My friend Jodi posted a comment on Facebook recently, and it got me to thinkin', and when I get thinkin' I gotta share.....
Remember 2008 election day? Black Panthers allegedly carrying billy clubs at the polls, intimidating white voters, reportedly saying such things as "you are about to be ruled by a Black man, Cracker"? Got a lot of coverage at the time, and they got arrested, and rightly so. Then Obama got elected, and we forgot all about the story. Did you know that the charges were dropped against the Panthers? They were. It has been alleged that the Obama administration and Eric Holder had issued direct orders to let the defendants go. Maybe, and maybe not, but that's not my point today. Today, let't think about the other side of the coin for a few......
Sometimes stereotypes work to your advantage, right? What if, just maybe, the stereotype of the Panthers worked to their advantage in this case? What if they really weren't doing anything more intimidating than standing at the front door? Brothers and Sisters of the road, you know very well that, sometimes, just a look, a style, puts ideas in people's heads no matter how well behaved you are, right?
Ah....With me now, or were you still wondering how this applies to bikers? Get it yet?
How about this....? What would happen if a few of us, of all races, brothers of the road, Americans one and all, roll up on our (perfectly legal) loud motorcycles at the polls, dressed the same way we usually dress for a nice ride, and exercise our right to vote? Maybe hang out at the front door in the same general area that the Panthers did? Think we'd get arrested? How about if we offer our services as escorts to the polls for those that want one? Would people think we were intimidating voters? Would we be accused of the same thing the Panthers were, no matter what we actually did, or said? I can see someone like me getting accused of the same thing, and being totally innocent. How about you? I'm not sayin' the Panthers were not trying to scare people, or exhibit power, take charge, a show of force. I'm sayin' it is POSSIBLE that they were falsely accused.
People's perception sometimes creates memories in their minds that never really happened. You know it happens. You have heard so much about something, or want to believe it so much, that your mind fills in the "gaps" in your memory sometimes. Your brain tells you you really saw, or heard something that you never actually saw, or heard. But nobody else saw it, or remembered it, that way. You know this happens, right? OK, go with me from here, then.....
In some circles, Brothers and Sisters, you and I are more scary than the Panthers. Trust me. Not because of the truth, but because of the myth. All I am saying here, is before we come to any conclusions about the Panthers,we need to look at it from a few angles. Put ourselves in other's shoes.
I can see how the story could be true, and when I put myself in someone else's shoes, I can see how it could be not quite all true. Can't you?