Opinion: We cannot let America be torn apart from within

Merlynn Carson

As I watch the troubling events of the past several days unfolding around us, I can’t help but think about what the future holds. 

As a minority married to an African American and a mother of two children, I constantly worry about how this country will look as my son and daughter come of age. What biases will they face? What hardships will they endure because of the color of their skin? 

I feel compelled to write this message with my children in mind because I do not want a Band-Aid solution for today that allows for similar racial atrocities to be committed tomorrow. I want a solution that is sustainable for the future.

Organizations, such as the Black Lives Matter, should be condemning violent protesters and supporting leaders with voices of reason to bring about a true change in a peaceful manner. 

Racism is a systemic disease that needs to be treated with education, policy and compassion. Violent protesting and divisive leaders are not the solution. Painting streets with graffiti pointing to the White House does not solve the issue. Instead, it propagates violence, divisiveness and negativity affecting the very communities that are subjected to these acts of racism. 

I see many corporations stating that they stand in solidarity with the Black community, which is nice to hear. Time will tell whether that support is real or not as actions speak louder than words. The black community has been disproportionately impacted by corona virus and the subsequent economic fall-out. Adding rioting further destroys local infrastructure and is yet another devastating blow to the foundation of many neighborhoods and communities. 

If corporations want to stand in solidarity, deliberate action would be more impactful than lip service. Invest in these communities by investing in minority businesses — in return creating more jobs, promoting more minority employees, bringing grocery stores to combat food deserts and providing financial support for educational facilities.

My hope is that there will be real change following this wake-up call and that we use this tragic event to be a catalyst for impactful and meaningful change.  

We must stop the violent protests because the true message is lost in the chaos. Non-violent protesters voices are not being heard and are grouped together with those seeking violence and using these terrible acts against the black community for their own nefarious and political agendas.

Calling for the defunding of police is not the solution. We need law and order, or else we are doomed to revert to lawlessness akin to that of the dark ages. We must work together to find a way to heal the divide between the police and the African American community. Let us create a task force of African American community leaders and prominent members of the police community to find ways to overcome sins of the past and mitigate future conflict. 

Rather than defunding the police, we should be investing in our law enforcement organizations to provide better training, offer better pay to incentivize the best and brightest to join the force, invest in psychological assessments that weed out the bullies and the racists, invest in technology worn at all times to ensure accountability and transparency. 

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser walks on the street leading to the White House after the words Black Lives Matter were painted in enormous bright yellow letters on the street by city workers and activists Friday in Washington.

President Donald Trump has proven his commitment to the black community through actions. We should celebrate his policies on criminal justice reform and ensuring Historically Black Colleges and University have the resources necessary to educate the next generation of leaders.

Sustainable solutions call for conflict resolution methodologies that rely on collaboration and awareness. We need deliberate and direct action not only from our political leaders, but from every level of leadership, whether that be corporations, religious institutions, community leaders or any single individual with a sphere of influence. 

We must condemn racism and bigotry and we must condemn violence and anarchy. This is a great nation, and to remain as such, we cannot be torn from within.

Merlynn Carson is a physician, entrepreneur and minority small business owner who lives in Columbia, Maryland. She is the daughter-in-law of Ben Carson, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary.