By Thomas Sheffield
There is a divide in the nation. People are in fear of giving up power or feeling powerless. People are scared having things being equal subtracts from the value of their lives. People are intimidated by opportunities given to others who make the most of their opportunity to be successful while they stay stagnant. People fail to realize positive change will result in a better day for everyone. And by People, I mean, White People.
I will never know what it means to be white. I am a light skinned black man and I have been able to use that to my advantage which has given me the benefit of the doubt in a lot of instances. However, I am still a black man. I have a black wife and we have 2 gorgeous black daughters. I believe all races want the same things. However, the thought of me or others who look like me, obtaining the same rights and privileges as white people has caused America to lose its mind.
So, let’s think of the things we all have in common. I consider myself an educated man and have taken classes in which we discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I think a reasonable uneducated man would agree with me everyone should have these needs met. Let’s call this level, Zero.
Both sides of the isle in Washington should agree we all need clean water, shelter and rest. No one person deserves this more than another. Why would we debate on the environment? Why is climate change a political issue? Why is it okay for some to live near landfills while other’s don’t? Why is affordable housing an issue? Shouldn’t we all be able to live in a clean, affordable place free of pollution? Just because I make more money than someone else does not give me the right to pollute their neighborhood. All citizens of the US, no matter their race or economic standing deserves this right.
The next level is Safety. Shouldn’t we all be safe and feel safe? Thank God we have a strong military that allows me to sleep without wondering if someone from another country will steal me away and put me in chains tomorrow. However we are living in a time where our police officers belong to white supremacist groups. They live to terrorize minorities. There are some police officers that see the police department you and I pay for as being their own gang. When our military and police refuse to offer the same protection to all of the tax paying citizens, then we have a huge problem and none of us are safe. Especially when it is discovered 1 in 5 of the insurrectionist on January 6th served in the military.
Maslow’s next level is the feeling of belongingness and love. We can all agree we want to feel a sense of belonging. We belong to a great nation and a great society. Black people have shown their heart and love for this country. In spite of slavery, we have served to honor and protect a country that has little regard for us. It was love that gives us forgiveness for the past and hope for the future. It was love for this nation that drove black people to the polls in record numbers to vote in 2020. It was love that allowed a black man and a Jewish man to be elected to the US Senate in Georgia. We just want to be loved back.
The esteem needs and self actualization needs Maslow puts at the top of the hierarchy are personal issues that will not be resolved until the lower ones are. I ask white people to realize no one is trying to treat you as bad as you have treated other groups. We are just asking you to get over yourselves so, together, we can start at Zero.
If you feel the need to learn more, feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter @tcsheff.