On Thursday night, peaceful protests in Dallas, Texas, took a deadly turn when at least one sniper opened fire on police officers, killing five and injuring seven others. Two civilians were also wounded.
The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile left a nation in mourning, but the events in Dallas last night prompted even more grief. Demonstrations against police shootings across the country, largely peaceful, were meant as calls for systemic change in the way black communities are regarded by law enforcement.
The cold-blooded murders of the Dallas police officers did absolutely nothing to further the important discussion about reform. In fact, not only did it hurt the cause, it is now also being used as justification for foolish cries of a race war.
Some are trying to frame what took place in Dallas — and Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana — as a black-versus-white issue. But in one swift tweet, comic and screenplay writer Bryan Hill dispelled that narrative.
"While some people want more hate, I'm watching a black police chief and a white mayor, fighting tears, working together to protect us," Hill tweeted.
While some are attempting to pit this as a clear cut issue of one race against another, the reality is that the violence and hatred we are seeing today affect both black and white people — in fact, they affect everyone in America.
As President Obama said in a statement on Thursday, police shootings are not the problem of just one group.
"When incidents like this occur, there's a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts, and that should trouble all of us," he said in a speech at Warsaw for a NATO summit. "This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we all should care about."