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  • Writer's pictureOz Patton


I had an experience today. Just like any other day in any other situation. I didn't realize how much my brain and thought processes have been effected and changed by the recent violence against people by ill-trained or performing officers. I'm being very specific for a reason. Because not all police are bad. The recent onslaught of Trump "supporters" and open racism in America. Remember how its always been there by making hispanics and latinos carry around birth certificates to prove citizenship. Just not as optimistic about this country as when I was a kid. I'm on a tangent. But my story begins from how I've had to identify the difference in my thinking in general. My communication with different groups of people. Conflict resolutions. Today I took my daughter to a birthday party at our local public pull and witnessed a conflict between a black guy and a white guy occurring across the way. I saw my older cousin slowly approach the situation and agreed with his gesture and walked right into the middle of a conflict that had nothing to do with me. A small light skinned lady was standing between them who I assumed was the significant other of the black guy. Between them trying to calm him down. He was screaming things like "why would you say that?" I stood between the two men immediately and turned to the black guy, I said, "Hey, hey man its not worth it, its not worth it." Hoping that it would attach itself to something that he could see past his anger but I had no real direction. I glanced at me quickly and took a breath. Then he looked back at the white guy who was yelling something I couldn't make out in return. At this point I turn to the white guy and I say, "Hey man, hey, he's just mad right now, its not worth it." I don't know why that's the first thought to come to mind. Attempting to guide people to realizing there are more important things in this world than a small beef. Suddenly another lady approaches and begins yelling at the black guy "what the fuck" this, and "what the fuck" that. I mean she wasn't even involved and walked in instigating the situation. By this point the pool staff had to get involved and begin to try and intervene standing in front of the black man telling him to calm down or he would have to leave. He calms briefly, then walks toward his stuff on the lawn. "I just walked over here and they took our stuff out our chairs and I was just asking who took our stuff, and he gonna say some shit like, 'We're not your fucking chair watchers,' I mean why would you say that?"

I had to pause. I had to accept that no matter what in myself, because of his frustration and that fact the he was larger and he was a black man I could identify with, that I immediately thought he was wrong for the way he was behaving before. I thought "this dude is trippin on this little white dude" which translates to accepting that the calmer of the two was innocent entirely. I felt so much shame and barely understood it. Now thinking, "so this guys an asshole." By this point the situation was calming till the uninvited instigating white lady began loudly requesting they be asked to leave. Another white man approaches and a second staff then the cops are mentioned and everybody chills and separates. Me exiting the awkward situation screaming "Alright WOOOOH! Let's have some water fun. Pool time!" only drawing the awkwardness to myself but as the young people say, "I'm about that life" Ha Ha. I return to my party and observe the black man leave with his family and wonder about whether the other people were even asked to leave. Then other witness assure me that he choose to leave of his own accord and the other people were asked to leave but not at the same time. We chatted about and chuckled that it was over and wow'd at having gone through the entire situation. I just wanted to defuse. I decide to exit the fence around the pool to smoke a cigarette and let my daughter play at the nearby park. As I approached the park I hear behind me someone yelling, "I'm gonna fuck you up! I'm gonna fuck you up!" I look back and the black dude has returned. I thought to myself "Fuck man really, time to go." Nothing behind it just at this point the priority is to avoid conflict and not expose my daughter to any unnecessary violence. I tried to intervene, whether it was my place or not, but now I have another priority. So I gather my daughter once the black man is actually escorted out by staff. And we head back into the pool to grab our stuff. As I enter staff is stationed around the entrance all observing me more than I felt necessary but I assumed the situation was just tense in general. Exposing my wristband I mumbles something about a birthday party and witnessed a very express grin among worried looks then walked in.

When I returned to my party I was told that the white guy in the confrontation had said something about me being with the other black dude and another life guard said he heard my cousin say he was going to beat the guy up. His daughter who was a lifeguard for the company but off duty at the time corrected him stating, "My dad didn't do that." At this point I walk over to the white dude who is now holding his daughter and I say, " Hey man I wasn't with that dude, I just saw two people about to fight and I thought we should just focus on whats important and have fun. He was already mad, and" " I shoulda kept my mouth shut.""You didn't have to say what you said to him, but your allowed to say whatever the fuck you want. I just don't think he was communicating what he needed by just being like 'Nobody gonna say nothing' but I was just trying to defuse the situation." At this point his significant other walks up and says, "Your friend was mad" I had to respond with a Woah. "He wasn't my friend." immediately I thought I didn't think that every white person that walked over here was related to you in some way. I just saw good people and some instigators period. I never assumed to be associated when I'm just trying to help. It was the whole, "they all look alike" thing but more complex. My aunt approaches me and tries to pull me away out of concern. But I assure her I'm fine. I reiterate my point to the dude and move on. The cops arrive and escort the white people out and then we leave under a watchful eye. I thought about why I assumed the white guy was automatically the victim. I thought about why I felt the need to separate myself from the black dude and his actions. I thought about my fear of the police being called.

It took a conversation with my fiancé for me to realize the situation was just two mad people flipping out but the your all in a bunch and all guilty was coming from someone individuals guilt. I don't know how this mindset and observation of a situation has become 'black and white' to me but I realized I'm just a defuser. I didn't want to be in a situation where I've witnessed unnecessary violence but our world has warped my prospective and people are just disappointing to some degree. The racist mindset exist in all of us in some degree but it isn't important. Communication is. We need to talk to one another like we matter because we have a voice. Like human beings need each other. I feel like America is the tower of Babel, in perspectives. I just hope we don't fall.

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