This column represents the thoughts and opinion of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the “new normal” thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, we are still dealing with a not-so-new normal – racism.

I’m not going to sugar coat it; I’m just going to call it what it is. The root of the issue is not just skin color, it’s hate. It’s not the police, it’s hate. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch.

The problem is the conversation isn’t as loud until something tragic happens. Situations like a police officer choking out an unarmed black man or a black man shot to death while out for a jog.

That’s why Collin Kaepernick took a knee. I’m not going back down that path, but maybe people will understand now. It wasn’t to disrespect the flag, soldiers or police. It was to shine a light on how racism is present in the justice system. Not all parts of the justice system, but those who exhibit hate freely and try to disguise it.

In some cases, not all or even most, the officers who have violated their oath to protect and serve are arrested and charged. Many get a slap on the wrist. I’m interested to see how the state police in Minneapolis are disciplined for their actions Friday morning.

During the riots in Minneapolis, state police arrested Omar Jimenez, a CNN reporter and his entire team. Jimenez identified himself, offered to cooperate with officers and explained why he was there.

He was arrested live on air but was never told why.

However, just a block away, another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, and his team were covering the riots. Campbell said officers were polite and told him “you’re good to be here.”

He didn’t have the same experience as his colleague.

John Berman, CNN correspondent, said, “You Josh Campbell are white. Omar Jimenez is not.”

Whether or not people want to believe or accept it, that factual statement was probably the reason for the arrest. So now, not only do I have to deal with the struggles of being a black man, but as a black reporter?

Not everyone wants to hear this but, racism is still alive and well in America. It’s nothing new. A new normal would be when it is not tolerated nor accepted.

I hate having to stand on my soapbox and say these types of things. But I have dealt with racism before, and I’m sure I will again in my lifetime. My oldest daughter is 9, and she has already dealt with it.

Something has got to change.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now, but before I do, I want to emphasize that my column is not just what’s on my mind. Many times, it’s what people are saying, but don’t feel they have a platform to say it. Racism is a sensitive subject, but if we don’t address the problem, we can’t correct it.

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.”

― Muhammad Ali

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