I write this letter to the man I met this past Sunday in front of my Unitarian church while I was holding a homemade sign which read “Black Lives Matter”.
I was on the sidewalk in front of my Unitarian church, when you drove up in your pickup truck, stopped suddenly, and rolled down your window to yell profanities at me. In between insults, you said you believed that more White people are killed by police than Blacks. A friend who was with me tried to calmly explain that Blacks represent only 12% of the population, but are between 2 and 3 times more likely to be killed by police than Whites. In response, you exited your vehicle and approached me to continue your verbal abuse. You then spat on my “Black Lives Matter” sign. After observing the results your defacement and apparently deciding it was insufficient, you drew up a larger piece of phlegm and spat on my sign again. You then returned to your vehicle and drove off in the same reckless fashion as you drove up.
You were not alone that day is spewing venom at me that day. Several people, all of them White males, yelled profanities at me from their vehicles in passing, though you were the only one to turn that ire into a physical assault.
I understand that the issue of racial justice is one fraught with emotion. Tempers can flare and words can become heated. This has happened even among member of my church as we have wrestled with how to support the fight for racial equality. But when words cross the line into (admittedly minor, but nevertheless disgusting) physical assault, then you have entered new territory. By all accounts, I would have been within my rights to file a police report, and indeed I was urged to do so by one of my fellow churchgoers who photographed your license plate. Instead, I ask you to consider your actions.
Consider how your behavior reflects on your position. Certainly, these are not the actions of someone speaking from a place of moral superiority. In fact, your actions are remarkably similar, in kind if not in degree, to those of opponents to the Civil Rights Movement of decades past. Your actions do not put you in good company.