Theology Current Events Christian Living Relationships/Family Identity

My Two Worlds

Mike Higgins

The recent police shootings of two African American men in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights have shocked many people. Unfortunately, I was not shocked. You see, I have always lived between two worlds, both within the United States.

This first world is an upper to middle class, majority white suburban world. This world is highly protected. Unfortunately, it is protected by ignorance, not stupidity. It is protected by privilege. It is protected by blindness. These three barriers are almost impenetrable, but there are many members of this first world who are finding out that if they can just “wake up” they can connect with and understand those in other worlds. There is also the belief that the law enforcers of this first world are there, not to arrest the first world people, but to protect them from the inhabitants of the other worlds; worlds that are in the same country.

My “second world” is the urban mostly Black world, there are whites here too, but they usually don’t get any press. Although there is hope in this world too, it is more of a hope to just be seen and heard and understood. It is a hope to be as valuable and human as the people of my “first world.”

In the second world, law enforcers are seen as a part of a system that oppresses without conscience. They have no protection, but they are starting to have a voice with the first world inhabitants. They are yelling into TV cameras, recording disturbing videos on their smartphones, updating and tweeting real time comments of illegal practices of first and second world law enforcers.

When these last two shootings occurred, I pulled out a book by Garry Wills entitled, The Second Civil War, which was written in 1968.

The book describes the internal racial struggle of the Negro as something that most White Americans don’t get or care about, and how this Black angst coupled with racist law enforcement practices, could lead to a war between the two races. I believe the emotional outcry of many African Americans in the second world, is a war cry; a cry of “This is it!” “We just can’t take it anymore!” Now, the question will be asked, “How about Black on Black crime?” Well, okay…what about it? I do think that’s a problem like, oh I don’t know, Dutch on Dutch crime.

But the issue here is this: when you are given state sanctioned authority to carry a weapon, and police communities to stop and arrest citizens, you should not only be trained, but be obligated to do the right and righteous thing.

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