So, you know I had to do it, right? I know that this blog post won’t be about anything that y’all haven’t already heard, read or seen in the media, but still, as I sit here listening to my 4 year old son singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” in his room, I can’t NOT say something. I am sad, frustrated, wounded and a little scared!
I know what African Americans have gone through in this country. I know the history of this country and how minorities are treated today. All I have to do is look at my own community and I can tell what’s going on. I first heard about this story and obviously, I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. As someone who has worked in the prison system and the daughter of a civil servant (retired fireman), I generally, think that police and the like do their due diligence! I didn’t want to automatically think anything like this was race based. I didn’t want to think that it’s another Florida death where the accused murderer got off. I just didn’t want to assume anything.
However, over the past few weeks, I can only think about what this inaction and confusion and finger pointing means for my son. It also makes me think about our community and what our “friends” REALLY think about race and race related issues. I have read so many posts on Facebook and Twitter and heard people’s opinions about how it was or wasn’t racially motivated. I have read how people don’t “see” race, so they don’t understand how others can just assume that this was racially motivated. I have read people getting mad and even incensed about people of color gathering around a cause and being frustrated or hurt or confused. I have seen how some people just want to “sweep” it under the rug and get upset when we don’t just “walk in love!”
Well, I too am confused. I too am frustrated. How do I, a white woman who is OUTRAGED by this, explain this kind of thing to my son? I know the simple answers and I am not looking for advise, but it does make me think! Clearly, K and I are not having this conversation today, but someday, we will—this I know for sure. How do I explain why talking about race is tough for some people but we do it all the time?
I know that most of my questions (these and the other ones roaming around in my head) will work themselves out and when the time comes, I will be able to have a dialogue with K about such things. I trust myself on that one. I also feel that even if I don’t have an answer for him, we can figure things out together or I will point him in the right direction or to the person who I hope can help him. These are conversations that can wait for now, but this is a conversation that I need to add to the ever growing list of things that I know we will need to talk about; things we should most certainly talk about: Martin Luther King, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders, Thurgood Marshall, Zora Nealle Hurston, Colin Powell, Alvin Ailey, Robel Teklemariam, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Medger Evers, Langston Hughes, President Obama, Nelson Mandela and the like!
I don’t know… maybe this is just me brain dumping—it most likely is. But please, parents, let’s have these kinds of talks with our kids. Let’s open the doors of conversation about race and race related issues—not forcing them, but dealing with them. Let’s celebrate how different we are, in a good way. Let’s also put politics and religion and whatever aside and be outraged that this kid was killed.