Peddling Fear Is Not A Solution

Oct 11, 2016

I recently saw one of the most upbeat people I know utterly distraught over fear for her son and husband -- and for no other reason than the color of their skin.

It gave me a close-up look at the day-to-day reality too many people have to endure. It defies any notion of freedom, much less civil rights.

Maybe, as another friend suggested, we’re not necessarily witnessing an increase in the abuse of power, but more instances are being recorded and reported. I don’t know but, to me, it feels like my country is spiraling into chaos, and fear is playing a key role.

My friend is experiencing a fear I can understand – one based on the many recent and unfounded shootings of black men. And what’s behind those shootings? I don’t want to generalize, but I guess that at least one component might be another kind of fear – the fear of the “other.”

As we’re growing up, many teachers and parents encourage us not to be fearful. They show us that there’s not a monster under the bed, that we can solve that calculus problem, that we should look at all sides of an issue, that we should expand our circle of friends.

Yet, as adults, many of us are succumbing to fear-mongering, especially by those in powerful positions, or seeking those positions.

Peddling fear plays on base emotions and allows the perpetrators to hide behind their extreme biases -- and lack of ability and commitment -- instead of doing real work to identify and solve the problems.

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.