Recent, prominent examples of racial injustice in the United States — namely the killings of Casey Goodson, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, to name but a few — have resulted in an increased acknowledgment of racial inequality in our society. They have shone a spotlight on how much more should be done to address discrimination in all its forms. The truth is that too little has been done for too long, and it is time that America faces an important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality, and inclusion. As a society, we can no longer silence what is going on. We must recognize our system is broken and find solutions.
Here are five steps that would help create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society.
1. First and foremost, we need to walk a mile in our fellow American’s shoes. An example of our country’s current racial divide is found when we consider the issue of confederate statues. I do not condone self-help or vandalism — I believe there is a right way to rid America of relics of our racist past. However, as a relative of Holocaust victims and survivors, how would I feel if our government decided that German World War II heroes were an important historical figure and deserved a monument in Washington? The Confederate Flag, Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Francis Scott Key have a visceral effect on survivors of slaves.
2. We need to tear up the “current manual” on policing and police hiring and training. Increase diversity and community outreach. Foster an atmosphere of cooperation between citizens and the police. Some experts point to Camden, New Jersey, as an example of this positive change.
3. American citizens need to understand the American experiment. We need to embrace and celebrate our differences, understand our various cultures, and respect that our way, while different than ‘theirs,’ might not be a ‘better’ way, just a ‘different’ way. Years ago, Rodney King said it best with this simple quote: “Can’t we all get along?”
4. Violence and lawlessness only lead to more division. We need to use peaceful protest, the courts, and the legislature to change America. Protest and court battles ended the Viet Nam, not destruction and vandalism.
5. Educate yourself. The more you know about America and its diverse citizenship, the more tolerant and understanding you will be toward people who are different than you.
The Zachary Blake Legal Thriller novels seek to educate, inform, suggest, and implement better ways to deal with these issues. The fourth installment of the series, Betrayal in Black, is about a police shooting, a divided city, and a trial lawyer’s pursuit of justice for the victim’s family. I also delve into lessons learned through the process. The themes in this book come at a crucial time, where stories like these are needed to paint a more vivid picture of the struggles that minorities face in America.
Hopefully, people will read Betrayal in Black and my other novels and embrace the intent within, if not suggested solutions.
Issues of race, diversity, and inclusion have been simmering under the surface for many years until now. Change will not happen overnight, but we have survived some horrible events in our past and come out stronger on the other side. We can’t let this newfound attention fade away. All of us need to keep focus on solutions.
Readers are encouraged to speak out — get involved — offer sensible solutions! If we all do our part, we will emerge stronger once again.