Lessons in Transracial Parenting: Ferguson, MO

I don’t watch TV news much at all. I have a few go-to online new sources and SuperDad and I have pretty frequent discussions about national and international news. I’m actually more likely to be knowledgeable about something happening on the other side of the world, than I am about things happening on the other side of the county. Like many people, I’ve been paying less attention to the events in Ferguson, Missouri than I probably should be.One of the uncomfortable things about transracial parenting is that I’m frequently confronted with myself. I no longer have the luxury of looking at the events in Ferguson through the lens of a middle-class white woman with no connection to St. Louis. My lens now has to be that of the mother, whose son will one day be a young black man, who will someday have an interaction with a cop with racial bias.

I don’t know what happened the day Michael Brown died. I wasn’t there and I’ve never been a fan of believing that I know what happened based on news reports and internet rants. I know that most people don’t have the same hesitation, but this isn’t the place for that. And I know that since the shooting, almost everyone with an opinion has made some poor decisions.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this week about the conversations that I would have with both Squish and Squirm if they were old enough to have a conversation about the events in Ferguson. Pardon the cliche, but I do actively seek out teachable moments for my kids. Unfortunately, I believe that Michael Brown’s death will not be the last opportunity to have this discussion. That’s why I’ve spent so much time praying – for all those involved and impacted, and about what I will say when my boys are old enough to have the conversation.

Another uncomfortable issue I’ve had to confront is the quality (or lack thereof) of the company I keep.

I’ve always been unwilling to tolerate overt racism. Any time I’ve heard any such comments, I’ve made it clear I’m not okay with it and that I won’t listen to it. But that was as far as I went. I felt I was doing my part by being clear that I wouldn’t be a party to such things.

And then I became a mother whose son will one day be a young black man, who will someday be directly impacted by racism. And I’ve realized that my sons deserve better.

So I’m drawing a line in the sand. 

It’s not enough to just not say those things around me.

If you believe that it’s okay to call someone an animal, or feral, or to assume that they must have been doing something illegal, or deserved to be shot – just because of the color of their skin – then you and I cannot be friends.

I don’t want to hear about statistics. I don’t want to hear the justifications for your generalizations – for your RACISM. I don’t want to hear about how you don’t think any of that applies to my son.

I don’t want to hear about “reverse-racism”, and I don’t want to hear about how no one would be rioting if it was a white girl who was shot. I do not want to hear it.

If you can’t understand everything that wrong’s with a white girl self-righteously whining that people wouldn’t riot over her being shot in the streets by a cop, AND you’re not willing to understand why that’s idiotic bullshit, I don’t want to hear it. And I don’t want to hear that you’re not racist, just honest. I WILL NOT hear it.

If you refuse to realize that the above ideas are RACIST and have no place in our world – even as a joke – then we are not friends.

We cannot be friends. I won’t allow it.

Because my sons deserve better.

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