A simple photo that was shared on social media way back in 2015 still has people talking. The powerful message behind the selfie has won praises from over half a million netizens.
Gregory Barnes Jr., the vice president at STAR Financial Bank, recounted on his Facebook page the interaction he had with Indiana State Trooper Shawn Cosgrove on Sept. 18, 2015—the year when mainstream media highly publicized the incidents of African-American men being shot by white police officers.
“The officer did not know me nor did I know him, but we each showed one another a mutual display of respect in our interaction,” wrote Barnes, who was pulled over and issued a warning for speeding along State Road 332, in Muncie.
Barnes said, “He was doing his job, and I had made a mistake in trying to hurry home to get started moving that lead to our path’s crossing.”
During their short but pleasant conversation, they talked about many things—from their individual days to the current situation within the American society that could have led their interaction to play out “more negatively.”
Before Barnes parted ways with Cosgrove, they both thanked each other for their “mutual displays of respect” and agreed to take a selfie together to tell their story.
"I was pulled over today for speeding. The officer did not know me nor did I know him, but we each showed one another a…
He concluded his post with a strong message: “I can’t stress enough that NO demographic and/or profession of people are all bad. Neither of us are the enemy.”
“We can continue to fight against each other until we are literally “black and blue”, or we can show one another the respect we inherently deserve, not as “black man” and “blue police officer”, but as humans. None greater, none less…#Respect.”
@GregBarnesJr He would most definitely be proud of you! You are a role model of a good man! God bless!!
— Matthew McDaniel (@MattMcDaniel71) September 26, 2015
@GregBarnesJr “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” You’re sending a wonderful message. Love your story. Stay awesome and positive!
— Landlocked Mermaid (@ElanaJack) September 23, 2015
Barnes, who didn’t expect this overwhelming response, told The Star Press: “It’s actually kind of sad that a cordial interaction between an officer and myself has generated this much interest.”
In another Facebook post, Barnes thanked all his friends who had reached out to him regarding the viral photo.
“Together, we, the only race that matters, the human race, can all make this world a better place than we found it,” he wrote.
And Cosgrove held the same view. “I think that’s the only race that should truly matter, the human race, and just us showing respect for one another in that interaction, that’s what lead to this,” Cosgrove told WISH-TV.
Barnes’s story is a refreshing read, especially in a time when the relationships between the law enforcement and the black communities are strained, and when the mainstream media continue to vilify America as a country rife with inequality and racial discrimination.
Regardless of race, demographic, and occupation, we should all display “mutual respect” for one another, because we are all human.
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