UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Racial justice issues have been forefront in the news in 2020, with issues related to police brutality sparking protests all over the U.S.
Bellator welterweight Raymond Daniels’ life experiences have given him a depth of knowledge of the issues from more angles than most.
First and foremost, the 40-year-old Daniels is an African-American man. But he’s also in an interracial marriage, and he’s served as a police officer, spending several years with the Long Beach Police Department.
“I have been a police officer,” Daniels told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I’m in an interracial marriage. I have a son who is a young black man who I’ve had to have conversations with about, if you’re stopped by the police, stopped by an authority, how you need to act and hold yourself accountable.”
Daniels (2-1 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), who fights Peter Stanonik (5-4MMA, 0-0 BMMA) on the main card of Bellator 245 on Friday night, says he’s been racially profiled even when he, himself, was a police officer. So he knows both sides of the situation: He understands the vast majority of our nation’s first responders are good people, but he also understands how people who have been on the wrong side of a bad cop would not share that opinion.
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“It’s a crazy time in the world we live in,” Daniels continued. “And being a black man growing up here in America, I’ve been around and been involved and personally experienced some of the injustices and some of the profiling that can go on just because you’re a person who looks different. I’ve been stopped and pulled over even when I was a police officer, mind you.”
While there’s no quick fix to America’s racial strife, Daniels says he fully believes that there is an easy step every American can take to help make the country a better place: We’ll all get along better, he believes, if we take a minute to understand where other people are coming from, rather than come to knee-jerk judgements.
“The problem is people are afraid to step outside of comfort zone, afraid to put themselves almost in someone else’s shoes and understand a different perspective,” Daniels said. “I think people should show compassion and empathy. Maybe you don’t understand what that person has experienced or where they come from. But if you could show that compassion and that empathy and treat someone almost as if they were your parent or your twin and try to understand where they’re coming from, I think that’s one of the things that people can open up to and just look at yourself.”
Bellator 245 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card airs on Paramount and streams on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.
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