In the midst of racial tension and concerns about how law enforcement officers carry out their jobs, I came across this scene of a police officer and a civilian having a friendly conversation. The photograph is of a white man talking to a black police officer and also leaves itself open to the question of whether this image would exist if the roles were reversed, with the policeman being white and the civilian black.
I am not a victim of these problems, but I understand that many people are. I also understand the importance of standing by those who have been victimized and most importantly, of listening to them. I titled this photograph Conversation not only because of the discussion happening in the image but also because no matter what situation we find ourselves in, one of the most important things we can do is be willing to talk to each other. We need to be willing to have an open and honest conversation—not an argument or a shouting match, but a dialogue that is just as much about listening as it is about speaking.
The burden of allowing this conversation to take place, of allowing every voice to be heard, is on those who have been given the privilege and power in society. It’s an opportunity to hear from people that have a different perspective, to gain a better understanding of who you are and how you fit into your community, and it’s an opportunity to be okay with the idea that when someone else shines their light on the world, you may begin to see it differently.