2014 was a year that saw a lot of very serious debate surrounding race, protesting and the role of police in American society. Those flames were stoked even hotter over the weekend, where hundreds of New York City police officers turned their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio following statements about the #blacklivesmatter protests. The ensuing conversation has been fraught with (frequently justified) anger, and the nation needs a cooler head to prevail. And, in Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson, we have found one such head. Anderson received an email from a father expressing his “frustration and outrage” about the police department’s peaceful dealings with Nashville’s protesters (officers served them hot chocolate), and responded with a lengthy, thoughtful treatise on the need for mutual understanding, respect and compassion. The email was published on Saturday and quickly went viral, as well it should.

By considering only the thoughts and ideas we are in agreement with, we stay in our comfort zone. Our own biases get reinforced and reflected back at us leaving no room for any opinion but our own. By doing this, we often convince ourselves that the majority of the world shares opinion and that anyone with another opinion is, obviously, wrong. It is only when we go outside that comfort zone, and subject ourselves to the discomfort of considering thoughts we don’t agree with, that we can make an informed judgment on any matter. We can still disagree and maintain our opinions, but we can now do so knowing that the issue has been given consideration from all four sides. Or, if we truly give fair consideration to all points of view, we may need to swallow our pride and amend our original thoughts.

You can (and should) read the whole thing here

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