The Challenges of Raising a Biracial Child Today.
If we all pick sides in the current racial divide, where does that leave Biracial kids?
With all the talk about race lately, it’s hard not to have an opinion. As parents of biracial children though it is important that you weigh your opinion carefully. Some people are on the side of the Black Lives Matter and some on the side of Blue lives matter. I really don’t understand why people are polarized on this issue. What is so hard to understand about Black people wanting to be treated fairly, humanely, and as equal citizens under the law? Understanding this does not mean that we don’t respect good cops that put their lives on the line every day. Why does it have to be either or?
Some people look at the videos of Black men being gunned down and know in their heart that their White children would not be treated like that but refuse to say that the person in the video was treated unfairly. I have even heard some, both Black and White people have the opinion that “if they would just follow the law they would not have these problems.” The thing is, everyone should follow the law-that’s a given. However, in America, even if suspected of a crime, you are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Also, even if someone does commit a crime, they are entitled to a fair trial in front of a jury of their peers. No one gives a bad cop the right to be judge and jury and to issue a death sentence on his own accord.
This argument is also illogical because White people commit crimes too. You don’t see White people in videos being gunned when they aren’t law abiding. Also, if a White person and a Black person commit the same crime, the outcome is usually vastly different.
For example, one of my White friends was recently talking on Facebook about never having been stopped by police, arrested or jailed because he is a law abiding citizen and if Blacks could just follow the laws of the land, they would also not be hassled by police (now unfriended). Well, I know that this particular person smokes marijuana and smells like it all the time. If he were stopped by police, they would surely smell it on him. But, as he was saying, he never gets stopped by the police. However, if another, smells like weed, and is racially profiled and stopped, he very likely would be arrested. Just because you don’t get profiled does not mean that you are necessarily law abiding.
On the other hand, I have many White friends who do see the inequity and care about our struggles. They listen as we talk about the pain of institutionalized racism. They seek to make sense of the recent racial events in Dallas, Minnesota, and Louisiana. When I’m watching the peaceful protests on television, I see many Whites walking aside Blacks showing support.
I am a tax paying, law abiding, middle aged woman. I know that I am not considered as much of a “threat” as a young Black male. I can walk out my door in the morning and pretty much assume I will go to work and come back home with no run ins with the police. When I have been stopped and issued a traffic ticket, I didn’t have fears of being pulled out my car, searched, provoked, taken to jail, or have guns pointed at me. I guess you could call this middle-aged woman privilege. White people of all ages and both genders would have even less to worry about then me. This is called White privilege.
I know many tax paying, law abiding Black men that have been stopped multiple times. This is sometimes called “driving while Black.” Racial profiling is a real thing. In most cases, it is an annoying and expensive thing that happens disproportionately to Black men, but ends without tragedy.
As, we have seen in the media though, sometimes the stops are deadly. Some of the people that have been unnecessarily killed were law abiding and some not. Some followed the directions of police and some didn’t. This uncertainty breeds distrust.
According to an article in the Washington Post, Philando Castile was pulled over 52 times in recent years for minor violations including speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and a loud muffler. Court records show that he was assessed over $6500 in fines, and most of the offenses were dismissed in court. Take a minute to think about that, can you imagine being pulled over 52 times? Can you imagine how you would worry if you were his mother? And then as we all know, the last time he was pulled over, it was for a broken taillight, and he ended up dead.
As a Black woman, I find it hurtful and exhausting to see video after video showing Black men being gunned down for the world to see. It is also hurtful to see the comments and Facebook posts indicating that the person pretty much deserved it. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.
I know that the majority of cops are good, hardworking people that have a dangerous job and put their lives on the line daily. However, bad cops are out there and you never know which one you’re going to get.
The killing of 5 police officers in Dallas was deplorable. Retaliation is not the answer. A race war is not the answer.
As a mother of two twenty something Black men, I must admit that I constantly worry about them being stopped by police. When talking to my White friends, they tell me that they rarely if ever would think to be worried about their children being stopped by the police. That must be a nice feeling.
As parents of raising a biracial child today, we must take the information going on in the world around us and process it and then, in turn, help them to process the information. Think before you speak. Saying nothing doesn’t work. Ignoring race issues doesn’t work.
What’s going on now racially in America, is hard for even adults to understand. As people are vocalizing their feeling on one side or the other, we must remember that are children are smack dab in the middle of both races. Don’t give more information then they need and make sure it is age appropriate. Make sure they know they can come to you and don’t have to figure it all out on their own.
And finally, as your child grows older, it is important that whatever race your child identifies with, make sure that they know that other people including law enforcement may see them as Black. If your child is a teen or young adult, make sure they know how to handle themselves if stopped by police.
You can certainly meet the challenges of raising a biracial child today if you are aware, discerning, listening, and not afraid to talk about things that are obviously going on in the world all around us. ~Reggie
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