanted scales of justice.

Today, he will follow up with proposed solutions.

I hope you’ll listen to yesterday’s speech, and sit with some of Scott’s parting words: “just because you do not feel the pain … does not mean it does not exist.”

To acknowledge this
is an act of love;
the beginning
of change




  1. July 14, 2016 at 5:41 am

    I hate to say this, but I think one of the more important parts of the story is that Sen. Scott is a Republican Senator. I can’t tell you how many people think claims of racism are 100% partisan politics. Having someone from the GOP relating instances of his, his family’s and his friend’s run ins with racism at the hands of the police hopefully will help people see that institutionalized racism does exist in our country and we must do something about it.

    • July 14, 2016 at 5:47 am

      I agree. In our extremely partisan modern politics, it’s easy to attribute any concern of the “other” side as due to its own shortcomings and weaknesses. To have someone from the “not-other” side speaking up, lovingly, and saying there is a problem … that is a powerful thing.

      He mentioned at one part in his speech something I had a hard time figuring out how to express here. I didn’t want to be perceived as putting words in his mouth, but effectively, he indicated that the problem is not a police one. Their acts are merely one reflection of it.

      Because they are permitted to use lethal force and armed to make such force both quick and easy, I believe it’s right to focus on this, one of the most deadly aspects of the problem, first, not in accusation but in hopes it is just the beginning of a sequence of sweet, life-affirming changes to come.

  2. Paul
    July 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Indeed,indeed Deborah.Glad to hear the racism being discussed by the august lawmakers. You know it really hit home for me when Obama was campaigning for his first term. He and Michelle were being interviewed by a network reporter and she asked what their response was to those who said Barrack was not really black. She responded quickly and firmly with: “When he’s standing on the curb in New York City trying to flag down a taxi and one after another they all pass by him by and stop for passengers further down the block, then you know he is black.”

    • July 14, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Exactly so! Each of these individual moments seems so insignificant, but taken together, it is impossible to see them as anything other than devastating … individually and nationally.

  3. July 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I adore people with solutions. [People who know what they’re talking about with solutions, I should say.] Hope his make an impact among his GOP colleagues. It’s a start.

    • July 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      I, too, adore them. Tangentially, I am troubled by anything that sounds like “the oppressed are responsible for the solutions to free themselves from oppression.” Noooo! The whole point of oppression is that rights and dignities have been removed by force; those who are able to identify themselves as actors in that oppression are responsible for themselves seeking solutions. Waiting for others’ solutions in that context is condoning/perpetuating ongoing oppression, not that I’m envisioning any particular politician, political party leaders, or otherwise as I type this. *cough*

  4. July 14, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Thanks for sharing! The more information shared on this topic the more we can finally begin to see how perverted it has become in mainstream society. I get so angry with “appearance judging”, basically anything used superficially to determine anything about that person. My daughter, when she was younger, did this a lot as most kids do but for purely benign reasons (lack of life experience). Now that she is older, I make it a point to correct the behavior immediately. Racial profiling is a HUMAN problem and has nothing to do with Republicans, Democrats, Green, etc. parties. Judgement is a learned behavior in my opinion. Anything learned can be unlearned when replaced with different and more positive knowledge.

    • July 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I’m not sure there’s zero correlation with political parties, but I agree it’s a human problem. I have seen its signs across all spectrums of life … including within myself. At first I was horrified to recognize that, but I am now glad to be able to identify–and thus work to counter–it. 🙂

      I’ve been writing a post in my head the last week or so diving into a split from the Democratic party that I imagine will be eternal. I am taking time and care to ensure it is a for-not-against post, so it may be a while yet before I get into more nuance about profiling and party affiliations!

  5. July 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Reblogged this on Trent's World (the Blog) and commented:
    I’ve been trying to write a post about race in America for the past week but have just had a difficult time getting it right. I like the Sen. Scott video because he describes the problem very well and proves it is not a political issue, it’s a human and American issue. I figured I’d send you on a round-about way to the article and video, but make sure you take time to watch the video!

  6. July 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    My husband is black and it frustrates me that I empathize, but will never fully understand. When we talk about this he is fearful, angry, frustrated and most of all sad. After each incident, when I see the sadness in his eyes it rips my heart out.

    • July 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      I so hear you. Have you ever watched the TV show Parenthood? There’s an episode where the black mom and white dad of a little boy watch him sleeping. The dad expresses sadness that there are some parts of his son’s life he will never fully understand. Oh, how I get that. I wish so much that I could see more clearly.

  7. July 14, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    How wonderful. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. As more and more people from all walks of life start to speak up, hope begins to blossom. I read this post a couple of days ago and applauded.

    • July 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Acknowledging really is the beginning. I felt like such a jerk acknowledging my own implicit biases when I first was made aware I might have some. “Why am I thinking this? Why am I feeling this? Even for a second? I AM A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING!” Now, I am able to hear some of the thoughts as I think them and acknowledge the bias implicit. It seems so strange to think that a year or so ago, I was still resisting the idea I have or could have these!

      That post is fantastic. Thank you for sharing it. I once again wish that integration between Blogger and WordPress were better. (“Existent might be a better word, actually.) I’ll see if I can find its writer on Twitter.

  8. July 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I have a few black male co-workers that I sit next to who were talking about their experiences being pulled over by cops. The thing that astounded me is how normal and jokingly they could talk about it. One co-worker commented that he will never drive so-and-so’s car because every time he drives that bright yellow truck he gets pulled over. This going back to what I was telling you the other day (if you remember me). I’m 28 so I’m roughly the same age as these co-workers and I’m a white female who regularly speeds. I’ve only been pulled over 3 times in my life. What astounded me the most was that it was just so NORMAL to them to be pulled over for EVERYTHING that they didn’t even recognize it as racism (or if they did, they didn’t verbalize it). It’s nice to hear someone with power verbalize a fact.

  9. July 15, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    First off, of course I remember you, and starting many moons back! Second, I’m glad you came back after my completely misreading portions of one of your last comments. Thank you for that. ♥

    Anthony and I had a few conversations about all of this before Li’l D was born. I really boiled everything down to, “Some people will like him less because he’s got a little darker skin.” I really had no idea what Anthony meant, though it wasn’t for lack of his eloquence!

    Later on, I started noticing how different things like shopping experiences were when I went out with Anthony. People had such an intense reaction to either move themselves away or watch him hawkishly. I started getting little inklings of what he was talking about. And then, Li’l D started reflecting signs he was hearing that black equalled bad/inferior, and my heart broke. I think that was part of what began my diving down the rabbit hole, as it were, late 2014.

    Sometimes I can get so revved up. I try to rein it in, because I know that my shouting and shaking a fist doesn’t change anything. (It took me years to see more clearly, even having witnessed some of the signs firsthand!) Anthony tells me he’s had a long time to get used to it. He’s a few years older than me, so that makes me wonder if I’ll need another few decades until I’m as calm as him. Hopefully, that calm won’t be needed anymore sometime down the road, because we’ll all be better at acknowledging and tempering our implicit biases, of which I have recently begun to see I have many, no matter what my non-lizard brain believes … !

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