Parenting my white kid, Part I

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 3.54.09 PMOn the way home from our St. Paul Midway neighborhood YMCA this afternoon, my 8-year-old son and I saw a child in a car holding a sign that said “Stop Police Brutality.” I said “I wish I didn’t have to like your sign, but I do.” A woman exited the car, and said she had just come from the Governor’s Mansion, where many people are gathered to protest the murder of Philando Castile at the hands of a St. Anthony police officer at a “routine traffic stop.” I’m sure by now you know the story. It’s horrific.

As we crossed the street toward our home, my son asked, “What was that about?”

“Remember this morning when you asked what I was watching, and I said it was a woman speaking, whose boyfriend was shot and killed by the police not far from our house?”

And then I started crying and couldn’t speak. Finn was watching me in silence as we walked.

I gathered myself somewhat and haltingly explained that people are down at the Governor’s Mansion protesting because this man was killed. That he had been doing nothing wrong, and that this is an ongoing and complex problem in the United States. That many of the people killed in this way by police are black men. I told him that it makes me sad and angry, and reminded him of talks we have had about his school friends, and how different their lives may be from ours, simply because they are black. (His school is 88% students of color, and he is in the minority as a white child.)

[Read more…]