It’s such a small word, yet it solves so many perception problems.
That magical word is “and.”
We’re being forced into a lot of difficult decisions by our fellow man recently:
Do you support police or black people?
If it matters that a black person died at the hands of an officer, why doesn’t it matter when a white person dies the same way?
Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?
We need to stop backing ourselves into corners like these. The world is too complicated to only have two choices, especially when they’re put together in these kinds of arguments.
Logically speaking, it’s called the “black-or-white fallacy.” That’s an unfortunate title, given how divisive things already are when we throw out the names of these two colors. I remember learning it as the “false dilemma” fallacy.
But the answers to the world’s complicated questions usually can’t be answered by pairing two unlike things against each other. That’s where our friend, the word “and,” comes into play.
I support police and black people, both when they’re following lawful and ethical rules.
It matters that black people, white men and everything in between die at the hands of bad law officers doing the wrong things.
All lives matter, and black lives matter. Sometimes you need to focus on particular subgroups to make sure they’re getting equitable treatment.
The horror stories I’ve heard from friends and strangers alike make me think things aren’t equitable yet for black people in America and in Ohio. Ending slavery was a step. Ending Jim Crow laws was a step. Electing a black president was a step. Taking a couple steps isn’t the same thing as finishing a marathon, though.
That’s not to say there aren’t other groups of people with issues. I see overlapping problems for the poor. I see some persecution of religion. We don’t have to choose between them. We can use the word “and” to note they’re all holding us back from equality.
As individuals and as a society, we need to stop the bickering over these false dichotomies and instead focus on what we need to change, both individually and systemically.
We’re trying to do our part here at The Lima News. We’ve always welcomed a variety of viewpoints in our stories and opinion pages. Our newsroom staff had an impassioned and sometimes difficult discussion this week about how we can reflect our shared community — all parts of it — more fully. We recognize some people may not look at the people we feature in the newspaper and think it reflects who they are or who they want to be.
I’ve challenged our reporters to think about the problems they find in our coverage and help improve it in the ways they do their work. We’ll undoubtedly stumble and fall at this as we face our limitations, but we need to continue to keep fighting to do the best job we can as individuals and as an organization.
We hope this approach can put “and” back into our way of thinking here, so we can cover our community and its issues better.