The Mixed Up Blog — ferguson

Talking to your kids about the police following the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Jr

Posted by Sonia Kang on

Heavy on my mind and heart is Eric Garner and Michael Brown Jr. Wherever you happen to be on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with the verdict, we can all agree that it is a heated topic when it comes to discussing the relationship, if we can call it that, between the black community and law enforcement. Whether there were proven racial motivations in this case or not, this is one of many instances where the black community felt targeted, attacked and stereotyped.

Concepts like, DWB- Driving While Black, is a very real occurrence that happens often to many black, mostly male, drivers in the US. Also, WWB- Walking While Black and SWB- Shopping While Black are other common situations the black community faces daily in our country, being racially profiled and questioned, searched or accosted and many times while completely innocent of any wrong doing.  We sometimes forget that racism and stereotypes still exist in this country, especially if we do not have to face them daily, but they do exist and the discussion around Eric Garner and  Michael Brown Jr. is a reminder of these situations. I decided to talk to my son and remind him of the rules if he was ever to come into contact with police officers.

I started my talk with my son, Gabriel, after the second grand jury came back and rioting began in such places as Ferguson. Gabriel had plenty of questions and I tried to tackle each one as they came. First, was the race question. "Mom, even though grandpa is black, I don't look black so will I face the same issues?"  I told him that just because he doesn't look black, brown skin has also received some mistreatment. "So no, you are not off the hook." I told him he is not exempt and should never take for granted the fact that he does not look black.

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