Everyone is a loser in the destructive aftermath of the Ferguson jury decision.
We have contributed to this decision by building an unjust system, by exacerbating racial discrimination consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously, and more importantly to me as a Buddhist, by being unaware as we attribute virtues, kindness, intellect, or leadership in those who are more attractive, more privileged, and more fair.
Studies point out that the halo effect, the height premium, white privilege, and other differentials lead to differential treatment, some extreme.
From the Buddhist perspective, it would be too easy to call all this karma and simply ask you to accept it! In that case, we would be dismissing a prophetic opportunity to create future karma and collective karma that call for more sensitivity and impartiality.
While a technical fix such as a body camera that the Michael Brown family implores us to help them legislate may seem like a quick fix, I would ask all of us to take a fresh look at the way we treat others. Together we have contributed to the current state of race relations in America, and together we must improve it.
To a Buddhist like myself, the solution is not in policies or politics, but in my daily interactions. Do I notice myself paying more attention to my cuter niece? Do I assume that the pretty woman at my door is here for compassionate engagement or meditation rather than to complain? Do I quietly comply with the commands of the tall white man rather than question them because he represents the powerful status quo?
We have an opportunity to make a difference here. Our prophetic voice and actions require us to pause and reflect on our deeply ingrained discriminating inclinations first. Only when such acute awareness translates into consistently kind intention and interactions will we have truly made a difference for all of us who are in some respect like Michael Brown.