The rioters on the streets of dozens of American cities, destroying valuable property, from shopping malls to synagogues, also do not speak for me.
So who does?
I am not a racist and neither are most Americans or most police officers.
I am not a destroyer of property and neither are most Americans.
Chances are, you are just as appalled by what happened in Minneapolis, and what has happened in American cities and in some other places around the world, as I am.
So who speaks for us?
I resent the implication that if I’m not torching police cars, I am condoning the actions of a bad cop.
I equally resent the implication that my attitudes toward race can be divined simply by looking at the color of my skin.
When it comes to race, it seems that we Americans have lost the plot.
There was a time, not that long ago, when we had begun to move toward a society where people judged each other as individuals, by the content of their character, in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words.
And somehow that morphed into a new kind of racism, where assumptions are made that if you’re white, you think this way, if you’re black, you think that way, if you’re straight, if you’re gay, and so on.
When did we move from striving for color-blindness to living in a world where color and other forms of identity trump individual thinking?
The academy and social media deserve much of the blame.
College students are being taught to see life through a prism of race, gender and sexuality, as if you could define a human being in all of his or her complexity by a few key tests.
You can’t shorthand people.
And yet, my visits to college campuses over the last 10 years have indicated that the progressive movement has taught the young to view themselves and others almost entirely in terms of race, sexual identity, and so on.
We used to be people.
Now we’re categories.
And then what kids learn in college makes its way into the workplace, as they graduate and get jobs, and then into the culture, through the shorthanding of ideas that occurs in social media.
In the musical “South Pacific,” there was a groundbreaking song about racism called “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.” In other words, racism and hatred are not built into us from birth.
All that gets amplified by progressive politicians who play the shame and blame game to accumulate more power and prestige.
And now we live in a world where interactions between people of different opinions, colors, religions or lack thereof, and sexual identity are rooted in distrust, cynicism and outright hatred.
In the musical “South Pacific,” there was a groundbreaking song about racism called “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.”
In other words, racism and hatred are not built into us from birth.
They are learned behaviors.
And in my lifetime, we recognized the folly of such bigoted thinking and we began to move toward a society where people were accepted as individuals and not judged as members of groups.
A far-from-perfect society, but a better society.
As Dr. King said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
And then things went the other way.
The thug in a cop’s uniform who has been charged with murder was likely taught to believe certain things about race.
The thugs in expensive jeans and designer tops rampaging through our cities and destroying parts of an already fragile economy were carefully taught that annihilation and rage are appropriate responses to behavior of which they disapprove.
Neither of those kinds of people speaks for me.
Or, I would think, for you.
Or for who we are trying to be, fitfully, agonizingly, as a just society.
I am not a racist, or one who condones rogue cops or rioters.
They are not America.
This is not a society of blind hate.
We have come too far.
We took a wrong turn.
We sent our children to college, and the progressive movement that controls thought on college campuses carefully taught our children to hate.
And now we are reaping that whirlwind.