I watched too many disturbing videos recently.
First came the video from Central Park, which was maddening enough. A woman called 911 to report “An African American male is threatening my dog and I.” Except that this decent bird watcher never threatened her; He just asked her to leash her dog.
Then came the shocking video of George Floyd begging for his life “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” The police officer ignored his pleas. Moments later he was dead.
Think about it: when George left his home that morning and said goodbye, no one imagined that he would never return. And what a horrible death, by the very own people who are supposed to protect the community!
And then there were more videos; of violence, looting, destruction. Stores owned by hard working people set on fire or otherwise ransacked, just because… well because of what exactly?
Where is our society heading to?
Why is it okay to falsely accuse a person because of the color of his skin?
Why is it okay to treat someone – even if he is a suspected criminal – with such force and aggression, to cause him to lose his life?
Why is it okay to destroy, steal and loot?
Well. It’s not okay. None of it.
Thank G-d, among all of the maddening videos I came across another video which was a ray of light in the darkness.
In this video, the Rebbe is meeting the then mayor of New York, David Dinkins. It was right after the 1991 riots, and the Rebbe spoke to the mayor about the need to heal the city.
The Rebbe told the mayor: “I hope that in the near future the melting pot will be so active, that it will not be necessary to underline every time that they are black, and they are white, and they are hispanics etc. etc. because they are not different – all of them are created by the same G-d, and created for the same purpose – to add (in) all good things around them”.
I don’t have a simple, one-page, Instagram ready recipe to cure our society from all racism or criminality. But it seems to me that increasing our awareness of the G-d above can do wonders.
If G-d created me, and also created the person I just saw in the park, I need to treat him with respect. I will never think that I am superior to anyone just because of their skin color.
If G-d created me, and also created the person who I might suspect in crime, I will still treat him with respect and dignity and will never dehumanize him or her.
If G-d created me, and also created the store owner next door, I would treat his property with respect, and will not destroy or loot something that doesn’t belong to me.
And finally, if all of us are created by the same G-d, and for the same purpose – to add (in) all good things around us, I we should all be decent, respectful and good human beings.
I think this is something we can all agree on.