Whites need to do more to solve our deep social problems

Kevin Shay
10 min readJun 1, 2020

The violent protests are about more than the death of George Floyd. That act was the latest injustice in a long string of events that propelled many to action. While we all can do more, white people have caused most problems and need to take the lead.

At age 40, Rashawn Ray has been stopped by police more than the number of years since his birth. He’s been interrupted while walking, running, studying, eating, driving, sitting in a car, riding in a bus and train, and relaxing in a nightclub. He’s been arrested, thrown against walls, and cussed at by authorities.

Despite those confrontations, the criminal record of Ray, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland and a Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institute, remains unscathed. His only “crime” was the color of his skin.

As violent protests against police killings continue to burn throughout the country, the father of two boys worries about his kids’ and their peer’s future. “I worry about how no credential, no degree, no level of income or wealth, no smile, no level of professionalism or grace can protect my babies from the gaze and guise of police violence and white supremacist stereotypes,” Ray says.

Photo by Logan Weaver/Unsplash

Many people don’t understand why the violent protests continue. They are not just about the death of George Floyd, but that act was the latest injustice in a long string of events that propelled many to action. As Ray says, even the most respected and educated African American in this country can’t do basic things like jog and shop without becoming a suspect in many eyes. We’re not talking about the 1950s. We’re talking about today.

It’s sad because many white people, like me, have tried our entire lives to solve this problem and bridge the racial divide, and it seems like little progress has been made. I was one of the few white kids in my class to befriend one of the few black kids at my Texas elementary school in the 1960s. When some white people have used the “n-word” in reference to African Americans in front of me, I have immediately told them that’s wrong and distanced myself from them. When some whites have complained about Hispanics speaking Spanish and called them slurs, I’ve strongly protested.

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Kevin Shay

Investigated the JFK and January 6th plots. Walked and drove across nations. Also writes a bit. More at https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-J.-Shay/e/B004BCQRTG