Capitol Hill: What Is Next?

We all ask the question, what is next? Several months ago the players of the National Football League (NFL) met with Congress to discuss their concerns on social injustice. Social injustice has been a problem in America for centuries. There is not one solution to diminish social injustice, but awareness, action and education can help improve current societal conditions.

There is a common misconception of the difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when one feels pity or sorrow for one’s misfortune, whereas, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another. Too many times people sympathize when it is too late and cannot empathize. We need people to understand, but this cannot happen, due to different lifestyles.

McCown said, “I don’t believe we, as white people, can understand what African-Americans go through on a daily basis, because it’s different. For me, first and foremost, I want to be able to acknowledge that, and say that our stories are different and our histories are different, but let’s just try to be a part of making it better moving forward.”

We can exchange stories, show videos and view statics, but never truly understand what life is like on the other side. So how do we make a change? This is where the NFL players come into play.

The players can begin making a difference today. During the meeting the black caucus suggested that, training be offered to the minority communities. This is an option the players can put into effect immediately. The players have heavy community involvement; a monthly police training is feasible. For instance, the players offer free training on how to respond when approached by an officer to the youth. Training in minority communities is essential. This is an opportunity to educate the youth on how to act in a scenario with law enforcement. Self-accountability takes place on both sides. As of today, minorities fear law enforcement and immediately take out their phone to record what is happening. NFL players can convey a stronger message, being proactive about the situation; preparing minorities before they encounter law enforcement. Training is not just needed in minority communities.

Diversity training is a step many organizations implement to ensure a safe working environment. I think that police should have to undergo diversity training on a yearly basis. This should be a requirement for all officers in law enforcement, this should not be on a department basis, this should be worldwide. The academy should implement diversity training; it is important to expose these officers to the diverse community before they are on the force rather than after. This training is crucial because the police interact with diverse communities daily. Implementation of this policy may require legislation, so it may be a while before this goes into full effect. Police departments can be proactive, taking a stance against social injustice and implement diversity training.

Every area is different, not every county in the United States needs to implement the same changes. For example, Chicago is a high crime area and the Department of Justice has implemented a body camera policy. By the end of 2017, every patrolling officer will be wearing a body camera. More departments can follow in Chicago’s footsteps, implement change based off previous mistakes or unfortunate tragedies, with the hopes of improvement for a better future.

Racial stereotypes play an immense role in the racial diversion within the United States. Racism is inevitable and will always exist. Unfortunately, many people are raised by racial bias and thus negatively impacting the forward progression of integration. We cannot focus on what is never going to change; we have to gear out attention to what can be changed, and how can we decrease the likelihood of racial bias impacting work related decisions. For example, police can be assigned based off cognitive testing versus seniority. We all know the new officers are assigned to high crime rate areas because no one else wants to be assigned there. Rather than having the low end of the totem poll employees in high crime areas base if off racial bias. Cognitive testing is hard to fake and can prevent officers who have a natural bias being assigned in minority or high crime rate areas.

Evidently, action needs to be taken on both sides, the police and minority communities. This will not improve overnight, it is going to take time before we, the public, see a change. Both sides need to be aware of the situation and implement changes. Now the voices have been heard it is time to act; actions speak louder than words.

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