As a mother, I believe it should be a visceral reaction to have concerns about the welfare of your children.
It’s your job to prepare them for the world and everything in it. From how to (or whether to) pursue higher education to teaching them about “the birds and the bees”, there are so many lesson plans you begin to prepare, even before they’re born.
But how does a mother of a little brown boy prepare herself for the teaching of the lesson that he’s growing up in a system that is waiting for him to mess up … and that the consequences for his youthful actions are heavier because of the color of his skin.
As with a lot of my opinions, some people will think I’m crazy or that the “playing field” has long ago been leveled, but I will once again (and always) proclaim my sanity.
According to a recent UCLA study, police officers are more likely to see black boys as less innocent than white boys.
Yes, you read that correctly, police officers are more likely to look at my little brown boy and have less compassion for him and make assumptions about his guilt than they are a little white boy.
“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection,” study author and professor of psychology at UCLA Phillip Atiba Goff said of the study. “Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.”
Can someone please explain to me how I cannot teach my son that the people who are supposed to “serve and protect” him demonize him?
How does a mother prepare herself and her child for that harsh reality?
With all of the other things on your itemized parental lesson plan, why is it that as a woman of color I have to add a huge section on the justice system and how it is truly unjust because he is brown.
I’d love to teach my children that the world is fair and that if you work hard you are rewarded, but given this set of circumstances, I think I wouldn’t truly be preparing my children for life outside of my home.
My kids are so young that they still think the world is butterflies and rainbows, but how to I prepare my little brown boy for the storm?
The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children