I will never know what it is like to be black.
A woman, sure. A Catholic, yes. Fat? That’s me. That hated “media,” too. I tick off a lot of boxes that might make people decide things about me in advance.
But black isn’t one of them. It won’t ever be. I can’t know what it is like to have the myriad of experiences that go into that life view.
And I don’t want to know.
I want to have empathy, and I want to give support. But I have two dear friends who are black, whose sons are the same age as my son, and I don’t want to know what rips their hearts apart when they see the latest news of another black mother’s son dying in the street.
I don’t want them to know it either.
I also won’t know what it’s like to be a police officer. Believe me, nobody wants me to be what stands between you and your personal safety.
As a reporter, I’ve spent much of my professional life running to the same scenes as the police. And then I stand at a safe distance, apart from the murder or the deadly crash or the hostage situation. I am an observer, not a participant.
I have known amazing police officers over the past 28 years, and because of where I live, I have the great luxury of working with men and women in small departments who have spoken to me with pride and passion about knowing the people they are policing.
One Bellefonte officer started his career in Philipsburg, and he affected change with the kids there, not by showing up when things went wrong, but by being a constant presence even when things went right.
A lot of people talk about the intersection of the black community and the police and the violence and death that has become an all-too-regular occurrence. I’m not the first to write about it. Probably not the first today. Probably not the last today either.
Everyone has theories. No one has answers because until the problem is solved, we don’t know what the answer will be.
But I know one thing.
I might not know what it’s like to be black or what it’s like to be a cop, but I know what it’s like to be me; and this fat, white, Catholic woman wants peace and safety for everyone.