I’m sure I’m going to step on toes and really irk some people with this post. And like I say to my kids when they get mad at me for being their mom: “I’m OK with that.” Because frankly, I’m just so tired of all the rhetoric and the same old racial divisions that occur from generalizing articles like the one I just read in the Washington Post by Stacey Patton entitled “In America, black children don’t get to be children.”
Yes, you read that title right.
I’m tired of this. Yes, this is an opinion piece and Ms. Patton is entitled to her opinion. But she is part of the race baiting culture that we have thriving in the wake of Ferguson. Her title sets the tone: “In America, black children don’t get to be children.” Hogwash. There are select few who live in cities/metropolitan areas who purportedly grow up quicker than any of us would want by what they see and experience. But to generalize that this is the case across the board is journalistic hooey. But for the sake of argument, let’s say she chose this catchy title to grab attention. She then outlines several cases of killings of several black teens/youth by white people, going all the way back to 1955 with Emmett Till. Seriously, she is comparing the lynching of Till in 1955 with Michael Brown’s death in 2014 Ferguson? I am incredulous.
She starts by saying, “Black America has again been reminded that its children are not seen as worthy of being alive — in part because they are not seen as children at all, but as menacing threats to white lives.” So that is what she got out of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Officer Wilson. I am sad for Ms. Patton that she lives in a part of the country where she believes white people think black people are menacing threats. I live in the South, and even here I would venture a guess that in 2014 most if not all white people do not perceive black people this way. I just don’t walk around thinking someone is going to harm me, be they white, black or otherwise. Maybe THAT is what makes me different from Ms. Patton.
She opines, “[w]hen black parents read about the killings of Jordan Davis, Darius Simmons, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Renisha McBride and so many others, they are forced to instill fear in their children — warning them about the dangers of white people and the police. Such words of caution are not enough to overcome the centuries of attitudes toward and policies behind white killing of black children.” That is the message that black parents draw from these cautionary tales? Certainly, no parent wants their child to fall victim to the people who are supposed to be sworn to protect the public. But seriously—citing a few deaths nationwide as proof that black parents are justified in teaching their kids to not trust white people and not to obey the police? I’m not buying it.
ALL parents should teach their kids to be law-abiding, peaceful citizens. Parents need to teach their kids to not escalate matters with the police. The LAST thing we need is black parents teaching their kids to look at white people with the side eye and already assume the police are the enemy. Ms. Patton would have us condone the “fight the power” mentality by these black youth simply because it has happened in the past. Shame on her. And for those of you that will argue that there are cases of abuse of power that justify the defiance or bowing up with the police, we need to be teaching these kids that there needs to be a line that you do not cross.
This has got to stop.
I’m tired of liberal newspapers allowing irresponsible journalists with their agendas to piece together facts from a few cases and draw grossly generalized conclusions from incidents where some of these youth/teens were breaking the law/behaving badly.
Let’s work harder instead to feature conversations about bringing up a better generation. Focus on the success stories. And we as parents need to be present in our kids’ lives. Don’t let them have idle time. And let’s stop all this distrust of the police or we’ll be talking about this same kind of stuff in another 59 years (the same number of years from Emmett Till’s murder and today).
(stepping off soapbox-for now)