Terry Paulson

Welcome to Ferguson, Missouri. With black teens in the area facing 50% unemployment, they need jobs, not more demonstrations. Unfortunately, throwing stones at the police, cursing at potential employers, and destroying small businesses does not make a compelling impression for the jobs they so desperately want.

With calmer nights beginning to return, there is once again business activity in Ferguson. But one of the business signs speaks to the problem we face. The hand-written sign on the plywood replacing the window read, "OPEN BLACK OWNER." Is that the America we want where only white-owned stores should be attacked?

No matter what happened in that tragic confrontation, there is no justification for looting and violence. Blacks can point to white-on-black attacks. Whites can list black-on-white attacks. For law-abiding Americans of any race, such crimes deserve fair trials and true justice.

Victor Frankl, the holocaust survivor, said it best, “There are only two races, the decent and the indecent.” As an American, we're challenged to care less about the color of a man's skin, and more about a man's behavior. In America, there should be no special laws to protect one race; all should be held to the same standard. Do the crime; serve the time. We aspire to equal justice for all--Whether for a black teenager or a white police officer.

There are some people we no longer even see the color of their skin. They're our co-workers, fellow students, fellow parishioners, beloved entertainers or sports figures, close friends or even spouses. Race means little when we get to know people.

Instead of marching against the police, the regular folks of all races in Ferguson should stand with the police to take back their community from the interloping hoodlums who are doing what they can to destroy their city. It’s time for some disarming smiles and outstretched hands on both sides of our racial divide. Let's return to being Americans first. Let's give time for justice to prevail.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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