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To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends

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I’ve been wrestling with talking to you about some things I think you need to know. I’ve wrestled with it because I feel my own sense of shame– shame that I didn’t know or understand these issues before they touched my family. I’ve felt fear that you’ll respond in subtle ways that make it clear you aren’t safe for my child. I’ve been concerned that you won’t believe me and then I’ll feel more angry than if I hadn’t said anything. But my son is getting older and as he transitions from an adorable black boy to a strong black man, I know the assumptions about him will change. And I need your help in keeping him safe.

We talk to our son about safety issues. We talk to him about being respectful of police (and anyone in authority), about keeping his hands where they are visible, about not wearing his hood up over his face or sneaking through the neighbor’s backyard during hide-and-seek or when taking a shortcut home from school. We are doing what we can to find this bizarre balance of helping him be proud of who he is and helping him understand that not everybody is going to see him the way we see him. Some people are going to see him as a “thug” before they ever know his name, his story, his gifts and talents.

But here’s the thing– as much as we can try to protect him and teach him to protect himself, there may come a time when your child will be involved. As the parents of the white friend of my black son, I need you to be talking to your child about racism. I need you to be talking about the assumptions other people might make about my son. I need you to talk to your child about what they would do if they saw injustice happening.

I know that in a white family it is easy to use words like “colorblind” and feel like we’re enlightened and progressive. But if you teach your kids to be colorblind, they may not understand the uniquely dangerous situations my child can find himself in. If you tell your kids racism happened a long time ago and now it’s over and use my family as an example of how whites and blacks and browns can all get along together, you are not doing me any favors. Just because you haven’t seen obvious examples of racism in your own life doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

It is easy to think we live in a colorblind society when you don’t know that two weeks ago I was on the phone with the principal at my son’s school to discuss the racial insults he was regularly receiving from the student sitting next to him. I was thankful for how seriously the school handled that incident and we consider it a huge victory that my son felt safe telling his parents and teacher how he was being teased since many kids don’t. It is easy to think we live in a post racial society when you don’t know that a neighbor of mine called the Child Protective Services hotline to complain about my kids behaving in the exact same ways as the ten other white neighbor children they regularly play with behave (playing in the “street”– we live on a cul-de-sac–, playing in our front yard without shoes, asking for snacks from the neighbor parents- these are the actual complaints that were made). I don’t want to begin to tell you the trauma it is to former foster kids when a social worker shows up at your house to interview them and I’m afraid I haven’t yet forgiven our neighbor for bringing that on our family (although it was quickly determined to be a ridiculous complaint and there was no further action taken). The thing is, I doubt that neighbor even thinks of himself as racist, but the fact that when the white kids of the neighborhood do it it’s “kids being kids”, but when the kids of color are involved it’s got to be addressed by authorities shows the underlying bias of his assumptions. This isn’t “concern”, this is harassment.

So white parents, please talk to your kids about racism. If they see my son being bullied or called racist names, they need to stand with him. They need to understand how threatening that is and not just something to be laughed off. If your child is with my child playing soccer at the park and the police drive by, tell your child to stay. Just stay right there with my son. Be a witness. In that situation, be extra polite, extra respectful. Don’t run and don’t leave my son by himself. If you are with my son, this is not the time to try out any new risky behaviors. Whatever trouble you get into, he will likely not be judged by the same standard you are. Be understanding that he can’t make the same mistakes you can.

White parents, treat my son with respect. Don’t rub his head because you want to know what his hair feels like. Don’t speak black slang to him because you think it would be funny. If you’re thinking about making a joke that you feel might be slightly questionable, just don’t do it. Ever. Your kids are listening and learning from you even in the jokes you tell. Be conscious of what media messages your kids are getting about race. Engage in tough conversations about what you’re hearing in the news. Don’t shy away from this just because you can. He can’t. We can’t.

Be an advocate for this beautiful soul who has eaten at your kitchen table, sat next to your son at church, been at your child’s birthday party. He is not the exception to the rule. He is not protected by my white privilege for the rest of his life. He is not inherently different from any other little black boy and ALL their lives have value and worth and were created by God. I have hope that when white parents start talking about these issues with our white kids, maybe that’s where change starts.

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664 Comments

  1. Thanks Maralee. You are helping me to prepare for raising an empowered black son this time, in this town, in this country. I appreciate your willingness to speak truth. So many of our friends and family have a hard time understanding there are still misconceptions, fears, and prejudices- even here, even in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thanks.

    • I feel Your pain but on a much deeper level. I was a white kid who went to a predominantly black school until the 9th grade. I was kicked, punched slapped and spit on for 4 years due to me Being white. I was called ghost, white boy, honkey ect ect Daily.Teachers would check the kids on occasion but it was more of the same the next day. I considered killing myself often and then I considered killing them. So when I hear about your stories of someone being treated unfairly I totally understand, but I guarantee they what they indure is nowhere near what a white kid faces in a minority school. Please quit being blind to what’s really going on out there because yes, all lives matter.

      • True…all lives matter yet the sad part is the world sees that your life is important, unfortunately black children do not experience the same.

      • Same here! And black girls have felt my daughter’s hair out of curiosity. I was bullied for being white, and even received death threats BC black guys wanted to date me and the girls didn’t like it. This isn’t a race problem as much as a nice vs mean people problem. Don’t listen to media garbage about police brutality because most of it is lacking the truth as police aren’t allowed to defend themselves against media. Police officers will do whatever it takes to come home alive to there families, so obey the law and respect authority and next time you want to assume racism when a black man is shot, consider the numbers as fewer blacks are shot by police than whites. And fewer blacks are killed by whites than by blacks. It appears that assuming that these issues are racial before looking at other reasons is racism itself. It’s time to step back and look at all the factors before shouting racism. And consider teaching your black sons to rise to a higher standard respecting authority, regardless of race, accept all races and stop using racism as a crutch because all races experience racism. All loves matter!

        • I’ll assume you aren’t black. No one, hopefully, is discrediting what happened to you as a youth and while that was unfortunate for you that obviously doesn’t make it okay. I’ll also go ahead and assume that you’ve never been specifically targeted by the police because of the color of your skin. Even when being respectful, obeying the law, and being as nice as possible, sometimes being black is and has been reason enough to be mistreated and abused and lied on by the police. Numbers don’t matter, especially when someone’s life is taken. How horrible of you to even compare other senseless, avoidable murders(whether by another black, white, orange, nurse, teacher, or cop) to “statistics”. It won’t matter how much respect and manners that I’ve instilled into my black sons, the reality of where we live is that because of the color of their skin they will be targeted by not only the police but other people as well. Unfortunatley, racism is very real and it’s something I myself who works at a great job, live in a good community, still experience on a daily basis. It isn’t something we use a “crutch”, its a real problem. It must be nice for you to not have to go through these things.

          • That was really well written. I know what you are saying. I lived in North Carolina for a few years. We lived in a great neighborhood that was 5o% black and 50%white. I never realized what real racism was until one day I got home from work and my 2 sons and about 5 of the neighborhood kids where playing basketball in my driveway which went around to the back of the house where the hoop was. A police cruiser pulled in behind me. I could see the kids were having a great time and doing nothing wrong. I asked the officer if there was a problem and he said that a neighbor called the them because there was so many black kids at my house and he was concerned there might be a problem. I was dumb struck. I couldn’t believe it. I asked the officer to please go tell the neighbor things were fine and if I have a problem I will deal with it. These were a great group of kids. I didn’t realize until that day just how ignorant people can be.

          • Racism still exists yes, but being targeted goes for any race. I find nowadays it’s more about status and what area you are in, rather than race alone. For example, I’m a white female, I was talking to a long time friend of mine who happened to be in town.. We got to talking and catching up. Next thing you know a police officer approaches us and asks what we are doing, I reply and tell him “Just catching up with an old friend.” He asks for our ID’s.. We give them to him and he runs them for warrants.. everything is clear then he comes back and says he has to search my car because we are acting suspicious in a “known drug area” and assumed we were doing a drug deal. I told him that’s rediculous and he then put me in handcuffs searched my car and purse found MY prescription and charged me. My car was towed and I was arrested. Hired an attorney and the charges were dismissed but I had to prove it was my prescription and wasted alot of time and money proving my innocence over nothing. Meanwhile, I was fired from my job for missing work, my child was briefly without a mother and I now have that arrest on my record. Even though it says dismissed, it will still reflect poorly on me during an interview. Police act as though they are above the law to anyone.. period.

          • KJohnson,

            Thank you for your response to mamabear. She will NEVER understand nor relate to our struggles, strong black women, raising strong black men. I’m praying for ALL our black men.

        • It’s people like you who make me afraid for my son. It’s not the rambling idiots we all know are racist…. It’s people like you all black people have to do is smile and nod….. If only we do that can we make it through this life unscathed. You’re wrong honey. Sorry to burst your bubble.

        • Even hild a man down and execute him, I’m sorry hold a black man down and execute him. Even murder a man in front of his 4 year old child. Had that been a white child we woukd be gearing about all the therapy the child needed. What will happen when black cops start executing white folks the same way? Go head answer, I’ll wait

        • I thought I was the only one who got thier ass kicked for being white! We actually had to move because my parents were afraid I would be killed.

      • Sorry, Jason, but I think that was inappropriate. I doubt that it was worse for you, although it might have been just as bad. But I doubt if the police will ever shoot you, or anyone in authority will ever refuse to take you seriously. And I’m as white as it gets.

        • Inappropriate? Because he shared his personal experience? You don’t know what he went through just because you are also white. Every person goes through things differently. He said he wanted to kill himself over the bullying. That should tell you how badly it affected him.

          • “but I guarantee they what they indure is nowhere near what a white kid faces in a minority school.”

            What’s inappropriate is trying to determine who has it “worst.” We are all capable of caring about more than one type of injustice at once.

            What happened to him is not right. But as an adult, the appropriate response is to share personal experiences without attempting to invalidate or diminish someone else’s. His experience is that white children in predominantly minority schools get brutal treatment and not enough is done to address it. The appropriate response would be to organize and perhaps bring together a group of activists to bring awareness to this issue in a separate forum.

            This is why “All Lives Matters” bothers so many people. It’s literally trying to steal the platform the BLM activists have built. Build your own and come up with your own slogan if you want to be taken seriously.

            I’m an immigrant in this country and my experience comes with its own sets of injustices and beatings (both physical and psychological) at the hands of ignorant people of all colors and ages. That experience does not prevent me from being extremely angry about the patterns we’re seeing in police brutality towards black people.

      • The problem is we have never truly learned to accept people who are different. I was the only black student in an all girls Catholic High School. We had only one white female student who happened to be a Protestant and French Canadian. She was treated as badly as me. Unfortunately we shun differences instead of embracing it. I hope your experience has not turned you into a skin head or something.

        • THANK YOU for stating the TRUE issue. The only time I hear the word racism is when it said whites are racist to black. Of course we all watch the White Entertainment Network. Hear about the White Caucus on Capital Hill. Who hasn’t loved the girls in the swimsuits of the White Miss America Pagent. And we all know the NAWCCP has far too much political clout. Oh wait, none of those exist because they would be racist. However, BET, the Black Caucus, Miss Black America Pagent, Howard University/Spellman College, and the NAACP do exist. All of which exclude white, Latino, and Asian people. THIS is what keeps “racism” alive.

          The KKK was always considered horrible and a hate group, but Black Lives Matters is given a wide berth despite the hate and violence around their rallies. 13 people found that out the hard way in Dallas. It all boils down to not respecting, liking, or tolerating people who are different from you.

          Do some black men get killed by white officers? Yes. So do white men. Do black people get killed by white people? Yes. But more black people are killed by other black people. Some claim the proportions are off, but the fact is the numbers do not lie.

          A white person in a black neighborhood will be stopped at night by police even if doing nothing wrong. Why? Because it is known people who are ‘different’ do not usually hang out with the people they are ‘different’ than on a normal basis. Of course, they can get along and be friendly to each other, but doubtful they are hanging out at 1am together in an are where they are the only one that is ‘different’.

          Taking responsibility for not being tolerant of people not like you is the first step. Showing respect to yourself and everyone you encounter costs you nothing, and it can help the world. There are tons of color combinations, and even more personality combinations. Racism will exist as long as one person believes they are better than OR less than someone else. Stop the hate.

          Yes, I am white, and I live in a mixed neighborhood being able to call people of various nationalities and ethnic groups my friend. I know many people who have different skin tones, accents, and customs who know how to be respectful and compassionate. I also know ‘thugs’ of every skin tone, accent, and customs. It is a personality issue. Not a skin tone issue.

          Stop racism by stopping your own issues with people who are different and blaming them for all the bad stuff. Whites were slaves too. It is not JUST blacks in America. Blacks captured and sold other black people into slavery. Just like whites have been captured by whites and blacks and put into slavery. It still happens in the sex trade every day. Whites are killed by police. Whites get stopped for no ‘reason’, and whites are not allowed to have anything that excludes anyone that is not identical to them (unlike every other ethnic group). Whites that complain are accused of ‘White Priviledge’, yet they are not a group who get special exception for anything. Every other ethnic group does, but we live in a society that is trying to make white people feel guilty for being white. How is that any better than a society that makes a black person feel inferior? Skin color does not determine a person’s worth and worthy of honor. Character does that, and it does not have anything to do with the amount of melatonin in someone’s skin or what country their ancestors originated in.

          • There are lots of emotions and concerns that are running on overtime at the movement as our great nation tries to pull itself together. I am believer that in order for greatness to truly take place – there must be a little pain. Unfortunately, we are in the pain stage…growing pain stage that is.

            It’s extremely important that we all keep open minds…open hearts…and an open conscious during this growth stage. We all have to dig deeper and look past the open rhetoric in the media – and push ourselves to read, and talk to folks that are outside of our everyday network. Push ourselves into critical and compassionate thinking.

            In response to your well warranted overall frustration – I implore you to please read up on why there are such things as BET, Telemundo, HBCU’s, Bollywood, PRIDE Festivals and various Caucuses on “The Hill”. Read up to gain a foundation of the history of the organizations and why they were brought into existence – to get a better understanding of why there still is an unfortunate need for most of them today.

            Regarding HBCU’s…none of them are exclusive. In fact, most HBCU’s actually offer scholarships (academic and athletic) for non African American students. (Historical Fact: HBCU’s were originally established to provide an opportunity of higher learning for African American’s as major institutions rejected admissions of African American’s pre and post the American Civil War.)

            Thank you for your passionate expression. I hope you take my response in-kind and with love. Again, we must challenge ourselves as a nation to push for critical and compassionate thinking. We are in the middle of growing pains. But…we can be great…if we work hard and eliminate our self imposed boundaries of growth.

            Godspeed.

          • Well written. I agree with all you said.

          • Show and Prove that these Organizations exclude Whites. If not Shut the hell up! (BET, the Black Caucus, Miss Black America Pagent, Howard University/Spellman College, and the NAACP)

          • I am a 62 year old white, gay man. I can relate to the need for “special” groups for people of color because of my experience as an outsider, and the groups and slogans created around the gay community. Like Gay Pride. Heterosexuals don’t NEED a slogan like Straight Pride because their lives are celebrated and validated everyday, everywhere. As a group, heterosexuals are not oppressed or held back from living a joyful, full life. Heterosexuals, as a group, are not attacked or killed just for being themselves… or because they are SUSPECTED of being straight. Heterosexuals are the ruling class in our society. Heterosexual white men are the Supreme ruling class. Anyone who is not a heterosexual white man is expected to explain and justify their existence, to always be on the defensive. At some point, the many, many people and groups of people who don’t match the picture of the heterosexual white man started to find support and strength in the solidarity of others with similar lives. So when the slogan “Black Lives Matter” is constantly met with the response of “All Lives Matter”, it must feel like an admonishment and trivialization of the intended message. Even as a white man, I cringe when I hear “All Lives Matter”. It sounds to me like “Oh, stop making something out of nothing. You’re not so special. ALL lives matter.” There’s something inherently hostile and dismissive in the “All Lives Matter” response.
            To my ears, Black Lives Matter, isn’t the same as saying “Black lives matter MORE than anyone else’s”. I hear “Black lives matter AS MUCH as anyone else’s” and it’s being said because they have seen and felt that Black lives don’t seem to matter as much as other lives.
            I don’t presume to speak for any black person, but as I stated earlier, I definitely understand how Gay Pride comes from a similar place. We’re not saying “pay attention to us because we’re so much better than you.” Or “give us special privileges because we’re better”. Gay Pride is a response to being treated poorly for way too long. It’s like being knocked down but getting up with head held high.
            When you’re in the ruling class, you don’t need parades or support groups because the world is built around you, for your needs, pleasure and power.
            This idea is pretty basic and should be easy to understand.

          • Tiredofbiasis, I am appalled at your level of ignorance. Your examples of white organizations is simply devoid of anything logical. If you did any research at all, a simple Google search, you would know that the NAACP was founded by whites and blacks and continues to this day to be open to all races. Predominantly black colleges are open to everyone. The black organizations you mentioned were started because whites did not allow blacks to participate in their white counterparts. How can you in this day and age be so ignorant of simple facts? The real question is why do you wish to hold on to your resentment of black people so badly that you REFUSE to see the truth?

          • You bring up real and important issues like valuing people by their character and not their skin color, as well as taking responsibility for yourself. I strongly believe in those things. Just like I strongly believe being responsible includes helping others when they are harmed by irresponsible people in positions of authority.

            I’ll first say that the White Entertainment Network, White Caucus, White Miss America Pageant and NAWCCP do not exist because they would be redundant – not because they would be “racist”. The majority of TV channels, movies, government, etc. show us a statistically disproportionate number of white faces. So when the big boys won’t give up but one or two seats at their 20 tables, why should anyone take issue when you and the people who think like you put down some cushions and sit on the floor instead of leaving the room?

            Are there a lot of other issues around race and violence that this conversation about police brutality doesn’t address? Yes. Should we talk about those other issues? Absolutely. But we don’t get to decide which issue is most important or deserving of attention. And we definitely don’t get to say the issues other people bring up are not really issues or not the “true” issues—especially when we have no personal experience with them.

            We should be able to talk about gang violence without bad-mouthing BLM. We should be able to encourage parents to talk to their kids about acceptance without demanding they say ‘our struggle is just as bad/worse than theirs’. Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose to teaching inclusion? And your last paragraph: are you really implying it’s in the hands of black people to end racism? I hope I misunderstood you. Because if there is one thing I’m sure of is that it’s going to take maximum effort by every single resident of this planet, particularly those who are lucky enough to be born into the majority. I’ll clarify that making people aware of privilege isn’t about guilt at all. Guilt is destructive and the worst motivator for any action. It’s about awareness. We can’t improve a society whose power structure we don’t understand.

            For centuries we have only been able to hear white voices. We have a responsibility to open our ears and pass the microphone to the rest of the country.

        • Olivia – you are so right. When I was in junior high there was an English girl who was bullied every day just because she was different. I was bullied by the rich kids because I wasn’t rich. There was a short fat boy who was bullied for his appearance. When I lived in Hawaii I encountered racism because I was white. My husband and I were even refused housing because we were white instead of phillopino. My brother has been pulled over by black cops and called white boy by them and hit in the head by them. It is absolutely about being afraid of our differences instead of celebrating them!!!

      • this isn’t about you or white people. this is about historical and current institutionalized, systemic, and individual racism that harms (to the point of murder) Black people and other People of Color.

        your childhood experience sounds awful, and i am sorry no one was there to protect you. but you have outgrown and outlived that (albeit traumatic) experience and i doubt that experience has led to you being discriminated against in access to housing, education, jobs, healthcare, nor has it caused you to be stopped continually by police and other authority figures for no reason b/c of the color of your skin and the negative, damaging stereotypes that go along with it.

        and IF all lives truly DID matter equally, no one would need to be telling these stories over and over again.

      • You make a good point but the author is not suggesting in any way shape or form that other races do not experience racism / discrimination. Sounds like what you went through was pretty terrible but it’s really difficult to say that you have it way worse than any black kid could have. You do not live from that experience so you have no way of knowing what that’s like, nor does anyone know what you experience was like unless they have had to live that. Racism sucks….and i certainly know that black people can be just as racist as white people…or Asian people, hispanic people, etc

        • White people cant experience racism it’s impossible. Racism is the systematic oppression of a group of people and no other ethnicity/race has any power to oppress white people. They can only experience discrimination or predjudice but racism is impossible.

          • Zuri, you proved that you’re a racist. You re-define the term to your advantage. Racism is the idea, first, that people can and should be genetically divided into races, and second, that one race is superior to another. The author of this essay wrote eloquently about the ugly racism that her son faces and will face. Unlike you, she did it in a way that does not insult others by making false claims. Incidentally, she did not say whether the world considers her white or black. For the purposes of this essay, it doesn’t matter. Whatever her skin color, she’s experienced racism as only a mother (of whatever color) can.

            Incidentally, let me mention one of the sad legacies of racism. When someone that society calls black experiences rude or hostile or cruel treatment from someone else, he or she often can’t know whether racism is the cause. He or she may blame racism where there is none. Some people are just rude and hostile or cruel. Most of us are, at times.

            When my son was young, he got stopped for going 2 mph over the speed limit. He got stopped and his car searched with no reason given. He got stopped for turning right on yellow. Someone (he was never sure who) shot holes in the side of his car as he drove. His ancestors were from Europe. If they had been from Kenya or Nigeria, he might have concluded that those bad experiences were anti-black racism. They weren’t. Yet there IS racism, and it’s evil. If his skin had been dark, he might not have survived…and that’s very, very sad.

          • Dear Zuri. According to Webster’s, racism is: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” In other words, all people are capable of experiencing racism as well as being racist themselves. It is a misconception that white people do not experience racism. It is less frequent in America, I agree, but it happens none-the-less.

        • Andrea – well said!!!

      • Yes, all lives matter. Unfortunately, there are very few times in life where a white person will be the minority. There are many times when a black child will be the minority and not only will children bully him/her, adults will too. Someone at least tried to check your bullies…. no one will stand up for these brown babies.

      • Sorry, not the same. It sucks to be bullied, but you were bullied for being the odd kid out, not because of racism. If you got in trouble with cops, still would be safer than your peers, if you got convicted of a crime, would serve less time, if you wanted to get a good job or into college, your skin buys you privilege. I know it might not feel like it in a tough high school, I get it, I grew up a minority (only our children were generally more kind than your story), but the truth is, your white skin is still privilege and to ignore it is ignorant.

        • I completely disagree with this. My husband was working for an electric company through a temp agency while looking for work. They had him train a Hispanic gentleman for this high paying job and then told my husband, verbatim, when he asked why this gentleman was getting the job and not himself getting the job: I’m sorry. We can’t hire you as we you are white. We need to fill a certain Hispanic and African American quota and we are one short. He gets the job.’ That is not a joke. My husband performed the job so well that they had him train the Hispanic gentleman to take his job. Skin got that man his good paying job. And the man who got the job solely because of the color of his skin quit 2 months later. My family is NOT prejudice. My girls date interracially and we have raised them that God made every single one of us in all sorts of beautiful colors. But we have had first hand experiences with what you’re saying doesn’t happen. My kids also have to pay for their own college as we cannot swing tuition for four. They have known this all of their lives. They worked hard in school and in sports to get scholarships. One daughter received a full ride due to her grades. Our second daughter got about half paid for by scholarships for her grades. For the rest she worked three jobs around her schooling to pay for the rest along with taking 17 credit hours so she could graduate early and with less debt. She almost wasn’t able to finish due to finances but took extra jobs in the summer and worked hard to finish. She has a friend that is African American and received free schooling due to minority scholarships and being on Medicaid. This girl didn’t work or pay for any of her schooling. She sloughed off and got average grades and even failed a couple of classes. Was my daughter angry at her friend for that? She wasn’t angry that she got the free college education but she was angry than she wasn’t thankful for the ability to have a free college education by showing appreciation via at least trying to do well in school. Do I think my daughter might go further I life? She surely will try her best to excel in everything she does. Not because of the color of her skin but because she busted butt every day to excel and pushed herself, at times, beyond her own limits to make things work and to get her education paid for. She had pure grit and determination. That’s why she will go far. Not because of her skin color. But she did not get the same advantages in college BECAUSE of her skin color that her Africa American friend got DUE to her skin color. We have to at least admit that everything goes both ways and not try to convince people that only whites get better jobs and get into college because of their skin color. We have personally experienced the opposite. Does that make us angry against other ethnicities? No! That makes us look within and work harder to make the best of our lives and just keep pushing forward to make it happen. It even means not getting a job because you’re white and moving forward and knowing God will provide the right job at the right time. And Inhave personally been bullied by a police officer with my teenage son being in the car. I took it took court and the policeman lied through his teeth to the judge and the judge believed him. I even had pictures regarding the incident for proof. Didn’t matter. It made my son so Leary of police and he now doesn’t trust them. White judge. White officer and I am white. I told my son there are bad apples I every profession and to not judge the entire profession by a few bad apples. We have personally experienced most of the things you said don’t happen. They do. But we rise above and keep pushing forward knowing that not everything is fair and not everyone is bad and that all skin colors experience it. We need to love and be the good and be the change.

          • Thank you for sharing these experiences, Kendra. It sounds like you have a pretty amazing family and are teaching your kids all the right values.

            I can definitely relate to your family’s struggle especially as far as paying for college. I do have to point out that the scholarships available only to minorities as well as employment quotas are in place to correct the imbalance of opportunity the country experiences overall.

            We all have personal anecdotes and experiences of incredibly deserving people of all races who never received any help. But the way these scholarships or employment quotas are structured has to respond to nationwide patterns and statistics, which unequivocally tell us more minorities are turned down for jobs and admission to schools than members of the majority. It sometimes seems like these quotas and specific scholarships are going too far. But even with all that, we have not yet corrected the imbalance.

            Like you yourself said, the few bad apples you might encounter by chance don’t show you the whole picture.

      • you’re right, all life odes matter however… you’re probably in the minority. i don’t know any other white kid that goes to a predominantly black school. or white folk that are in professions dominated by black folk… unless there are white gardeners; domestic workers; car guards that i don’t know of…

      • Well said! I truly minority views point that is going unheard

      • I was also bullied by a group of girls in middle school for no reason other than I was white (and shy). It can happen in either direction (discrimination). My best friend is black. We talk about issues like this. Even though she herself was never discriminated against, she always waits for it to happen, and there is a subtle ‘noticing’ by people, probably including me, of how this happens. I said, why do you worry about it and she said, Because nobody let’s me forget. I understood it after being in some discussions.

      • I am sorry that you had to attend school with students who were ignorant because their parents didn’t teach them empathy.

      • How did this become about you? The system is in place to benefit you while this woman’s child has to have instructions. You are what is wrong with society. Your narcissism is off the charts. Yes #BlackLivesMatter

        • “The system is in place to benefit me?” Well, I’ll tell ya, I am way behind on my benefits. That statement is as wrong as me saying that you must be a drug dealer thug on welfare because you are black. Give me examples of how the system benefits the white. No, don’t. There is a difference between what is perceived and what is real. The only benefits that I have, are because I have worked my butt off to get them.

      • While I understand your pain you can never know what it is like to live like that your entire life. Your whiteness will be a shield for the rest of your life. Being black cannot be cured by moving to a new area or school. That bullying you experienced happens to black people everyday of their lives in some form or the other.

      • Hey,

        I understand where you are coming from. I went to a predominately black school and although I am Hispanic I was called a cracker, white girl ect. It made me really upset. However, I stood up for myself and made them aware of their ignorance. And a lot listened and a lot didn’t. I started to volunteer in inner city communities and realized where their hate stemmed from..and I was empathetic for them. I had to educate those willing to listen.

      • Jason,
        You were bullied and that was wrong, but you need to understand where the blacklivesmatter movement is coming from. Is not meant to state that white lives don’t matter but to state that black lives should matter as much as white lives. So the all lives matter movement is really a denial that blacks experience racism in their lives, I hope you know they do, I think by watching the news even without knowing anyone who is black, is evident that they deal with more stereotypes and profiling than whites. I’m sorry for your problems in school but it should not be a reason to generalize. Thugs can be black, white, yellow, brown, that’s the point!

      • I really empathised with you UNTIL you got to ” guarantee that what they endure is nowhere near what a white kid faces in a minority school”.

        Based on what??? Were you shot in the back by a grown up cop in the park? Were you shot in the back on your way home from buying a snack for your baby brother??? Aren’t you alive to tell your tale??? A luxury Tamir Rice was denied…

        You, sadly, are part of the problem Sir.

      • Jason,
        No reasonable reader would diminish how wrong your bullying was, or anything you carried away from it to your adult reality. Nor would they dispute it, or anyone else’s similar experience. Racism and prejudice exist in all races, in all communities. But the difference is, assuming you are white, that as a white male you entered adulthood on a relatively safe plane, mostly immune to harsh judgment, or assumptions about you based on your skin color. Everyday. Each time you walked down the street, are in a store, etc. Whatever a black kid’s childhood experience, most boys (and girls to a degree) live lives under some social,scrutiny or harsh judgment from others…from cautious whites who tense up in an elevator if three black guys get in, to cops who target them. I learned this lesson decades ago (I’m white, in my 60’s). I knew a quite wealthy, accomplished, educated, retired professor, Civic Leader African-American man who worked in international government for the USA. As the result of a very harrowing experience being pulled over by the police in his new Mercedes-Benz just blocks from home (in a mostly white neighborhood), felt he had to think about what to wear on Sunday morning for a simple drive to the deli or hardware store. Im doubtful you, or any other white kid bullied by a majority black community, has to feel on a daily basis that he must “protect” himself from Police or maybe others, dress “appropriately” simply to walk out his front door. I hope your childhood damages produced understanding and empathy, and not more disdain for others.

      • All lives matter and I do not want to hear the phrase”White privelege” again. They are trying to make the blacks feel put down and the whites feel guilty thus creating divisiveness among all of us. There is no such thing as white privelege and having this phrase out there and preached in colleges and schools only fosters resentment toward whites.I see a black police chief in Dallas. That is a prestigious position to have. I see many black people in high positions in society. There is equal opportunity for all in this Country and we need to stop telling these kids they are underprivileged and picked on as it just makes them resentful and causes trouble.

      • I am deeply sorry for what you went through in school. It was a horrible thing. However, as a white woman who has been in minority situation, you cannot possibly be comparing what you went through as a white child. The difference is that you went back out into world where you didn’t have to fear someone’s reaction to you. You weren’t exposed to people crossing the street to avoid walking by you. You didn’t have car door locks snapped shut when you passed by.

        Racism is real and it is experienced any time you are not among the majority race. As a white person in this country it is a safe bet to assume you are usually in the majority. All of us have a certain degree of racism within. It’s understanding that and being aware that our thoughts are racist if they are the same stereotypical classifications we see hear so often. We can control our response to racist thoughts and not put them into action. That goes for every human being. We are all children of God. When a surgeon cuts us open there are no differences in our insides. Can’t we look deep within ourselves and seeing only skin color.

      • I just have this to say. It is no different just because you are white in a minority school. Here is what happened to me in kindergarten. We had half days, morning and afternoon classes. Whoever sat in my desk after me would write bad things about the teacher, and guess who got the blame for it, me. It took some time for this lady to realize that it was not me. Just because she would try to make me spell my middle name differently than the correct spelling and I had trouble spelling it her way. She would insult me, making fun of me in front of everyone. Why? I was the only little black girl in the class, so I had to be ignorant! If people look up the word “nigger” in the dictionary and read it correctly it states this: That of a dark skin race and illiterate to the English language. Meaning that we could not read or write the English language, not that we were IGNORANT! So you had it no worse than any black child, at least it was the kids and not a ADULT!! Now I wonder if this is when I started to not drink white milk, only chocolate milk because white milk was bad for my Complexion??? Hmmmm, I wonder?

    • Thanks

  2. Maralee,
    Thanks so much for writing this. We even struggle with this with Eli as he is still the ‘little boy’ that you talk about, but try to ignore that this (the reaction others give him) will change! We must realize and love their differences!

  3. Truth spoken. Like you stated “I have hope that when white parents start talking about these issues with our white kids, maybe that’s where change starts.” Yes, yes, yes!
    We are also a transracial family and having conversations with some of our children who are not of the white privileged race is crazy hard. Hard but necessary at the very same time. Thank you for the time and emotional energy you put into writing this articulate, truth filled article.
    Blessings to you and your family.

    • Kimberly Zimmerman, you said, “We are also a transracial family and having conversations with some of our children who are not of the white privileged race is crazy hard.”

      Why is it hard to talk to kids who “are not of the white priveleged race?” I take exception to your comment because my daughter is an Asian/White mix, and she has no difficulty understanding anything. My nieces and nephews are mixed-race Asian, Black, White, and none of them have trouble understanding.

      Were you saying that “White Privelege” prevents white kids from understanding?

      Maralee is absolutely correct. Parents, talk to your kids and let them know what is going on out there because, if a person is good enough to be your friend, to date your daughter, to visit your house, etc., then that person is good enough to defend/stand beside when things go wrong.

      • Gerald you need to reread what you just commented on. And stop trying to be holier than thou. Race issues are complex, as is sexism and oppression, all of these conversations are difficult with all children. And the conversations can be different for different children depending on their skin color/appearance. Your attitude and haughtiness does not help or contribute to the conversation. Check it!

        • Personally thought Gerald’s comment was spot on so perhaps you should do the rereading. He was responding to what came across as a very racist attitude whether intentional or not!

          • What in the world is racist (intentional or not) about saying a topic is challenging to discuss with your child? What parent thinks it’s easy to tell their child- a child who has thus far been loved and sheltered and sees the world through bright and innocent eyes- that the world can actually be horrible and dangerous, that there are hateful people who could hurt them, that people much like them- even small children- have been hurt and killed, that they will be unfairly judged for no fault of their own, etc etc. This is a necessary, ongoing conversation, but it should not be an “easy” one because then the parent is denying the true nature of this information, the child’s inner experience, and the child’s outer experience.

          • Whether you’re White or Black, talking to a black child about race and how it will affect them is exceptionally hard. Being a Black mother, I have been on both ends of that conversation and it wasn’t easy for anyone; not for me, my son, nor my parents.

            It’s not easy because what you’re essentially telling your child is that world doesn’t think as much of you as it does those with fairer skins. Ya think that’s an easy conversation? Then you clearly haven’t been part of that kind of talk.

      • She didn’t say anything about kids not being able to understand. She said it was hard to talk to them about it. As a mom I figure it has to be gut wrenching to have to tell your kids that some of the world hates them just for the color of their skin. To have to teach them that they must be absolutely above reproach at all times because their LIVES may depend on it. To be the person who, for their child’s own safety, must take away some of their innocence. To try to teach them to be aware that others may hate them, while keeping them from internalizing that hate. To try to teach them to be optimistic and positive about their lives and their futures in the face of so much darkness and rage and violence. Hard doesn’t even begin to cover all that.

        • I don’t understand how the evil treatment of a selected group of people is a hard topic to discuss with children. It’s the tap dancing around the subject and making excuses for privilege that makes them think we are hiding the truth. Until racism stops being big business, as well as a perpetuated lie of privilege to a select few, this ignorance will continue to destroy us collectively.

          • One of the problem is the simple fact that you said “I don’t understand why the evil treatment of a selected group of people is a hard topic to discuss with children”. REALLY!

          • Then you don’t understand the concept of vulnerability. For her to say it’s hard meaning she gives it a lot of thought, carefully considers her words and takes society and her family into account is brilliant. To the commenters who keep acting lofty and over the top superior, get a grip. Telling families how can you say it’s hard you should be able to plow through this with guns blazing in a concrete way with no insight, is silly.

          • If that child is of the selected group that is treated unfairly it is very hard. It is hard to take away a child’s innocence by telling them that they are viewed as less than others simply because of the color of their skin. This can be damaging to the child’s sense of self worth.

          • Mary, talking about race and privilege is still difficult– even more so when trying to protect and explain it to a child. Privilege is about the hidden advantages one group of people have given them that other groups of people will never enjoy. The only way– and I do mean only way– to combat privilege is for someone who enjoys it to stop using it. It is for someone with privilege to empower others without it. For them to spread their privilege to others who don’t enjoy it. Once many practice it, we’ll all then be able to see how ridiculous it is to treat some people in special ways and not others. That’s privilege and that’s what is hard to explain to a kid– to explain it without promoting hate.

      • Gerald, I believe Kimberly was referencing the difficulty in explaining to a child of color how the world differs for them from their white siblings or parents. My family is not transracial and I find it difficult to explain to my daughters and nephews how the world is different for them compared to their classmates. For the past four years, my youngest daughter has been the only black girl in her class and she has experienced a great deal in that time.

        Each time there is an incident–and there have been many–I have had to talk to her once again about what it really means to be black in this country and how that differs from her classmates. It is horrible and I know I’m robbing her of the innocence that her classmates have the privilege to hold onto, but it is necessary. So, please, give some consideration to what she is saying. Kimberly is going through the same frustrations many of us are going through in educating our children to survive this world.

        • I’m sorry but telling your child that a race is privileged based on their color and events that happened in the past is being racist. The ignorance to assume, because someone is white, they are privileged keeps children thinking they are less then someone else. People need to leave the past in the past and acknowledge that most of the hate in this country is by ignorant individuals and not an entire race of people. Not every single incident between a black and white person is racially motivated. I would dare say the majority of interactions have nothing to do with race.

          • TLT, you need only see what is happening today in Oregon with the take over of a government building by self-described militia people to clearly understand what is being discussed here. I guarantee you that had the Black Lives Matter people taken over a government building, the response from law enforcement, media and the general public would have been very, very different.

            “white privilege” does not refer to being wealthy or without life problems. It has to do with the FACT that people tend to hold assumptions and preconceived ideas based upon the color of someone’s skin.

            If you don’t agree that racism still exists here, then you haven’t been watching the people running for president and their supporters. With the advent of candidates like The Donald and Ted Cruz, racism has once again confidently come out of the shadows.

            I am a white mother of two sons and cannot even fathom what it’s like fearing for their safety every time they leave their homes. But that’s the reality of every black parent, regardless of their economic status. Black lawyers, doctors, businessmen have faced racism in the workplace and have been stopped by cops for driving what is deemed a car above their life status.

            It’s 2016 and this country is still roiling with racism. It’s going to take all of us to finally put an end to it. That’s why this letter resonates…it’s all our responsibility to identify racist behavior and call out the perpetrators.

          • You’re an idiot. Literally. Wake up from your delusion. Just because you desire to stick your head in the sand and pretend racism is in the long distance past (like how My Mom, who is 60, couldn’t officially vote everywhere in the US until she was 10) doesn’t make it so. I’m so happy you live in a world where you’re unaffected by racism. Guess what that is? WHITE PRIVILEGE. It doesn’t mean you have more money than all black people, or a better education – (you sound extremely uneducated about reality). It means certain things won’t happen to you because you’re white that will happen to people of color, like racial discrimination. Get a clue.

          • Telling your child that a race is privileged based on their color and events that happened in the past is being realistic. If children (and evidently some adults) do not understand and face the reality of institutionalized, internalized, and personally-mediated racism and its influence on the very fabric of this nation, it will never end and it will continue to be a destructive force. Of course, not all white people are individually racist, but if you take an honest look at America, you will be able to see that white people directly and indirectly benefit from racism, historically and currently. That’s the point of racism.

            Racism is not just attitudes of “I don’t like you”; it is deliberate laws and practices that instituted and maintained residential segregation that created inferior schools, environmental health hazards, business and economic disparities, etc.
            Individual incidents and situations are not the problem, the profitable INSTITUTION of racism is. Playing the childhood game of closing your eyes and thinking nobody can see you does not erase the very real existence and power of present (NOT PAST) racism in this country.

          • @TLT as a person of color I can attest to the fact that certain races is privileged based on their color. I do not think you understand what white privilege is or the fact that it is very real and pervasive. Your leave the past in the past statement is analogous to sweeping a pile of dirt under your rug and pretending you cant see it and its not there. Just because a individual is well meaning does not mean they are not part of a system that favors and promotes one thing over another often times not even consciously. I can give you innumerous examples of this. You can say that the majority of interactions have nothing to do with race, I can not because in the back of my mind and in the front of my conscious my race is ever present. You have probably never been pulled over for doing 67 in a 65. I have and as a black woman I wondered was it because of my race. When they brought out the drug sniffing dog to smell my care I knew it was because of my race. It is privilege that allows you to say the above without consideration of what people of color go through.

          • You are crazy blind my friend. White provelage is alive & real & it’s important to be real with your children & loved ones on how to deal with it. Your not telling them that they are less or better because they are white or not white. Your being realistic with them. Had Tamir Rice been a little white boy & not a little black boy, he would still be alive. That’s white privelage. Had Sandra bland been a white woman & not a black woman, she would still be alive. That is white privelage. This lady is on the right track. & the best place to talk about the unfairness of white privelage is in homes of little white children so that this ridiculousness can dissipate over the next generation

          • If it saves my black child ‘s life, than its worth it to me.

          • TLT I agree with you to a point. The privilege comes from the systematic racism that is alive and raging right here right now in the good old USA. It is not the majority of individuals in any race that is perpetuating the problem.

          • TLT, you are very wrong about race when the institutions we use, the policies we enact, all come from a dominant, white, racist perspective. Remember slavery? Think hard about it: who gets the resources today, who gets the money, what group gets to speak? Many of these decisions come from two centuries of white privilege that deniy the same benefits to those of minorities. Meaning, it’s not just stuff to be left in the past; it’s stuff from the past that is still operating today and hurting millions of American minorities. Privilege (white privilege) is about starting many steps ahead based on your skin color. Anglos (even poor Anglos) have many advantages given to them simply because they are white. These are unearned and mostly are unconscious. It’s the black man and the white man in a department store. One can count on being followed by security and one cannot. Privilege is about advantages given based on skin color, appearance, power, social status and even gender.

          • Abby G. Burton (above, under TLT’s comment). Thank you for your wise words. You really put privilege in perspective for those who don’t recognize or understand it yet. I think TLT (and others) will benefit from reading your post. And, you did it without hate.

            I, too, cannot imagine what it must be like to be a black parent in America these days, to have that talk with my kids. I know that they do, though, because black lives matter and they’re only trying to get their kids home safe after they go to school, to the park, to the store, to a friend’s house…

            My sister and I, as “privileged” white kids never had to go through anything like this. We never had experiences where racism was involved. But, we were definitely taught not to treat others as inferior from ourselves, not to make an incident for them to remember their whole lives, not to believe we were any better than anyone else. We were cautious with the new people/kids we met, but we were taught to treat them as equals and how we would want to be treated.

            When we approach someone new who looks different, we basically only have three choices in our interactions with them: as our superior, as our inferior or as our equal. We (and you) choose the later every time.

          • TLT, true not every interaction between a white and black person is racially motivated. I’ll give you that. But, racism is not only perpetuated by ignorant people. It is also empowered by the systems we live in– our schools, our churches, our government, our families. These social institutions (or forces) enact their narrow agendas upon all people the same, you could say. Problem is, all people aren’t white and most people are left out. Most institutions are run by Anglos, so their message is to and for Anglos. That’s a form of privilege; they don’t have to include other people or another viewpoint simply because they are the ones in power, calling the shots.

            Racism, fundamentally, is about ignorance. But, it is also about privilege (racial, gender, sexual, financial…) and power. Who has it and who doesn’t. It’s not about numbers of people so much as what the few are able to do to the rest of us who are not in powerful positions. Racism is about power, see. It’s about dominance and creating “others” to crap on to in order to remain in power.

          • Denyce (above, part of TLT’s thread), you express what racism is so well for TLT. I tried, but I wasn’t as eloquent as you. Wish I could speak more with you; you have a great head on your shoulders. If you ever see this, please, write me at djohnsongrover at yahoo.com. Would love to converse with you and learn more about your unique insight. –Douglas J.

          • Kristal, you understand. We’re studying privilege and race (again) in our social work grad courses here at Highlands and it’s still fascinating. What is more fascinating is how many people just don’t know what privilege is. Mary, above, does, like you. What’s even more disturbing is though we have a large African American student population in a predominantly Hispanic community (65%), there are no black students in our class representing some of the things we’re reading and discussing. What’s even more fascinating is that though the seven of us (in a class of 24) who are white (3 men), we don’t feel threatened being a minority. Guess that’s privilege, too. Most are women, too, so maybe we whites are just unconsciously recognizing that we’d better not assert our “dominance” in such a setting or all the Latinas will kill us. Maybe that’s what’s going on.

            I really enjoyed your post and perspective and would like to write to you more and talk with you about other topics like Trump and politics, your perspective on immigration issues, etc. You’re someone I’d like to learn from. If you ever read this, please, feel free to write me (Douglas) at djohnsongrover at yahoo dot com. Hope to hear from you.

          • Kristal, ooops; I meant to say Abby (not Mary) above understands like you. Sorry. My mistake.

          • TLT You clearly need to define the word racist, because you obviously have NO IDEA what it means. And it’s easy for you to say people need to leave events in the past, because it’s not happening to you. You don’t have to deal with it EVERY SINGLE DAY, like people of color. So it’s easy for you to ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening anymore. Having white skin has afforded you the privilege of not having to worry about racism. People of color would love to leave racism and bigotry in the past, but how can we under a white supremacist system.? How can we, when we are living with systemic racism everyday? And you need a lesson on what white privilege is as well. White privilege means white skin ONLY! White people have certain privilege just because you have white skin, that people of color do not have. White privilege has nothing to do with economic status. It has to do with the benefits you have just for having white skin. You may not like to be responsible for what your white ancestors did in the past, but because you have white skin, you have benefited from it. Amerikkka runs on the system of white supremacy, so imagine how people of color feel living under a system that was designed for WHITES ONLY, and for the betterment of WHITE lives only? People of color are not racist, because racism is a system and structure of power that keeps people of color oppressed. People of color are not in power, so therefore we cannot be racist. And people of color already know that ALL white people aren’t racist bigots, so NO NEED to say that to us. Don’t be so defensive and fragile. But I find it interesting how so many white people in this country like to say how unfair it is, to be blamed for what others did in their race, yet white people in this country have been blaming the entire race of Black people and other people of color, for what some have done in their race, for centuries. Hypocrite! And YES white people are privileged in Amerikka, in the past up to present because of their white skin, because the system is structured for white supremacy. You’re in denial if you deny the system and that things in this country are VERY different for white people and people of color. And who said ALL interactions between white people and people are color are racially motivated? You sound VERY defensive! And it is people like you, who are the problem with Amerikkka. You’re so defensive, that you protect your white privilege, deny that the system is flawed, but in white skin favor, and allow white supremacy and systemic racism to continue. You may not be an overt bigot, but your denial of the system and who it’s designed for, makes you part of the problem. And guess what? White supremacy and a white supremacist system, means in fact, that if you have WHITE skin, you are BETTER then everyone else. That’s what it means. So children of color need to be taught what that system means for them. And if you don’t like living under a white supremacist system, and systemic racism, if you don’t want people of color to feel less then white people, and you disagree with that theory. If you think the system is unfair, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT DISMANTLING IT. Get out of your denial about the structure of a system built under white supremacy, for WHITE SKIN ONLY, were white skin means privilege. You are in DENIAL. And it is white people like you, who are in denial, that has kept white supremacy, and systemic racism, going for as long as it has.

            RE: Your post. TLT
            January 3, 2016 at 3:17 pm

            I’m sorry but telling your child that a race is privileged based on their color and events that happened in the past is being racist. The ignorance to assume, because someone is white, they are privileged keeps children thinking they are less then someone else. People need to leave the past in the past and acknowledge that most of the hate in this country is by ignorant individuals and not an entire race of people. Not every single incident between a black and white person is racially motivated. I would dare say the majority of interactions have nothing to do with race

          • TLT I don’t understand the view of everyone who is white being privileged either. It seems, according to one response, that if a person is not black, they are already racist and can’t be seen as anything but white. I’m white, but I’m a lot more than white. There are people mistreated on a regular basis and they are not one color. I have had friends who are black, but they don’t spend most of their time talking about white privilege. They are good people who just see me as a friend. Most everyone has been mistreated at times. I had a black girl in high school who bullied me on a regular basis and she even got physical. That did not make me have an overall bias against people who are black. I don’t know if the people who have such disgust for white people, live in areas where they are only with other people of the same race and just don’t want to know all the white people in other areas, especially in the middle of the country. I just don’t get the hate, only because someone is not your race.

          • No one is saying that you need to tell your children that all white people hate them. What they are saying is to have a conversation with your children about a view that exists. When we moved to a predominantly white neighborhood my mother sat me down and told me the truth. That is that there are people with and without influence that despise people of color. She never told me to hate white people or blame them for things that happen to me, however, when I was chased up the street being called a nigger is this very “progressive” town I found her words to be true. My best and only real friends happen to be white or mixed. I don’t believe all white people are bad, but when my white girlfriend yelled at the police, and approached them aggressively while we were walking and I was being harassed she was not arrested, instead she was told to calm down so they could continue to question me for walking down the street. Or when we were pulled over coming from the grocery store and I was given a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt while wearing a seatbelt and none of my white friends, not even the driver was asked to present identification. They specifically told me to give them if sitting in the middle seat between 2 white males and 2 white females in the front. When I was pulled over while speaking to my mother through the car speakers handcuffed and put on the corner for allegedly throwing a gun out of my vehicle in the cold. I then waited for a k9 to come and when they found nothing I was able to go home. I have never been rude to authority, spoken back, or behaved truculently. I have repeatedly been targeted by law enforcement while surrounded by others of fairer actually participating in illegal activity. I’m not saying privilege needs to be fought, but don’t be upset if I share my experiences as a black man with my black sons and daughters. I was lucky enough to have privileged friends that stood up for me when I was unfairly targeted around them, get me help when I was wrongly accused, and do everything in their power to help me. Even if you don’t see racism in your everyday life it does not allow to belittle the experience of others.

      • Yes, Mr. Wade, I think you totally misunderstood Ms. Zimmerman. I, too, took it to mean that she finds it difficult to have those type of uncomfortable conversations with innocent children who don’t yet know about these things.

        • I took it to mean that even though they see their children as the same (even though they may look different racially), they have to have different difficult conversations with their children based on their race. How painful it must be to love your children equally no matter what & still have to treat them differently based on how they appear to society. I think this article has excellent advice though. Have the same conversation with all of your children. The white children need to know, understand, and step up to support/protect/love their friends & siblings for our world to change into a safe place.

          • Having to learn about racism still existing in this country instead of experiencing it firsthand is a privilege.

            And it is difficult discussing things like racism and systemic oppression with your children if they are a different race than you. I’m white. My 13 year old is multi racial and my 6 year old twins are white. My oldest has resentment because of racism she has already faced and the fact that me and the twins don’t have those same problems.

            It’s difficult, because as a white woman I can’t teach her what it means to be black in America from a perspective that has experienced it. I can’t fully understand how it feels and she can’t explain how it feels either.

            It’s difficult, because as a white woman I don’t know how to navigate a system that is wired to see me fail. The same things that have brought me success will not be good enough for her to achieve the same level of success unless she works harder than I did.

            It’s difficult, because sometimes I am guilty of saying racially insensitive things without meaning to or even realizing it. Things that a black stranger may not even be offended by, but a child of my own blood takes to heart because the people you love can hurt you more than any stranger ever could.

            Does that mean I stop having these conversations? No, not at all. It means that her and I are both learning and we have an ongoing dialogue that I hope will help her express herself and speak out on injustice in an educated manner. It means that we don’t just spout rhetoric and we actually seek out research and documentation that supports the things we discuss.

            Most of all it means that she isn’t afraid to speak out and that she is prepared for what she will face as she becomes an adult.

          • Good message, Sarah. Teach the same, nip the self-serving cycle in the bud. Really good suggestion for Mr. Wade and for Ms. Zimmerman.

          • Kristina, I’m so glad you’ve taught your daughter to be confident in speaking up, questioning things, talking things out. That’s great and healthy. If I were a parent, I don’t know that I’d be that smart.

            A couple good things you might consider, if you already haven’t: First, show the post you wrote above to your daughter. When she reads it, she’s going to love you even more and understand more how difficult this is doing all this on your own. She’ll understand how hard you’re trying, how hard you want to help and how willing you are to listen.

            Secondly, you are not all alone in trying to help your daughter deal with discrimination and racism from her perspective. Best thing you might could do is to go find a social worker to speak of these things to, either by yourself or with your daughter. A couple, three sessions of understanding her historical perspective and the forces working on her will benefit you both, imho, and will be worth the expense and hassle.

            It’s nice to hear that Moms and daughters somehow still talk to one another and work things out.

      • Thank you, Gerald! Agree!
        I am close to 3 families with multiracial children along with white children. All the children are taught the same thing! Take responsibility for your actions, stand up for your siblings, and be yourself. They are not taught different things based upon their skin color.
        Yes, I know one family is judged by the parents 🙁
        “Those are so and so’s kids, don’t be around them!” Poor kids don’t even get a chance. That’s why I try and teach mine to “play with everybody and try to be friends”
        BTW my 3 kids are white so I don’t know the exact struggle but my middle daughter’s best friend since pre k is a little black boy. Yes, I have gotten some “conserned” comments, but I don’t see the problem as long as she is happy

      • I think she was just saying that it’s a tough but necessary conversation to have as a loving parent. To explain to children that others may see you differently and judge you based on your race. I sincerely did not understand her to mean that any of her children have more difficulty in understanding due to their race.

      • I am white and am not from a privileged race. I was raised with all races. And proud to say I was. Hate is taught not inherited. I am proud to say, I am a mother of three. My children were taught never to look down on anyone. And to treat others like they want to be treated. This however has been inherited threw three generations now. Myself, my daughters and my grand children. We value the flavor of many people, race, creeds and colors. That is what we should teach our children. Because simply put we are all people of color.

        • Whether we teach our children to be tolerant or not does not change the fact that white people, even poor white people, are the greatest benefactors of privilege in our country (and, quite often, the greater world).
          Check out this video to help you understand:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_hx30zOi9I

          • OMG….. I see Victims….. I see victims everywhere…… 🙁

          • We keep talking about “white privilege”. Where I live, my white children are the minority in the school they attend. And all i can say is that they don’t get free lunches, free healthcare, subsidized housing, or the household groceries paid for.

            There is much to be said about black privilege too.

          • Amber, I went to a majority white school and the majority of the kids who received free lunch were white!! Who knew?!! What you said was very racist and also ill informed. You are a part of the problem!

          • Good job, Goodarticle. Now I don’t have to reply to Karen’s first line. ‘I am white and am not from a privileged race.’ OMG! The things I want to write her.

        • Karen, you sound very lucky to have been raised with the attitudes and openness you describe. I believe if you look further into the concept of white privilege you’ll see it has much more to do with the structure of society and with unconscious biases than with believing it is right to hate or to feel superior to other people. I think with your obvious commitment to the golden rule your example will become even more powerful as you help bring the world to fuller justice. Even though we are in a certain way “all the same,” Maralee is imploring us to recognize that no matter how she teaches her son he is at least as good as everyone else, that is not enough to protect him from the way he may be judged by larger society, even people who consciously abhor hate. I invite you to read a brief, classic work on white privilege that I think you’ll understand immediately. http://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack

          • Matt – such a well said response to Karen’s!

          • Good job, Matt. Good post, good suggestion, good tone. Good writing, too!

          • It is true, I am white. Never have I felt superior to another. Never have I felt that my color has afforded me privilege. Of course, being from Idaho, seeing a black person is an event. Yeh! We have a black family in our neighborhood. Like most Idahoans, I was incredibly happy when the White Skin heads were run out of Northern Idaho. I am finding it very difficult to understand why many of the black population will not even consider that the black men who died were in the wrong. Not even consider that they caused their own death. Do you not know what you are telling me? That a Black life is more important than the cops life. That a black man/woman should have special privileges and not obey the law of the land. Do I believe that the fault is with the cops? Maybe. If so, I hope they go to jail for the rest of their lives. I believe that we are all human, and that all humans make mistakes and should be held accountable for those mistakes. Not just the white humans.

        • Just being White makes you privileged! Difficult concept for many to understand. Read the works of Tim Wise and articles called White privilege; might help your understanding.

          • White privilege exists. But so does black privilege.

            In today’s world whites are discriminated against all the time. For example, a club in Utah hosted multiple ethnic groups (black pride, etc.). So a “white pride” group started and got squashed for being racist, of course. Every race but the whites are encouraged to feel a sense of pride in their heritage. Instead, whites are expected to hang their heads and shame themselves for the color of their skin because of their crimes of their ancestors.

            Additionally, affirmative action is all about allowing any minority to rise above the white man based on skin color (or gender). So, no matter how hard a white boy studies to get good scores, a school will pick the colored boy regardless of whether his scores are low. Who’s privileged there?

            Not to mention the free lunches, free healthcare, subsidized housing, free iphones, free food (food stamps)…which ethnic group is benefiting from these the most?

            But, maybe white privilege is that we keep the blacks unskilled, ignorant, short-tempered & violent, and consumed with meaningless, superficial nonsense by giving them so much and not expecting anything in return. In that case, blame the government.

          • Amber- everyday is “white pride”. It is ridiculous that we are hurt over ONE day labeled “black pride”.
            Human struggles are real and they know no skin color, but being white affords us a lever of security in our struggles that being a darker color does not. Educate yourself: “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, “White Like Me”, “Teaching to Transgress”.

          • To Amber: Darling, food stamps, welfare, etc. are given based on need, not race, not religion, not even immigrant status. BTW, more white people are on food stamps than black people (in actual numbers, not per capita)…. most employees of Wal-Mart, anyone with a minimum wage job and kids, 40% of America. African Americans only make up about 14% of America…. Welfare isn’t a privilege, dear. It’s a way to stay alive until things get a little better. It’s survival for many.

            And, affirmative action isn’t about raising a person of color over a person of Anglo decent. It’s about opening doors that have traditionally be held closed for anyone not white. Unfairness and hurt prospects do tend to happen with affirmative action, but it levels the playing field of privilege and allows those who worked just as hard to be recognized and legally to be hired/admitted. Without it, white employers would only hire white employees, white colleges would only admit white students forever, adnosium. With it, diversity is given a chance. True, it’s at the expense of some white prospects, but, realistically, though, white folk have many other opportunities they can apply for if they don’t get selected.

            See? There’s no such thing as black privilege because needing assistance is not a privilege– it’s a hardship.

        • Your first line is oxymoronic. This so-called white skin is given privilege in this society, regardless of your enlightened raising, that skin of color is not. Your sentiment is admirable and to be encouraged. Unfortunately, a legacy of racism and white privilege still grants you more better rights than enjoyed by others.

          • CG,
            The race card is the most powerful privilege of all. It trumps all reason and logic. It is a card that whites do not have to play. Do something wrong or stupid? Something not going your way? It must be racism. Play the race card! There isn’t a penalty for using it inappropriately. Also, while we are at it we can have the NAACP, UNCF, Legion of Black Collegians, BET, etc.. which are legal racist institutions that if an equivalent white organization were created there would be rioting, looting, and cries of injustice everywhere. But somehow the rules of discrimination do not apply if you are not white.
            That is real privilege. The mostly ficticious grievances brought about by race baiters are perceptions, not reality.

          • To Amber –

            Subsidized housing, free lunch, food stamps, all kinds of government assistance are available to all people who qualify for it, there is no racial requirement for any of those things. If you are within the income bracket to need those kind of things, then you are allowed to get them. Black people don’t get first pick at food stamps or subsidized housing or anything else. It all has to do with first come, first serve. I went to all white schools for the majority of my life, and when I say all white, I mean I was literally one of maybe five black people in the entire school. & I saw plenty of kids that got free lunch.

            As for affirmative action, affirmative action was not made to help people of color “rise above” white people, it was put in place to ensure that people of color are given the same opportunities that white people get. Because in many cases, people of color do not have the same opportunities that white people get. They are unfortunately not given access to the same opportunities and resources that many white people have access to and, even when they are, many schools and workplaces will take “Ken” over “Kentavius”, even if they are both equally qualified. That is not to say the system does not have its flaws, it certainly does, but we as a country are still making up for DECADES of putting people of color in second place to white people.

            Oh, and as an aside, I have never seen the government give away free iPhones. Yes there is a free cell phone service where you get, I think, 500 minutes free the first month and 300 minutes free the months after that. But that is designed to be an emergency phone for people who cannot otherwise afford them and is available to everyone regardless of skin color and the phone that you get is just some basic little flip phone, not even a smartphone.

        • I also taught my children to be friends with all children regardless of color. They were raised completely nonracial. I am proud to say that lesson has stuck with them throughout their lives.

          • I think this President could’ve made a big difference in this country as far as the racial tensions that exist,but he chose the other route and set it back by I’d say 50 years.He could’ve instilled a legacy that would’ve I believe showed the Black community that you can do anything in life if you set the goal and go for it.I also think that a family needs both parents(in all colors) to take the responsibility of raising that child by example for them so they can raise above all obstacles that life hands them.(Children do learn what they live) . As I was reading the article my heart sank as I have bi racial greats and it opened my eyes to what these children have to look forward to.All I can say is I hope that all parents lead by example and that society starts healing in all colors.

        • Do you teach them that every single movie that depicts white as good and black is bad is an unfair teaching? I ask my daughter and her friends who they think the bad guy is and guess what they say: “The black One” the “dark One” etc… then i explain that someone decided to draw it that way, they picked actors (and scripts say specifically “the hispanic, the black etc..” That those are the results of thousands of decisions made by guess who! White male (mostly) executives that perpetuate racism. Same with our school books. Our history. Etc…. Then we talk about how bad and good are NOT what people look like. Unfortunately you can not say that because you showed love they were not influenced because you are not their only influence. Dissecting. Analytical thought. The thousands of micro aggressions that you don’t see add up to anxiety, depression and failure to thrive (in some) who can’t see that it is not them but a system that places them into this position. Your kids need to know this information. Otherwise they are blind. And will very “innocently” claim that if people just went to school, tried harder, didn’t do this or that they’d succeed too! They’d lack any understanding of why it is so hard to succeed if you are a human with brown skin. They’d not understand that police REALLY DO shoot at brown skin young men without questions and then say “oops” (because they were taught black is bad guy too”. They’d say these empty words – with full conviction and totally blind to the walls, the pit falls, the neglect, the unfair moments over and over where the little brown kids weren’t picked as a friend, or to be on a team, or to get the benefit of a doubt from a teacher, an officer, a neighbour… and they’d be completely blind.

          • Wow, I have never ever been exposed to this perspective and viewed the issue in such a way. I appreciate you sharing your opinion. I can tell that it is written with love by someone who cares deeply about helping others and even though you may have every reason to harbor bitterness or anger those emotions will never bring understanding or unity.

        • Beautiful

        • I am white and we ARE from a privileged race. We are from the race which was given home loans after WWII, while other races were not. We are from the race that had access to college education through the GI Bill, while other races did not. We are from the race that STILL has greater access to jobs, powerful positions in corporate and civic America, and who is not asked for our birth certificates when we are elected president. Saying that we have white privilege does not mean we (and the generations before and after us) have not worked hard, did not get everything we wanted in life, or that we’re rich. Saying that we have privilege acknowledges that we understand our country was created by and for white, property-owning men, and that there have been advantages made available to those who are white that were NOT equally available to people of color. White privilege is a reality, not a judgment. Knowing how to use our privilege responsibly to make the world more equitable is the best thing we can do with it.

          • Thanks for this acknowledgement. It’s people like you that give me hope. Unfortunately, we have so much work to do. This message thread confirms it. Kudos to amusingmaralee for starting this discourse.

          • Ahh yes, WWII…Almost forgot about that “white” race that went off with a small minority of black soldiers into the viper dens of the Pacific Islands to fight and DIE, and be MAIMED, and go BLIND against fascistic Japanese Imperial Soldiers who raped and killed millions of women across Asia.

            The GI Bill was exactly for those soldiers who, with all of their privilege, fought and died at the hands of NAZI murderers, those who destroyed cultures while raping and gassing generations of people…

            Look at the composition of nearly ALL Western countries’ graduating medical, dental, accounting, law and other professional school classes, and you will understand that things have changed. Look at all of the affirmative action programs, preferential hiring practices that are SYSTEMIC, and you will begin to understand that people of color have MANY advantages over white folk (what a silly term, “people of color” – there are actually no “white” or “black” people, those are ungrounded categories that we have abstracted in our minds – but that’s for a whole other discussion).

            Look at the tidal waves of Asian immigration and you will begin to understand that being Chinese or Korean affords many privileges, such as language skills, ethnic and business ties that span the entire globe, connecting these individuals and communities with some of the most powerful countries on earth. Same goes for Indians, Arabs, Persians and to a lesser extent, Africans.

            Look at the number of CEO’s, chancellors of universities and law schools, journalists and government officials who are not white or male, and you will see that things have changed and will continue to change.
            Let it go – you’re beating a war drum which allows for the lower elements of a culture to assume victimhood status while everyone is distracted – big mistake.

            You’re enabling the “thugs” to steal the show from those people who believe they can change their lot. Beware of the victim – he will show you your guilt and rule through his childish Id…but I guess you are averse to the heteronormative assumptions behind the notion of the “Id”…

      • Oh god, they were obviously referring to the fact that it’s hard to have to explain to some of their children that the way they are precieved is different than the way their white siblings are precieved. She in no way was referring to the children as dumb or something….

        • Yes, and I imagine it’s also hard to get the white children, who see the black child as their sibling to understand that the world might not see it that way. It’s hard because you love both children and because it is terribly unfair and we all wish that our children could be spared knowing awful truths, but it is necessary. White privilege is never having to make that decision, but white privilege will always be a life threatening problem to people of color unless white parents do make that choice. Those of us with non-white children need you to understand that teaching your children to be color-blind is not helpful to the safety of our children. And it is a hard choice for everyone to make. Who wouldn’t want their child to think that the world is a wonderful place filled with love and understanding? It would be much, much better for everyone if that were a true reflection of the world. At this point in time it is not.

      • I read Kim’s comment as it’s crazy hard to tell talk to the non-white about how xyz will affect him, but your white brother won’t have to deal with that. Or how your white brother can do the same exact behavior with a different outcome and you, the non white brother, can really not depend on fairness.

      • I agree whole-heartedly. This is a personal issue and you used racism to argue that racism exists? Check your language and your anecdotes; all Caucasian people do not think/act/speak like this.

      • Gerald Wade – FYI – just because your mixed race children don’t have trouble understanding certain racial topics and that conversations about race are easy for you/them does not mean that it should be easy for all people’s children. My family is trans-racial. My Asian daughter who is now in college finds any kind of injustice infuriating. She has a lot of rage against racism and racist and sexist behavior that she witnesses in the big melting pot of New York City. So conversations about why a black female police officer might not treat her the same way that she treats a white woman leave my daughter infuriated at the injustice of it all.

        People need to realize that every person has their own level understanding and emotional response. Don’t deny what others feels. It does not promote change.

      • I think she was just saying it’s crazy hard to have to have these conversations with your kids because you shouldn’t have to expose them to these adult issues at such a tender young age. Not that they won’t understand, but because it’s hard to show them the ugly parts of the world.

      • I took it as it being difficult to tell a child that they may be discriminated against because of their skin color, not that they understand less than white kids do.

      • Gerald, I’m positive that what Kimberly meant was that the conversations she has to have with her non-white children are difficult. She wasn’t saying anything about the children’s ability to understand the conversation, just that it’s a hard conversation to have.

      • Wow Gerald it must be so nice to have reached race enlightenment so you can chide and attack people for trying their best to be vulnerable and keep open dialogue going. The funny part is you didn’t even understand her comment and you twisted it. Check your anger. You have a daughter to raise.

      • “having conversations … is crazy hard”.
        To me this appeared as since the subject of the conversations is hard to deal with and emotional for the parents. Because they’ve raised kids as if race does not matter, but because doing so the kids might be unaware of that other people might be racists. Talking to kids about other people being racists is hard because it is emotional because the kids immediately get that racists are being unfair. That is the hard part. Not at all that the children won’t understand the conversation. I don’t think she ever implied that the kids not understanding the conversation is the hard part.
        Suggesting that she meant there would be differences in understanding of the kids of different color could seem racist to some people.

      • I think she meant it was hard in her, and yes it maybe, but we have to get uncomfortable.

      • I think Kimberlee Zimmerman might mean it is hard, as a parent, to tell a child they will be judged unfairly by the color of their skin. . It would be hard to say that to half of your kids and have them ask why the others won’t be discriminated against the same way. That is how I interpreted it.

      • Don’t ever let someone try and make
        You feel guilty for being born white. I proud my parents taught me a great work ethic, and respect for all humans. Mostly they taught me that if you don’t get off you tail and make something of yourself it dont matter what color you are you’ll be a failure.and thank you to all the white people who volunteer for food banks and mentoring of youth who have no positive role models in their lives. quit making excuses for the criminals and gang bangers and start realizing that you are judged by the context of your character not by the color of your skin.

      • I don’t know that she meant is was hard in the sense that the children wouldn’t understand, but hard in the sense of telling your children of color that they don’t have the same privilege their white siblings or white parent has. That seems very hard.

    • Kimberly, my sentiments exactly!!! Beautifully stated!

    • Hi there,
      With all due respect, I think you should use the term multiracial family. When I read “trans” it sounded like you’ve gone from one race to another. Even though one can’t actually change their genetics (yet) and that race is a social construct.

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart and story. Love this kind of open and truthful way of expressing what you have to do to raise your son. As mothers we have to do anything and everything to raise kind and compassionate, yet strong and proud young men. You are doing a great job! God Bless you!

  5. Thank you for your message. I appreciate hearing your viewpoint and will think it through carefully. In today’s society it is difficult to raise a boy to be a man. It has always been difficult to teach when anyone should walk away from a fight and when they must stand up for themselves. And…it is difficult to teach a person to show respect to anyone who clearly does not respect them. I have been struggling to understand racism–and trying to understand both sides. I have been stunned to be treated with the assumption that I must be racist because I live in the south and am white. And, I have been stunned to be treated by some people of color with derision and disrespect because I am white. I am sickened when I hear some of the trash talk about people of color (and have been disrespected because I say immediately that it is wrong) One problem that I see, is that dancing around trying hard to not say the wrong thing can cause more misunderstanding than speaking plainly. I think all of us need to be a little slower to take offense. We need to listen to one another, with intent to understand, and for goodness sake we need to stop assigning titles like: trailer trash, etc to other people.

    • Unfortunately, for black kids, it’s not about not taking offense. It’s about not taking police bullets.

      • Completely uncalled for. Your comment perpetuates the idea that all police officers are out to get people of color. I have many friends who are police officers, one being white with a black wife. Blanket labeling doesn’t help the situation.

        • Have you been living under a rock? I ask that because there are literally dozens of innocent black children who have been killed by bullets at the hands of police in the past few years alone. What’s more, most of the police have faced ZERO punishment for their excessive and deadly use of force on CHILDREN. As a teacher, I am justifiably fearful for the lives of the innocent black children in my classes.

          When wearing a sweatshirt that has a hood while walking home from buying your little sister candy at the nearby store is used as an acceptable reason to be shot by a grown man, then I think Ian Osmand’s comment stands as absolutely spot on.

          • Actually, there were more white people killed by law enforcement in 2015 than any other race. That information is easily accessible on many website. Also, the majority of all people killed by police (all races) were men by a huge margin.

        • True. I don’t think cops wake up and say let’s target ppl of color but it’s not a stretch to say due to policies enforced ppl of color are on the receiving end treatment, brutality, etc.

          • No those officer’s that are being racist don’t wake up and say let’s target people of color they went to sleep that way and live their lives that way.

    • I love your response. I could not have said it better myself.

    • Very well said. I completely agree with everything you said. I also grew up as a white kid in the south, and I saw tons of Racism…by black people against me. It goes both ways and both ways are wrong.

      • Too true. My kids were high achieving white children in a mixed race town where the public schools were underachieving and so any family who could afford to, understandably put their children in private schools where they could learn without worrying about violence, gangs and kids and staff who just didn’t care. Any white children who remained were ignored by black teachers and staff and shunned as “privileged”. This racism is despicable but entirely acceptable by the black racist administration and school board. The 12 year old white girls in the class were singled out by the black male bully gym teacher and called “hoes”. When they didn’t even know what this meant they were mocked by the hate-trained black kids. When the teacher failed the girls for wanting to avoid this dangerous environment the parents came in to complain about the sexual harassment. The principal and teacher leaned back in their chairs and said nothing could be done even though the teacher admitted to sexually harassing these children. It would be ignored by the admin because the colors of the victims and perpetrators were wrong. So we all pulled our children from this disgusting, abusive system…which is what these haters want anyway. This happens in majority black schools everywhere.Intelligence and achievement are punished as “being too white”.

        You must admit the open, violent black on black and black on white/asian racism that has been rampant in recent years while you tell these white children who aren’t bothering anyone that they are wrong to be “colorblind”. Some people have other things on their mind than constant bitterness and racism and should be allowed to just simply be children together without a constant defensive chip on their shoulder, waiting to be offended.

        • Carrie,

          That sounds like an awful situation, I think the problem at hand is not race, but a broken public education system. I would like to point out that racism does not go “two ways.” Racism has to do with systematic oppression (conscious and unconscious). The systems that have been built in this country were built by white men and they were built to oppress people of color. What happened in this school can be defined as ‘prejudice’ but not racism. It is important to make the distinction.

          Think of common stereotypes about different races. You point out that “Intelligence and achievement are being punished as ‘being too white,” and imply that violence and gangs are related to black schools. Do you see that one stereotype is harmful and the other is not?

          • Carrie, therein lies the problem. Racism is not owned by white individuals. By definition racism is a dislike, disdain, or judgement of one individual or individuals based purely on their race or color of their skin. By spewing this drivel you perpetuate the lie that black individuals do not have the capacity to be racist.

        • This comment is so inappropriate. Why place this here in this forum? Why? Why create a comparison? The fact you posted this speaks to everything in the letter. You clearly don’t get it. This is part of the problem.

          • Are you censoring? She has just as much right to express her views as you do. Don’t like it? Too bad. We still live in a free country…..at least for now.

        • What a bunch of hogwash I just read from Carrie. If it was even half true, the police would have been involved (“the teacher admitted to sexually harassing these children”). But never let the truth stand in the way of a story that will help you justify your own racist beliefs and continue to revel in your white privilege. Gah!

        • I really like your message. There’s so much media talk abt racism toward blacks but what abt the racism blacks have on other races. I am Asian. The racism I have experienced though out my childhood and even now are mostly by blacks. I’ve been called nasty names, told to go back to my country, etc.

        • Not another white person responding and I am not black. This is what bothers me, that the race card is always used even when race is not the issue. Teach your kids to be respectful and also make them aware of the realities of the world. Racism exist EVERYWHERE and not only toward blacks. Instead of teach your kids to be victims bc of the color of their skin, teach them about the difference races and cultures.

          Man for every time I have someone pull the race card on me when you call them out on play victim. And unfortunately stereotype is based on some truths. It’s ok to laugh at the Asian kid who is good at math bc they probably studied and worked really hard. But damn the world for being scared when you walk past a thuggish looking guy at night, when past crimes in that area were committed by that race.

          I rent a few properties and most of my tenants pay their rent on time. The one that’s repeatedly late: he’s black. The family that wanted to live for free and didn’t pay rent for 6 months: black. Any friendly attempts to work things out, the race card was pulled. When it comes time to evict them, it’s because I’m racist. The neighbor that complained about the dog peeing on this car, repeated. He’s racist as well. The kid trying to break into apartments: black. The group of teenagers smashing windshields for the fun of it: black. When situations like this happen, it is hard hard hard to not form an opinion. That’s not racism, it’s based on what you see. So instead of lamenting abt how your son or children of color is going to get treated unfairly, and how they are oppressed by the privileged whites teach them instead to respect others and not to think of themselves of victims. You might not be doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, one bad egg ruins it.

          • It’s ironic that you would say it’s not about race, and then proceed to make it completely about race. Forming an opinion about a group who share a superficial trait, based on what you see in the actions of some, is the definition of racism. (And that applies to the Asian kid as well. What you apparently think is a brilliant point is a false dichotomy.)

            The meth addicts stealing stuff from my neighborhood? White. The people who own the industries that are poisoning the air and water in my neighborhood, and the people defending them in the name of “freedom”? White. The men shouting obscene things at a young woman jogging by as I am waiting for the light to change? White. The corrupt police in our town that even I, as a middle-class conservative-looking non-minority am afraid of? White. The people making a profit from my tax money to put no-victim crime offenders in prison? White. The scammers and internet trolls I’ve had the misfortune of having to deal with? White. So? What exactly does that prove about a person’s character based on their skin color? Absolutely nothing. The only rational opinion we can form from this is about the state of humanity and what people will do under certain circumstances, on the one hand power and privilege, and on the other subjugation and abuse.

            And yes, racism is everywhere. But it affects people differently depending on context. I have next to no concern that someone somewhere hates people with light-colored skin. That is incredibly unlikely to ever impact my life or that of my children’s. But the people around me with darker skin are impacted by racism every day of their lives, in small and big ways. We are not even remotely on the same playing field. The “stop whining” rhetoric — “everything will be great if you just act perfect and stop speaking out about abuse” — is obnoxious nonsense. The only one that serves is the abuser.

          • You sound a little bias to me. I guess everything you’ve ever experienced wrong in the world is caused by black children. It’s your way of thinking that has caused the need for these kind of conversations with our children! Smh

          • Okay… perfect example of someone blind to how SYSTEMIC racism plays out. Intergenerational trauma is a real thing. What you are seeing if you would put on your compassion glasses after taking off your “see black is bad” glasses. – You would see that what you are witnessing is the fallout of a racist war on american blacks – where black kids and families were stripped of education, rights, voting rights, freedom to vote, freedom to make independent decisions, freedom from medical abuse, freedom from poverty, freedom from torture, freedom from death and murder without any justice whatsoever … on and on I could go. Each of those families’ inherited low education, low job prospects, violence… may have been in utero exposed to drugs (didn’t even get the right to pre-natal health and therefore full potential). You want to blame it on skin colours and you point and shout “see!!!!” Look they ARE black. You think you are seeing proof of your theory – the theory that started this problem. Black = bad. And you need to take those glasses off and see that every single human being given proper love, proper education, proper neighbourhood, healthy maternal diet and care, lack of cruel nasty comments from birth would result in your “good citizen” your PRIVILEDGED citizen. Seriously – see it from this perspective and you will see that blacks in America are still recovering from a total war and genocide and the lack of empathy towards this fact is perpetuating the problem.

          • Unfortunately, one bad egg ruins it.

            If the above is true then all white people are racist, all white men are pedophiles and all white women sleep their way into positions.

          • Herein lies the problem, though. You freely admit that you have formed an opinion of all black people you meeet in the future based on the actions of the few that you have seen. I have seen white people act in all kinds of ways. I’ve had white roomates not pay their rent and act like they are entitled to live with me for free. The worst drugs I ever saw attending a school with mostly black kids was pot, it wasn’t until I got to a mostly white school that I saw every drug imaginable. I’ve seen white kids do drugs and vandalize things, it was a regular thing for the kids at the white school I went to to break into abandoned places for show up at friends houses when the parents weren’t home to party and act wild. Steal cars to joy ride around in. I’ve seen white people do all kinds of messed up and illegal things, I grew up in a white environment. But I dont judge all white people based off the actions of those people. Because, simply put, there are people of all races who do those things. You’re going to have bad eggs in every bunch, it has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Just because you don’t see the people that do those things, doesn’t mean they don’t exist in just as many numbers as the people you do see doing them. When you walk through that bad neighborhood at night, what you need to be scared of is not the black person, it’s likely the people in general in that neighborhood. The problem there is likely not race, it is poverty. There are plenty of bad neighborhood that consists of mainly white people, I can attest to that because I lived in a trailer park full of questionable white people and I was afraid every time I came home at night from work. When I lived in Colorado, how many crazy white methheads did I get harassed by? Every time you turned on the news there you were hearing about white people and their meth labs, white people with their children breathing in toxic fumes because they’re cooking dangerous drugs in the kitchen. I’ve never had a cracked out black person coming and knocking on my door at 3 a.m. trying to come into my house to ” see if the furniture they are selling would fit in my living room”, although that isn’t to say that no black person has ever done that. It’s just a matter of personal experience. I cannot judge all white people based on those individual experiences that I had with white people.

            You can’t let anecdotal evidence become the basis for judging an entire group. For instance; I am an ideal renter; the rent is always on time, my neighbors love me, I don’t disturb anyone and I live in an actual HOUSE with my neighbors. Our very large house is divided up into apartments, so if I made lots of noise or was a person to disturb people, it would be noted. But let’s say I went to move into a building of yours, you would likely be judging me as an unfit tenant before I even had a chance to fill out the application. That’s what people mean by explaining to your children that the world will not judge you you based on your own personal merits in the way that they do white people. And that just isn’t fair. I find it hard to believe that you have never seen white people behaving in ways that are considered unfit or unacceptable, even illegal. Yet I doubt you have let that 1 white egg ruin the bunch.

        • Wow. Clearly you got nothing from this post. Why you would proceed to the comments section is beyond me.

        • Ummmm, as an African American, I reject your statements. A lot of schools turn a blind eye to sexual harassment and assault. I think the teacher’s actions are deplorable and that it’s not about race but him being a pedophile or asshole. They exist in our community as well. Also, people commit crimes everywhere. It is not just black people who are killing each other. Last time I checked all of the mass shootings except one the Navy Yard, have been done by people who are not black. It is this type of stereotyping that has officers and vigilantes overacting when they encounter a black man or woman. Start educating yourself. This is issue is way bigger than you.

        • Well said. Blacks are 10 times more
          Prejudice than whites are so when your biggest complaint is you look down on white people claim they don’t see color?? Really?? Something tells me that the black community will never be satisfied until everything is in their favor. Very sad. Please leave the past in the past if you ever want to move forward.

      • But only one way results in a child being killed by police. There is prejudice and then there is institutional racism. Learn the difference.

      • I was a foster kid and have lived in many different surroundings. White kids gets treated like thugs to. And that happens because they wear their pants below their butt instead of over their butt. Wear big clothes with all their “bling” and they talk “ghetto” it’s not just black kids that r getting called thugs. I lived in Cleveland and went to school at south high I was the only white girl in any of my classes. And I think a lot of ppl judge u by appearance. If u dress like a punk or thug ur gonna get treated like one. Kinda like if a girl dresses like a slut she gonna get treated like one. Life is hard regardless. And it’s everyone’s duty not just white parents

        • The difference, Angie, is that black children are treated as “thugs” simply because they are black. (That word and its loaded meanings is a whole other topic) Hell, even Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was harassed by a racist police officer for being outside of his own home and if you have ever seen him, you would know he is far from a “thug”.

          • Concerning the esteemed Professor Gates, his neighbor called the police after seeing a man trying to break into his house through a window. It was him. He is black. Might be time to introduce ourselves to our neighbors maybe? The more this story gets around and used as an accusation the less likely white neighbors will be to contact the police when they see something that may be nefarious going on. For example, my neighbor across the street was moving. She brought her doghouse around to the frontof her house and left for the day. She didnt think to tell any of the neighbors but I saw it out there and imagined to myself she had a plan for it. I saw the guy load it up and go. Had I known that was not part of her plan I would have called the cops or at least got the gguy’s tag number. She asked me later that day if I knew what happened to her doghouse. Helpfully, I told her oh yeah, I saw… and she tells me she never arranged for it to be picked up. I felt like the worst neighbor. I had recently heard Prof Gate’s story from him all over the news. To me the headlines might as well have said Concerned White Neighbor Lady Calls Police On Suspicious Activity and Gets Shamedby Black People Everywhere! Just saying that particular story is not the best card in the deck in my opinion.

      • Please be clear about the difference between racism and prejudice. Certainly it is possible for anybody to be prejudiced against anyone else due to race, gender, background, etc., and it is certainly painful to be on the receiving end of prejudice. Nobody will ever say that prejudice isn’t wrong or hurtful.

        But racism is a specific form of prejudice linked with power, and it is not the same thing as prejudice. It is only racism if it is being enacted by someone who holds power. It is only racism if it is sanctioned by people in power. And while prejudice is enacted by one person towards another, racism is the sanctioned belief that certain people inherently aren’t worth the same human decency and protection as others. It is the belief that certain people are inherently guilty until proven innocent, dangerous until proven an “exception”, criminal until proven “safe”. It is racism that is responsible for keeping millions of people oppressed, in prisons, in poorly resourced housing and poorly resourced schools. It is racism that makes it okay to shoot a young boy of color for appearing “dangerous” while doing nothing more than what children do, and then ask questions later.

      • Please research the definition of racism. Power and wealth being key factors…

      • Brian – I am willing to believe that in your youth you experienced unpleasant treatment from black people simply because you are white and that that was hurtful to you, and I agree that such behavior is a bad thing . On the other hand, as several people here have already pointed out, all white people possess a large amount of privilege that black people do not, such as not being at greater risk of horrible/fatal mistreatment by law enforcement or not being judged as less trustworthy or hard-working simply because of their race.

        In other words, even if racism goes both ways, it goes against black people to a much higher degree and can be life-threatening in a way that white people generally don’t experience.

        • Actually, I taught in “Chocolate City” and the worst offenders of racism were the black school officials toward other blacks: e.g. lower expectations, punishment for wearing sneakers (not allowed in school then), lots of classes on small engine repair and few classes in college prep classes. But that was many years ago. Obama (who is half white) must have survived in spite of all the ego flattening he must have gotten?

      • You may have faced prejudice but not racism.I dint think you understand the difference

    • Very well said!

  6. This post is so spot on. I have one in draft that is similar, and have been trying to communicate these very things to my white friends and family. I just found your blog – loving it. Thank you.

  7. Thank you so much. You gave me some valuable lessons and I will be sure to pass along to my daughter. Thank you.

  8. As a white parent whose son is best friends with the black boy across the street in a racially charged part of Omaha, Nebraska, I find your open letter well written but ask one thing-that as parents, we need to talk to each other too, to open the lines of communication and to show our children that it takes everyone to make things work. My husband and I regularly talk to the mother and grandmother of our little friend and work together to raise our boys to be smart, open minded and without the prejudices so easily found (especially in this neck of the woods). It’s easy to become biased, but these kids are our future and we need to be the example.
    Thank you for listening.

  9. Thank you for this post. I am the bio mom of 4 beautiful biracial kids. We talk about race openly and frequently in our home. One of my daughters is noticeably darker than her siblings and through her experiences, I have really had to come to grips with the fact that how I see my kids is not always how the world sees them. Your post was a wonderful reminder to me of how important it is to acknowledge that we do not live in a post-racial, color-blind world, that I will have to prepare them for things that I never had to think about myself, and that the time to do so starts now.

    You have a wonderful voice. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Never heard one of these before. No sir. This is the first article I’ve ever read instructing random white people to see themselves as oppressors and black people their victims and whose only salvation will come from relentless self-flagellating…….excuse me while I shed my guilty white tears of enlightenment

    • see I had the same issue! This article made me angry and I happen to be the white mom of two bi racial children .. I dont agree with teaching my kids at a young age that they will be targeted and victimized I will teach my kids that they will be judged by the company they keep and to make good choices, dress and speak appropriately not because someone may mistake them for a thug but because its the right way to be a good member of society and to all of their white friends I have nothing to say to them or their parents except when our kids make mistakes and get into trouble together i pray we parent them accordingly .. I dont get this post at all! I will not teach my boys that because they are african american that they will be looked at with disdain or possibly hunted down what are we teaching kids? That whether you stole or not, shot at a cop or not, ran from the police or threatened them or not that when they arrest you, tackle you, or shoot you it was racially targeted? are we really preaching that crime is ok because you are black? that being a criminal is not the issue but the police and authority is? seriously this disgusts me! I disagree… to the “white” parents of my bi racials sons friend … i hope we raise our boys to seek out justice, to communicate, to pull up their pants and act right, to respect those in authority, to be the change they want to see in the world, to be educated and to embrace life and laughter…. end rant!

      • To those who are insinuating that those of us to have these very real conversations with our black children are planting seeds of doubt and enforcing the oppression mentality, I’m sorry you simply don’t get it. My nuclear family consists of doctors, engineers, nurses, and businessmen. I grew up relatively sheltered in California among all races of people; however, my parents were wise in that they prepared us for the reality that we are not living in a post-racial America. Despite being upper middle classed, well dressed, polite and degreed, we have all experienced assumptions about who we were based on race. My family has been followed around stores, stopped in the street, pulled over without cause/citation. I am so glad that my parent prepared me for this, because when we moved to the south, it did not hit me over the head. I was prepared. Do not criticize us for preparing our children. This vital preparation mildly blunts the pain, keeps us safe, and teaches us how to keep situations from getting out of hand. These are survival skills. I also teach my children to not walk around with a chip on their shoulders. I tell them that most people are generally good. No race of people is their enemy. Love all. My children have friends of all races who sit at my table. Nevertheless, no matter how eloquently I attempt to express the necessity of these conversations, there are some who simply will not understand. I cannot force understanding on those who do not share common experience, but I would ask that you attempt to see point of views that you may not agree with.

        • Typing fast and it’s late. I noticed a few typos. I hope that my few lapses do not cloud what I was trying to convey.

        • Very well said. Thank you.

        • I love this comment and feel the same way…this may sound clique…however…it is actually quite hard for someone to walk a mile in anyone’s shoes; let alone an educated, white (I have Anglo-saxton/British/Irish ancestry), woman! I’m fluent in Spanish and lived in Costa Rica and Arizona. The nasty comments, rude gestures, and just plain ignorance I’ve experienced in life…you may not believe! 🙁 Reverse-racism exists. This blog and all of the responses just prove it.

          • Megan, I’m not seeing the reverse racism of this blog and all the responses–except from self-proclaimed white people unwilling or unable to acknowledge their innate privilege whining about how they, too, are victims. Rudeness knows no race.

            The facts remain, however, that people of color, particularly colors considered black, are at a distinct disadvantage in the U.S. That is how our racist–not rude, not prejudiced, but racist–country operates. Until the people of privilege and power are a more diverse lot, so shall it remain.

            Finally, I’m not sure why you felt the need to describe your white heritage, but I’ll see your ancestry and raise you some Dutch, Baltic and Germanic. Guess what? Other than some interesting genealogical tidbits, it doesn’t matter. As my late father used to say, it’s not what your ancestors did that’s important, it’s what you do. What are you doing, Megan?

            (PS: It’s not clique, it’s cliché. Oh, and it’s Anglo-Saxon, not saxton. Also check your use of the much maligned semicolon.)

      • I agree with you and your values, but I think you may have misinterpreted her point. I don’t think she was trying to say that crime is okay because they are black. I interpreted it as because there is still racism in the world, authority views African Americans as a danger and threat and this is why they are targeted-many times for no reason. And she was saying that because of this, her son needs to be aware of it and so do his peers. And not to put himself in situations that can be misconstrued as him doing something “wrong”, because authority will make assumptions that he is the aggressor even if his white friends are doing the same thing side by side.

      • It’s a shame that you have black children. I truly feel sorry for them. I’m an African American teacher, and like most African Americans I’m against crime. I’m also educated and polite, but that doesn’t stop OTHER PEOPLE from making assumptions about me. Those assumptions do affect my life, no matter how great a person I am. Those biases will also affect the lives of your children, whether you believe it or not. You’re doing your children a huge disservice by not preparing them for unfortunate societal perceptions. Your children may be just, but that doesn’t shield them from the injustice that exists in this world.

      • I feel your pain here Mom but you are doing a huge disservice to your beautiful biracial children teaching them that they are exempt from the true and real racism in the world if they just “dress well and make good choices. ” You may find this difficult to hear amd your Mama Bear rage and indignation may try to mute this message. I gently suggest reading a book called Waking Up White that may help you see the world as it truly is so you can prepare your children as opposed to leaving them to their own understandings and experiences they will no share with you because as their white Mom who never talked about race or racism they will think you don’t see it and don’t understand. Your hearts desire thatbthe world treat us all based on the content of our character is a lovely 50+ year old civil rights mantra that has now matured into the direct discusssion of systematic and structural racism (which will touch your children, even in a lighter shade of brown). Joining the current conversation about racism will empower you children to manage not just the bigotry of individuals but to see and help to actively dismantle systems the contribute to instutionalized inequties. I am saying this to you as a black teacher who has been your silent partner jn raising your biracial children for years. Your children seek me out to talk, to share, to feel affirmed when something happens to them that does not click ith their understanding of what you- white Mom- have told them about the world. I am having the converstaions you will not, your children share with me the microaggressions and racial traumas they cannot talk to you about. In the most extreme cases I watch your biracial children unknowingly perpetuate self hating bigotry because they are confused about who they are because they have the bubble of white privilege when they are with you but now they are out in the world alone and with friends and noting how they are occassionally treated different. When they don’t understand the social dynamics at play they experiment with social power and think they are protected by their parent’s whiteness. Not having the talk is more harmful in my 20 year experience as a teacher. Find a way, be inelegant and doit anyway. Your children will thank you for trying and they will know they CAN always come to when they need to talk about how they experience their lives as people of color on this planet.

      • Michele – as the white mom to bi-racial bio and adopted black children, now adults, I can only say that I will be interested in your reflections on this rant when your children are adults and have experienced the world on their own as black people – especially if they are boys. It may help you prepare if you show some level of curiosity to hear and listen to the perceived experiences of a majority of black men in America – men who talk “white” and pull there pants up even. Just give yourself some space to absorb their experiences as they grow up.

      • Really, I pray your sons don;t experience the rude awakening of their blackness in this country ill prepared. It least tell then that some people will judge them solely by the color of their skin. I mean no ill will, but you’re not giving them reason why they will need to constructively vent the anger they surely will experience in the microaggressions of racism in America. As parents it is our role to prepare our children for the world the face outside our homes. How are you doing this?

      • This woman never said anything about “crime being ok for black people”. What article did u read? I feel sorry for your sons, because when they are profiled, and they will be, they will react the way anyone naturally would and they might lose their lives for it. Why? Because their post-racial mother didn’t prepare them with knowledge of the real world. I hope their father isn’t as ignorant as you. Tell him the same bull u plan on telling your sons. See what his take on it is.

      • Michele – it was so sad to read your response. Being a parent is hard and I know I often felt anguished to know if I was always doing the right thing by my black son. But you are so wrong and naive about the challenges your African American sons will face in life solely based on the color of their skin. To deny this reality is to leave them crippled in facing the world. I hope your love for them will enable you to learn more about what it is like to grow up a black person of color in our less-than-enlightened society. Take a peak a this short film to get an idea of what I’m saying. http://www.buzzfeed.com/nickguillory/heres-a-video-that-compares-life-as-a-black-and-a-white-pers#.jb1JDLvlV3

      • Michele,

        As a mixed race man (white mother, black father) I Think that your approach is detrimental. Just because you think “it’s te right thing to do” and don’t want to acknowledge that your mixed children will be judged doesn’t mean they won’t.

        You’re seeing the world through your eyes, as we all do. Your children are of color and your ideologies (in this instance at least) negate their reality.

        I urge you to dig deeper.

      • Thank you!! I couldn’t have said that better.

      • As the white momma to brown children I agree with you. I want all my kids to be respectful and responsible. Imo, these kinds of articles fuel the issue and do more to harm than help. We do talk to our children about situations they might find themselves especially as they’re getting older but feel these kinda of discussions need to be done without the “white privilege” perspective.

      • I couldn’t agree more!!! Thank you! It made me feel like she was training her kids to have a chip on their shoulder constantly and to be afraid of everyone,everywhere at all times and constantly be ready to throw out the “race” card.

      • And the Black community shall pray for the lives of the Black children in your care. You need to be prepared but I understand your denial will hinder this and endanger the lives and well being of the Black children in your home. IF, interested perhaps reading or wat hing videos of a “white” guy Tim Wise might enlighten you. Until than may the ancestors watch over the Nubian Watotos in your home!

      • Thank you Michele! Like someone said before I believe racism is taught not inherited. Does it exist? Absolutely! Where is it really starting? Although our job is to prepare our children for the real world; it sounds like to me by telling your children all these things will happen to them would plant the seed of that feeling.

      • Tell that to the white mothers of Jeremy Lake, Darrien Hunt, Tony Robinson Jr. whose biracial sons were killed by white cops. I hope you kids look white enough to pass or this could be their fate one day. I strongly suggest you get over your anger and prepare your children for what they will face in this world.

      • Michele – as a white mom of a black boy, I have to disagree with you. I admire your efforts to raise children who are respectful and take pride in their actions. We all should. However, as painful as it is to confront, it is dangerous to treat your black children as if they don’t have to watch out for the dangers that will come at them from a society that is not judging them by the same fair considerations. I could tell the difference, year by year, as to how people viewed my son as he grew from an adorable little black boy to the 5’6″ 14-year-old young black man he is today. As an example, we recently moved into a new neighborhood in Boston, and it has been difficult to make him remember to curb his natural impulse – as he is still a kid – to run into someone’s backyard if he hits his ball over the fence. While we have to teach all our kids to respect others’ property, it is not usually putting our white children’s lives at risk if they forget and run into someone’s yard. He has to know – for his safety – that if someone sees a black teenage boy in their yard, they might call the police, and there is a chain of events that can happen that could be deadly. I don’t want to scare him, but it is necessary to prevent him from putting his life at risk. It is irresponsible not to teach both what is expected behavior as a responsible member of society, but also what is not fair but is still a very real possibility of how someone may react to him. To be aware of that reality, but not internalize it as something that is wrong with him, but with the way some other people think and behave. I have gone with him to introduce him to new neighbors, and ask if he hits his ball over their fence, can he go back there to retrieve it. While it is something I would teach any child, it is a necessary precaution for his safety, not just for his manners. And I won’t always be with him to pave the way. It is very painful, for both of us, when we have these discussions. It is a challenge to teach him that not all white people think or act like that, but since you never know, you have to be safe. And at the same time, you have to feel comfortable with the white people in your life and know that you can trust them. Of course, I’ve had to adjust the conversation over the years to what he is ready developmentally to hear, so I don’t overwhelm him with what he isn’t ready to understand. And there is still plenty of room “…to be the change they want to see in the world, to be educated and to embrace life and laughter…” But as parents of black children, we cannot behave as we wish the world to be, but as the world is. Their lives depend on it.

      • Hello, my name is Carol and although my son is 100% Black of Haitian & African American descent. I feel exactly as you do and did not rear him to be color conscious, either. He is twenty-one now, a senior in college and appears to have progressed well. I pray for him each day and know that although color does matter to many, hard work, perseverance and a good code of ethics matter most.

        Blessings,

    • You, sir, have entirely missed the point of this very well written article. For one, the mother writing this is white herself. I, too, am white with brown children (my husband is a native of Bolivia). And I have observed the reality of white people making assumptions about my children simply because they are dark-skinned that those same people don’t make about their white friends in the exact same situations. No one is asking for “guilty tears” from you. You are being asked to put yourself in the shoes of a fellow human being, to be aware of the hazards of being a person of color in a world centered on whiteness as the norm and to do your part to help keep people of color, especially children, safe.

    • That is not at all what she said.

    • Sven,
      Happy New Year! Your white tears are the same color as everyone else’ in the world, clear liquid tears. It’s apparent you don’t live in the USA. Racism is alive and well in this country and I’d say it has gotten to extreme racism in the past 7 years. What people are saying comes from their hearts. Why not just listen to the experience of others? Maybe you’ll have a inkling of what different color people feel when they are targets. This is not a black white issue. I’m mixed and come from Hawaii. My family tormented me and always called me adopted, since my memory takes me back to 3 yrs. of age, I recall my siblings tell me I was adopted since I had blonde hair. With my mixture added to my son’s father mixes, at 6 yrs. old to have a small dark Hawaiian child ask me what a brownie is had me blew a gasket because we never discussed race except never to call a white person certain uses of language, nor any other races. Although his mixture is full mixture consisting mainly of 1/2 Hawaiian blood. The only state in the USA that white is a complete minority is Hawaii. Go there w/ your thinking and you’re right, your lily white tears will be shedding there w/ you prejudicial attitude. Love all serve all! Live it, embrace it!

    • Get over yourself for a minute and see the request for what it is: for the parents of her child’s friends to understand that friend and have his/her back. She’s not asking these parents to see them as oppressors. She’s asking these responsible adults to look at the world without rose colored glasses so that her SON DOESN’T GET MISTREATED JUST FOR BEING WHO HE IS out of ignorance. It’s asking them to just give a damn.

      What’s so goddamn hard to understand about that?

      • Whats so hard for you to understand that white people are getting tired of being asked to go out of their way all the time as a matter of course. Here’s the hard facts of life. No one cares. No one cares enough to go around oppressing you. “The Man” is not keeping you down. All we want to do is work hard and take care of our families. Life is tough, believe it or not, even for white people. Sick of being preach to. Want respect? Then grow up, do what everyone else does, and EARN it!

        • Ohhh, so you’re saying it’s that simple? Huh. Who’da thunk it all these years it was that simple and just nobody ever could figure that out because they were caught up in delusions of oppression and injustice. Well no one is fooling you, are they, white sir?

        • “Whats so hard for you to understand that white people are getting tired of being asked to go out of their way all the time as a matter of course.”

          Isn’t that better than being one’s head in the sand and ignoring issues.

          “No one cares enough to go around oppressing you.”

          If that was true articles like the one above would never have to be written.

          “The Man” is not keeping you down.”

          True although certain things do tend to be levied against minorities in poor communities.

          “All we want to do is work hard and take care of our families”

          That’s what everyone wants

          “Then grow up, do what everyone else does, and EARN it!”

          You mean earn more than ppl have already?

        • When you say ” all white people” you speak for me, and you sir have no right to speak for me. What you said, is in my opinion disgusting and ignorant. What we want indeed. We as white people want what all people want, for our families to be safe. The people of color in this country have to worry about it a litt bit more for a little bit less however. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to, I am not here to change your mind. I grew up rich, white and believing one hundred percent in a post racial America. I learned the hard way, through people like you, that it doesn’t exist. I wish it did, I really want it to, but until it does I am going to do my damned hardest to make sure that my kids don’t do anything to put a child of color in harms way with their actions and I am going to try to listen to the needs of our ENTIRE community.

        • Go out of their way to do what? Talk to a black person? Stand next to a black kid if the cops show up? What a hardship!

        • Check your white privilege. If being asked to be an ally and examine yourself is a hardship, is going out of your way, then you, anonymous Joe Blow, are exactly who needs to grow up and open your mind.

        • Hey Joe Blow, Please don’t speak for me, or all white people. You’re very much part of the problem, and you need to understand that white people are getting sick and tired of having privileged white males continually screw things up for the rest of society. Quit being so greedy and insulated, and take some time to make things better for all–not just your little family.

      • It’s the tone; it’s patronizing to think and write about i.e. generalize a group of people. Don’t touch my son’s head? Keep him safe? Who does that?! You made the choice to be a parent; that’s your job.

        I do like the core sentiment of this piece, however…love is love. Sorry folks that disagree, but I will not treat your kid, or mine for that matter, any differently based on what y’all (Being from the Midwest…we also have a tendency to say YOU GUYS!) believe to be a hardship. Send your child to school and give them the education that ALL of our ancestors lacked. You are lucky enough to live in a country where this can happen. Love him or her deeply and profoundly. Hope that he or she can travel and see kindness everywhere. Be grateful and respectful of everything that you receive: material, spiritual and otherwise.

        • I am sorry Megan but the advice she gave was spot on. Just yesterday my admin asked me if she could touch my hair. Do you think that is expropriate? Because I sure do not. It is not patronizing. It is informing people of how some of their behaviors are inappropriate and can possibly make others feel uncomfortable.

    • Sven: thank you for your privileged white view point. I will note this is the same thing openly racist white people say all the time. Coincidence?

    • Thank you, I was thinking the same thing.

    • So true Sven. That’s how I felt. When she said white parents respect my son. Don’t u think black and white parents respect is better. So by some of the words she is choosing to use I think she is showing racism and don’t even realize it.

  11. I guess I am in a unique position, but my white sons attend a public school that is only 11% white. I find myself asking some of the same questions you have posed. Would your son stand by mine if he was excluded for being white? Would your son pick my son for his team at recess? “White privilege” doesn’t necessarily exist if you are the minority. We have chosen to attend our school because we want our sons to understand that the world is not white, but I believe the conversation should always go both ways. My husband’s best neighborhood friends were all black and one of the families made my husband stay on the porch if the other boys went inside because he was white. So I ask will your son stand with mine?

    • Not completely unique, I understand what you are saying, my son attended public school that was 3% white for elementary. My son was bullied and suspended for striking back at the bully in the 3rd grade. Not a single one of his friends stayed with him when it happened. We took the suspension, talked about having to suck it up and deal with it rather than striking out, and no one gave us any benefit of the doubt or special treatment. Coming from a struggling family in a multi-ethnic area, to the point where I am upper middle class in a different multi-ethnic community/neighborhood, I have never really witnessed “privilege” to be based on race, but rather on economic status. And I’m kind of laughing about the rubbing the hair thing, because my son complained about that constantly, but it’s not a racial thing, it’s a “different texture” thing. Kids wanted to see what his baby-fine, blonde, sticks straight up hair felt like because it was different than theirs. That’s just part of being a kid and learning your world.

    • Beautiful question. I am sorry that you have experienced what you have.

    • I can see how this would be distressing, however, “white privilege” definitely still remains. Your sons are MUCH less likely to get shot by police for being children. Your sons are MUCH more likely to get hired just on the basis of their first names (most likely). Your sons are MUCH more likely to get a fair treatment should they get in trouble. Your sons are UNLIKELY to get killed for speeding/incorrect lane changes/selling cigarettes/any of the other dozens (hundreds?) of things that have led to black people being shot and killed. And that is why, regardless of the makeup of the school your kids go to, it is so so so important for your WHITE children to stand with children of color.

      • And as white kids much more likely to be attacked if daring to walk through a black neighborhood.
        See reality for what it is. Cops are not out to get anyone but the bad guys. The Michael Browns and Trayvons and any other of “Obama’s sons” (his words) who were the aggressors in criminal acts are the ones making it bad for others.

        Black cops and firefighters are a lot more fearful going into a broken down inner city neighborhood than a poor white area. Just saying use common sense. All this rampant racism was healing until the great uniter started fanning the few remaining embers, and making hate fashionable to those he wants to divide and conquer..

        It will take several generations before the races learn to trust each other again, learn to stop isolating themselves into little ghettoes again, learn to work hard and take care of their own lives again and stop depending o a government that wants us all to be dependent drones to further their greedy agenda.

        So please stop teaching your kids that they have so much to fear and teach them to stand upright with their pants up and their head high (not shrouded in a hood) and smile with confidence that this world isn’t out to get them.

        • And as white kids much more likely to be attacked if daring to walk through a black neighborhood.”

          How often does that happen? Give a number how often it happens. You’re comparing getting attacked by bad ppl to being held oppressed(lack of a better word) by society.

          “The Michael Browns and Trayvons and any other of “Obama’s sons” (his words) who were the aggressors in criminal acts are the ones making it bad for others.”

          Rekia Boyd was the aggressor? Amadou Diallo was the aggressor? John Crawford was the aggressor?

          “All this rampant racism was healing until the great uniter started fanning the few remaining embers, and making hate fashionable to those he wants to divide and conquer.”

          Your someone who actually believed racism was on it’s last legs? Racism always existed it’s just that ppl convinced themselves that it was no longer an issue. They allowed themselves to believe things were fine before “Obama divided the nation” Go back ten, twelve yrs ago and search on the internet you’ll find the same discussions going on.

          “It will take several generations before the races learn to trust each other again,”

          When have races ever trusted each other?

          “learn to stop isolating themselves into little ghettoes again”

          You realize that despite races living among each other most races do love among their own ppl.

    • This brought to mind what the pastor of a black church in North Carolina says all the time. ” We don’t have a problem with the whites being prejudice towards the blacks. Our problem is the blacks being prejudice towards the whites.”

      • Well yeah, the whites being prejudiced towards the blacks is the whites’ problem. He didn’t say it wasn’t a problem.

      • What about blacks racism / prejudice towards all other races? There are more than 2 races in the world.. Not just black and white. When my family saved enough money to open a restaurant in a town that was predominantly black, it was a real struggle. The name calling, the nasty comments, etc. I lost count of how many times the delivery car was stolen. More than SEVERAL occasions, a false order was placed so they can rob a delivery guy out of $15 dollars and beat them almost to death. Know what happens when we report it to the police? The black cops gave us attitude about how that just the way the world works and walks away. At least the white cops were more sympathetic and would write up a report, help look for the stolen car, or the missing delivery guy.
        Look, what I’m trying to say is that racism runs deep, not just both ways but in all directions. Blacks are not the only victims, and the whites are not the only ones doing the oppressing.

  12. This article made me angry and I happen to be the white mom of two bi racial children .. I dont agree with teaching my kids at a young age that they will be targeted and victimized I will teach my kids that they will be judged by the company they keep and to make good choices, dress and speak appropriately not because someone may mistake them for a thug but because its the right way to be a good member of society and to all of their white friends I have nothing to say to them or their parents except when our kids make mistakes and get into trouble together i pray we parent them accordingly .. I dont get this post at all! I will not teach my boys that because they are african american that they will be looked at with disdain or possibly hunted down what are we teaching kids? That whether you stole or not, shot at a cop or not, ran from the police or threatened them or not that when they arrest you, tackle you, or shoot you it was racially targeted? are we really preaching that crime is ok because you are black? that being a criminal is not the issue but the police and authority is? seriously this disgusts me! I disagree… to the “white” parents of my bi racials sons friend … i hope we raise our boys to seek out justice, to communicate, to pull up their pants and act right, to respect those in authority, to be the change they want to see in the world, to be educated and to embrace life and laughter…. end rant!

    • I think you missed the point of this article. I am also the white mom of two biracial children. Yes, I want to raise them to make good choices. The problem is that, kids do stupid things. However, kids being kids can have lethal consequences for black and brown kids. The same act that will be seen as “stupid kid behavior” in a white kid, will be seen as criminal behavior in a black kid. Black kids do not get the same passes as white kids. If we raise our black and brown children as colorblind, we fail to teach them how to navigate our racist world. This can have deadly consequences for our children.

      You might want to check out the Storycorps story about the white woman whose adopted black son was beaten by the police. His crime? Being in a car with a white marihuana-possessing friend and calming asserting his rights during a traffic stop.

      https://storycorps.org/animation/traffic-stop/

      • You do realize that some actions by a child or teen, regardless of their skin color has negative reactions? I know a 14 year old white boy who was lucky to be alive because he was playing in public with a toy gun, shot by an officer after grabbing for that toy after being told to put his hands up. You see it is not always about the color of a person’s skin, but their actions in a situation. NO officer wants to shoot anyone, but will in defense of their lives or the lives of innocent bystanders.

    • Of all the things you mentioned disagreeing/ being disgusted with, where are they in this post? Where does it say that this mother is teaching her black son that he will be targeted and victimized? Where does she say that she encourages him NOT to keep good company, speak and dress ‘appropriately’, or be a good member of society? Where does she even IMPLY that stealing, shooting at/ threatening cops (or anyone for that matter), or committing ANY crime is okay, particularly when you are black?
      Michele, perhaps in all the teaching you are doing with your biracial children (and the ranting you do on the side), you can have them help you read this article and pick out the main points. Maybe discuss how this article aims “to seek out justice, to communicate… [and] to be the change they want to see in the world”, to borrow from your own words. This can be a learning moment for you all.

  13. You had me…until you used the term “white privilege”.

    • BTW, I am a “white” mom of an adopted “brown” boy. I am raising him to be “color-blind”, because it doesn’t (shouldn’t) matter the color of your skin. I am raising him to have good moral character, keep good company, and do what is right.

      • You’re right, it shouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, it does. When your son is a black man, he will know he cannot share with you the things he has witnessed and experienced. You do him a great disservice.

      • So you think that the systemic racism that the brown boys that you read and hear about, weren’t taught all of the things you mention. This America is not color blind, and we must not just demand from our brown children that they aare respectful, but that they are respected.

    • SelkeGirl, you need to own the term, not turn off when you see it.

      Regardless of how “color-blind” you may raise your “brown” boy, he will still be made to feel less a man by this society in which we live. If you can’t handle that fact, if you’re uncomfortable preparing him that fact, if that fact upsets your vision of how things ought to be, well, you need to “adopt” a more realistic approach to this difficult business of child rearing.

      Until every white person in this country understands and accepts that s/he benefits from this ruling privilege–or until the power structure is more balanced and reflective of our country’s racial, and ethnic and cultural, diversity–the imbalance will remain and wonderful children such as your son will continue to grow up to be treated less fairly than their white counterparts.

  14. I think it’s great that you teach your children to be polite, respect authority, and respect your neighbors property. Everyone should teach their kids that stuff. I think you mean well for your son but I worry that by planting seeds of doubt in this little boys mind about the attitudes and feelings you perceive that people have towards him does more harm than you realize. Why would you perpetuate the ‘most white people are probably racist’ agenda to your son and then point the finger at the small, small percentage of people that think ‘most black people are probably criminals’? I think neither of these things help ‘racial unity’…….glad we can have these honest discussions.

    • I am not sure if the ‘most’ ‘some’ ‘all’ qualifiers are correct. I am not police, but I am very close to a police officer that works in Chicago neighborhoods. She has told me school officials would target P.O.C. children for the same things white children did. As an example: if a P.O.C. child doodled during class on a piece of paper, they would be pulled out for drawing ‘gang signs’ on the paper and handled according to disciplinary methods for showing gang signs. While if a white child doodled on a piece of paper it would be dismissed as ‘creative.’ Or if a white child missed a lot of days of school it wouldn’t be brought up as much, but if a P.O.C. child did it he would be ‘delinquent.’ My friend told me that she was being told to handle situations in the school differently for different races. From what she told me, she challenged the system and she was reprimanded by her superiors. 🙁

      Unfortunately, if she does not teach her son, he or she will be blindsided by the people who are racist -whether they are a large or a small percentage. I think it helps if we could have more open discussions without hostility about it, like this one. As a white woman with white children I want to raise them right and not unknowingly contribute to racist problems in the future. This article helps me. Thank you, Maralee

      • Chicago? Of all places Chicago is run by black racists, and one of the worst criminals of all Rahm Emanuel, your mayor who says “never let a good crisis go to waste” in creating dissention and division for political gain. Corruption is all over the school system.

        • Yes, Rahm Emanuel, that famous black racist who delayed releasing footage of Laquan McDonald’s murder by police. You obviously don’t understand the meaning of racism. Are you in Chicago, carrie? Do tell how you know better than Joy’s school teacher friend about corruption being all over the school system. Better yet, instead of just regurgitating some tired right wing hysteria talking points, try discussing the very real, and really sad points, Joy raised. Thanks much.

    • This is an excellent article for children to learn from their parents. It happens to us adults who are different culturally, as well as being mixed ethnically, I’m not talking white mutts, white is white. I’m talking obvious mixes in ethnicity.

      Speaking as one who relocated from an island I’ve lived all my life marrying a man born in Turkey who has blue eyes and blonde hair, I have gotten along w/ he complete racism, banned from a Walmart in racist Lebanon Ohio, traveling all across this country, Canada, Hawaii, Japan, I’ve experienced racism everywhere. This isn’t a issue that we can solve. This will take generations to fix and undo the extreme racism I’ve encountered especially during the past 7 years. Unless parents do teach their children the way my parents taught me as I’ve taught my son, I’m proud of my cultural upbringing and experiences as a non white person. One drop rules won’t apply as we were cornered in a McDonald’s in Ohio by skin heads who were more disgusted by husband for not knowing better than to marry non white, even if my husband is white looking he was born in Turkey. The way my husband and our cultural blending has made for a wonderful family, the 2 of us aren’t interested in looking at races, we love to learn about art, architecture, and my home is filled to the brim w/ art from all over the world, mainly Hawaii, Japan and middle east. If we focus on learning from other cultures we’d be a lot more blessed and less filled w/ resentment, anger or name calling. In God’s way, we are all created in His imagine. Look to realities and not home made insulting or making judgments on every race we don’t know about, including the mid east, Korea, China, Japan, Philippines, Russian, etc. Keep you focus on others and not yourselves and I promise you things will be better all the way around.

    • Um, are you not noticing all the unarmed black people being shot by police, while heavily armed white murderers are gently taken into custody? Are you unfamiliar with the heavy bias against people of color in our education system, in our prison system, in our government? Do you really think the number of racists in our country is that small? Did you know that just a few years ago, Republicans in southern states were polled on interracial marriage, and a large majority agreed that interracial marriage should be outlawed? Are you noticing how Donald Trump gets more popular the more racist and sexist he gets? Are you talking to your children about any of these issues? Just because you’re not burning crosses doesn’t mean you’re not perpetuating racist beliefs. Simply by being silent you are perpetuating racism. If you are NOT a racist, then you should have no problem articulating your values to your children. If you are uncomfortable talking about race with your kids, you are part of the problem.

  15. Amazingly insightful & well written piece. Transformational change is only possible when the white individuals / community can think retrospectively about the extent to which historical issues of white superiority , colonialism & slavery has subliminally influenced their perceptions / stereotype of black people; accept this is likely to set a fundamental premise of how they see black people ; be curious enough to explore their thoughts/feelings/actions relating to their encounter with a black person & keen to identify & challenge any deep seated biases that may influence their perceptions & actions towards the person. ” if you fail to go within, you will go without & we will blame other causes outside of you ….

  16. And please, also teach your children that the overwhelming majority of police officers are not to be feared simply because you are a black man wearing a hoodie or standing at a park without white friends there to be your “witness.” If we are going to break down stereo-types, let’s be fair to all members of society who suffer because of them — including white people who are classified as “privileged” and potentially racist merely because they are white and somehow do not understand the sting of persecution. Let’s also teach our children that having victim mentality is the greatest enemy.

    • Sure. The overwhelming majority of police are good folks who do their jobs well.

      But you only need one panicky one to end up dead.

      • panicky? how would you react is the person you are headed toward reached for their waistband and was pulling out what appeared to be a gun? Would you wait to find out? Because if you did, you could be dead within a couple seconds.

        • If you’re too frightened of someone “reaching for their waistband” (read: moving their hand?) to refrain from murdering them without cause, you’re probably not fit to be a police officer. Just a thought.

  17. That’s right, teach them early that they are victims of the oppressors of white privilege. When is it going to stop. I will raise my white Son to treat all the way he wanted to be treated and you do the same. I have curly hair and people touch it all the time. I don’t get upset… Its just exhausting how its always white against blacks all of the time. Look a little closer, see the world for how it really is. A few people who behave in a stupid manner and then it turns into a race issue.

    • “A few people who behave in a stupid manner and then it turns into a race issue.”

      If it was a few ppl articles like this wouldn’t be written.

  18. Thank you for sharing your heart and love for your family. Thank you for reaching out to share in such a personal and informative way. Open communication, heartfelt concern and sharing information such as this is so important. God bless you for your kind approach and truthful words.

  19. Wow, that’s a lot of angry responses from white people. Unfortunate and closed minded. And the cycle continues.

    • Exactly my thoughts! What a shame.

    • And what about the “black lies matter” thugs who are being funded by democrat rich white liberals who are using the useful idiots to cause anarchy and division….same funding as the “occupy” thugs who were well paid privileged white kids with their macbook airs protesting their own daddy’s privilege. The black lies matter gangs are also run by wealthy privileged brats.

      Teach your kids not to be caught up in ignorant arguments and just be the best people they can be and they won’t be used like the ones who are taught to feel oppressed and blame others when things don’t just work out perfectly for them without effort. Humanity has more in common than the racial lies manipulators are using to divide.

      • “they won’t be used like the ones who are taught to feel oppressed and blame others when things don’t just work out perfectly for them without effort”

        It’s a little more than complex than that. No one is saying you can’t succeed because your black or things don’t work out because you’re black.

        “Humanity has more in common than the racial lies manipulators are using to divide.”

        If that is the case than why has race always been an issue in this country?

      • Oh come on, carrie, now you’re just trolling. Why must you corrupt the BLM movement with your bastardization of its name? You are clearly not a useful idiot, well, you’re clearly not useful.

      • Carrie, are those men who took over the federal building “thugs”? Just asking.

  20. I understand that there are racial issues still present today but I really don’t think this is a white parenting problem only. I was one of the only white children in my elementary school and neighborhood and it would be really easy for me to see this in the other direction. However, I realize it goes both ways. I could relay just as many stories from my own perspective where as a white person I was treated poorly and it had nothing to do with the parenting skills in my own household.

    If I see a black or white person with their hands in their pockets I’m just as equally concerned even though it was a black man that pulled a gun out of his pocket at the red light (I took off through the red light). While walking me home one night a black family attacked my white friend’s mother (they didn’t want me to walk in their yard). I had a black teacher harass me every single day in grade school. We had black people break into our house regularly and the other black neighbors defended them and of course didn’t see anything. Maybe they could have all had this discussion as well.

    Point is, this isn’t non-existent when reversed. This is not a white parenting problem only. I have a feeling this isn’t only the problem of your sons white friend’s parents. What happened to them in life, what are their life circumstances?

    I think that by teaching children to be distrusting of people at such an early age is just as destructive. Don’t trust white people, be scared of them, they’re out to get you and need to change their ways and then turn around and wonder why we all don’t get along better. An open letter to white parents isn’t racist at all. Not any worse than them finding faults in you as well simply for being black.

    • I thank you for sharing that any color can be a minority and receive atrocities from any color. And that we need to teach our children to respect everyone, no matter what color.

  21. *Not any worse than them finding faults in you as well (meaning black people in general not the author).

  22. Wow. I think you have your own deep racial prejudice, and are passing that along to your son. I think you are viewing things though a dirty lense. Certainly you are teaching your son to have a victim mentality and view any “slight” as for his color. No. Wrong. Shame on you. He made someone uncomfortable. It may or may not have to do with race. Since you cannot know for sure, it’s a horrible thing to express. He can do and be anything great. Never forget that!

    • Kelly, perhaps you should click on the About section of this website to gain a bit more context. In essence, what you’ve said is that a white mother who has adopted black children is harboring deep racial prejudice for offering advice to other parents on race relations. And then you shame the author. That is misplaced shame to an out of orbit degree.

      Ironically, your post is a prime example of what the author seeks to dispel – that her black son can simply be told “he can do and be anything great” and it will be so in the absence of a community that deliberately sets up the necessary conditions for that to happen. Do you have black friends? Show them this article and ask them if it rings true to their experience. You have too easily given in to the one extreme of the race relations issue that refuses to acknowledge any cultural barriers to improving how the races can seek to love one another. (The other extreme, of course, is to acknowledge that everything is a barrier.)

      If the way this author encourages us to grow up our children in grace and wisdom is to be shamed, then the careful reflection and subtleties required to understand that encouragement may be beyond you.

  23. The article is well written, thank you. However, when adults learn to stop buying into all of the “made-up” racial terms, we might get some place in bridging the divide over our differences. What is transracial, biracial, etc? Scientifically, we are all one “Race” and that is the “Human Race”.

    We are too intelligent to still allow the hue of one’s skin color to cause us to feel angst about one another. This is just another view or perspective.

  24. Insightful. Well-written. Truth. I’m the mom of 5 children (4 bi-racial biological & 1 black adopted)–your thoughts and words are a great beginning to helping others understand that this is the reality for our children & our lives. Look forward to reading more of your musings. This one struck many chords in my mom heart.

  25. I was so hopeful reading this well written article. And then I read the comments (wish I hadn’t done that). I can’t believe that people are still questioning the existence of racism in this country. In this country where bigotry and hate spewed by Trump has made him a front runner for the presidential nomination – really we think there is no one judging people of color by just their race alone? Yeah ok.
    You know what – I will raise my child to be respectful and to pull up his pants and to listen to authority. But even with equally good parenting my brown children will be viewed differently from your white children by a large portion of this population. So yes this article is necessary. And people who actually want to see racism eliminated will do what the author says. The rest of you will continue to be ‘subtle’ racists. Including the persons of color who disagreed. Rant over.

  26. Articles like this perpetuate racism. Yes it’s good to talk about it, yes it’s good to teach. But if we continue to teach our black children that they are not equal, that they are somehow less than because of how society views them then we are crippling them for life and continuing the cycle of racism. Safety is important but holding to these antiquated view is continuing the hate of reverse racism.

    • “that they are somehow less than because of how society views them then we are crippling them for life and continuing the cycle of racism”

      Would it be better to lie to them?

  27. To those offended at the thought of talking to your child about being targeted because if his or her race before it happens, listen to this: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/15/340419821/after-a-traffic-stop-teen-was-almost-another-dead-black-male

  28. I talk to my granddaughters about this all the time. Since they are Lumbee and Cherokee on their father’s side it means they have some “Black” for want of a better word in them. That also means they are white, black and red, again for want of better words. I tell them their race is human, their ethnic makeup is unique and to be extremely proud of all the parts that make up the whole of them. Now the wee one gets her temper up when someone calls or says the N word because as she says “Nan, I have black in me and I don’t like that word.” So I tell her “It’s an ignorant word said by ignorant people and maybe now you know why I think you shouldn’t be singing certain songs because its not cute no matter who says it!” I want them to be proud of the Irish, German, English, Indian and African in them because they should honor all those who came before them and dipped a toe in their gene pool. Its not popular with a lot of their friends parents but I don’t really give a crap, believe what you want just don’t tell my kids stupid stuff because kids repeat what adults say. While they can be total monsters at times they are in fact only one race and that’s Human, well the jury is still out on the little one because I swear she is from outer space at times. They are, like most of us, mutts. American mutts and I seriously hope they are as proud of all the sums of their parts as I am. They also know that Nanny will flip out if they ever use ignorant terms in as it relates to another person because these words can hurt. They are taught that ignorance comes in all shapes, size, color, religion, gender and political leanings so choose your words careful because once they are out there, they are out there to be dealt with. Hopefully they will pay it forward because no child should be in fear because of their color, religion or sexual leaning. Kids aren’t born with prejudice, its a learned behavior and unfortunately its usually the ones who should be their role model for good that teach them ignorance.

  29. It is very complicated with no easy solution, but I love to feel that we are evolving away from racism.

  30. Thank you for sharing. I think this starts a helpful conversation. While we all read this with our own life experiences distorting our view, I still think that recognizing there are things we can do to change the world for the better, regardless of race, is important. Change the words to be helpful to you as a family, change white to majority and black to minority. It is still the same message. Stand together with your friends. Show love and understanding. #lovewins
    It isn’t about whether touching someone else’s hair is ok. It isn’t about blaming. It is about recognizing when there are injustices in the world and standing with your friends in love. That’s it.

  31. Be encouraged. This was a great piece, and much needed in many lives. Don’t let others discourage your heart in this — it’s easy to criticize one another with an anonymous name on a website. We’re all learning and growing. Again, thank you for this.

  32. Really well written and a great message. We should all take this into account regardless of what color we are. One thing is for certain. This young man has an incredible mother to guide him through life’s journey. Wishing you and him and the rest of your family a blessed 2016 and beyond.

    Tim

  33. Most of this I get and can see your point and motivation for posting. However, I must take issue with the “counter stereotyping” you yourself are doing – and perhaps harming your “brown” child with at the same time.

    1) I have never, ever, in my entire life, rubbed the head of a brown child “to see what his/her hair feels like” nor do I know anyone of my acquaintance who has either. I have never witnessed it, nor met anyone who has witnessed this behavior. I have seen, for example, coaches rub the heads of their players as they exit the field and pat them on the shoulder, or even adults rub the head of a child affectionately – children of all colors. Please teach your brown child that every time a white adult rubs their head, it is not necessarily to “see what their hair feels like.”

    2) I have never claimed, nor told my children, nor had conversations with any of my acqaintance, that racism does not exist. To my best estimation, the only place you actually see anyone claiming that “white” people think racism no longer exists is in the media. I believe it exists; my white friends believe it exists; I have seen it and I have stood up against it when I have seen it.

    3) Will you teach your brown child to likewise “stand by” his other brown friends when they are accused of “acting white”? Will you help him push back against the critically harmful “grade shaming” perpetuated by some – that getting good grades,seeking academic success is somehow wrong or “white”?

    4) Will you teach your brown child that it is equally cruel to perpetuate stereotypes against white kids? Justifying cruelty to them with the charge of “white privilege” is wrong. Will you tell your brown child to stand by his white friend who, as another poster said, is last to be picked for a team – because of the stereotype that he couldn’t possibly be good at athletics? Will you tell him to stand by his friend while others around him laugh over “innocent” comedy routines making fun of how “white” some people are, how “awkward and nerdy” and “how they can’t dance”? Or will you teach him it is okay to laugh along because his white friend enjoys “white privilege” and therefore they can’t be hurt (or it is justifiable somehow)? Cruelty is cruelty.

    As another poster here said, I am all for communication. I raise these issues here not because I disagree with your post, but to add perspective to it.

    • Just wanted to reply to your point #1. Black hair is different in it’s fragility than white hair, and it is damaging to touch it. I am the mom of 5, and both my white and black children have had their heads touched in affection, but my white kids have NEVER had a person dig through and closely examine their hair like my black kid has. They have never had a grown person pull their curls out to see how they bounce, never had their style destroyed by another simply because they wanted to say “It’s so soft!”. This does happen, and happen more often than you can imagine, by compete strangers in public places. It’s a nightmare!

    • May I just share that I as a child have had straight haired (also white) children touch my hair without asking first, on at least 3 occasions. I am an adult now. I have also had a boy put pencils in my hair and marvel that they didn’t fall out – he was Pakistani. This was a while ago of course, but as a child it seemed people were allowed to touch my hair without my permission. I do not want my children to have that experience however well meaning.

    • FlaMom, thank God YOU have never done these things. That obviously means the author’s points are invalid as your experience MUST be reflective of all others. Good job clearing that up for us.

    • Well just because you have not seen or done it yourself does not mean it doesn’t happen. It has for sure happened to me on several occasions. So the suggestions she gave, although you may not need them, are real.

  34. I think talking about these issues is a start. And this is the only way we can start to heal and move forward as a nation. We certainly are not going to always agree but we need to see this for what it is. We all need to talk to each other, listen to others and learn from one another. We are living in different times now but are still dealing with issues from the past that have never been addressed.

  35. Thank you for writing. This is a great companion to the article in the Washington Post today about the scientific study showing that people generally and police officers specifically unconsciously assume black boys are older than they really are (and assume white boys are younger than they are).

  36. I disagree…. Raise a strong Man!!!!…respectful man… Polite man… When you say BLACK MAN you’re making him think he is different then other

  37. Well said. Thank you for writing this.

  38. Thank you for this extremely insightful and well-written piece. For those who object to the premise of raising awareness about the presence and impact of bias, recognize that there is a significant difference between (a) preparing children for navigating a world in which unconscious bias impacts the way people are perceived and responded to and (b) teaching people that all members of particular groups are untrustworthy. (Research has shown to the former to be helpful and adaptive, and the latter to be mal-adaptive and counter-productive.) For example, I think it is critical to teach adolescents (females and males) about dynamics related to sexual assault, the risks associated with accepting drinks from others, and the importance of friends looking out for each other when they attend parties, etc. I don’t do this with my daughter or son because I am promoting the idea that all men (or women) are terrible; I do this because I want them to be protected and look out for others, because I am aware that these dynamics exist within society. I don’t believe anyone would accuse me of having a “victim-mentality” for teaching this to my daughter now that she is in high school and has been invited to parties. Similarly, unconscious bias among Whites and people of color exists and can have dire (including life or death) consequences. These dynamics emerge during their pre-school years and only intensify as they get older. To simply ignore this puts our children at risk and only serves to maintain the status quo. Related to this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/28/why-prosecutors-keep-talking-about-tamir-rices-size-36-pants/ .

  39. I am mom of a white boy, and we are working on exactly what you say.

    With great privilege comes great responsibility – to support, to ally, to respect. To *not* make it all about us.

    I find the ‘small percentage of racists’ interesting, as a parallel to the caution that women take towards men. Sure, it’s #NotAllMen, but you can’t know which men (or in the racial case, which white people) will act on their misogynist or racist perceptions. With death as a realistic outcome, it is only common sense to help kids understand the potential situations.

    It still sucks, for both the women and POC who feel they need to act cautiously, and for the people who we act cautiously around.

  40. Wow! The pushback on this article is…..awe inspiring. It’s pure white privilege to say that talking about the fact of racism brings more racism. You want your kids to eat nutritious foods, right? Do you talk to them about eating nutritious, or do you NOT talk about it so they will be nutrition blind? If you are a christian, do you talk to your kids about that? Or do you want them to be religion blind? Of course not! That’s just ridiculous, right? If you want your kiddos to be aware of race, and it’s impact, aware of the simple fact that people ARE judged by the color of their skin, then you MUST talk about it.

  41. Thank you for advice only you can give us.

  42. Hi Maralee-just found this article and wanted to encourage you. I appreciate what you said as I am a white mom of black kids, two of whom are boys, both too old to be thought “cute & sweet”. As a family we have lost many white friends that we thought would understand because they had watched our boys grow up. (Have you heard ” but your boys are different!” yet? You probably will.) 🙁
    I, like some of your commenters, used to think that people are judged fairly-if you keep your nose clean and act respectfully you’ll be respected in return–but it’s not true. I hasn’t been true for my husband and it isn’t true for my children. We have to recognize that the rules are different for POC.
    Thank you for using your privilege to speak out!

  43. I am truly offended by this, let me explain why. As the parent of the white child, who is being taught to embrace our differences and appreciate and learn about all of the things that make us all different and the things that make us the same, please don’t for one second think that my white child is in any less danger than yours. When my child is in your care he runs into the very same racism that your child runs into in this world. Because in either situation, that child is not among his own people. Your people are no different than mine in being ” colirblind”. We are not doing either one a favor. Yet, my children’s friends are their friends and they like to be around each other, and that is what matters. Danger is everywhere. My children have questions though , and the biggest question I have from my children is this ” if the N words is so bad, why do the mostly black population of people, rappers, and gangsters alike, use it as a positive greeting and reference to each other, but the very moment it comes from my child’s mouth it is automatically racist and wrong? Please explain this so I can explain it to my sons. They already know that historically it was used a reference to create power in the times when our shameful white population owned slaves as a term to demean their sense of self. They know it’s a word that is hurtful and we forbid the use of in any setting , but you do not see the Jewish population referring to each other as kikes, or the Italians as wops, as these would be offensive too. So why?

    • What are you even talking about? You are offended because the OP is worried her son MIGHT GET KILLED if your kid does not stand up for him? Open your eyes. Your child is in WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY less danger than hers. And if you think differently, your head is deep in the sand.

      I’m also quite concerned that you think the issue is that “your child is not among his own people” when he is with “black children.” Yeah, racism definitely doesn’t exist. #sarcasm.

    • “Please explain this so I can explain it to my sons.”

      Every group has phrases or words that they say to each other because they are apart of the same group. When someone from the outside says it of course it’s not going to be taken well.

      “but you do not see the Jewish population referring to each other as kikes, or the Italians as wops, as these would be offensive too”

      I remember being in college and hearing Jewish students who were friends make jokes about being Jewish and cheap. I sat there and thought I damn well can’t say those things to them. But you have seen or heard Italian comedian and in general make other references to certain stereotypes.

    • HUH?! Reading is so fundamental! You missed the point altogether! SMH…

    • Marci, I’ll try explaining why POC can use otherwise offensive terms. It’s about power. When racists use the N word, it’s used with hate and superiority, designed to strip others of their humanity. (It also reveals the insecurities of the racists.) When POC use the N word among each other, it’s about taking that power away from the racists and owning it.

      Despite your experiences (which are not universal, another amazing white privilege thing), most marginalized groups do take the negative words and use them as a means of claiming that power. I’m a dyke, for example. I can self describe as a dyke and use that word among my fellow dykes, but I’d certainly prefer you not refer to me that way. I’m also queer, and same goes for that. I don’t call myself a bitch, but I know women who do and would be offended if a man called them bitches.

      I know that seems awry and maybe hypocritical, but it’s all about who’s using the pejorative and how. I’m not sure if that helps, ’cause when you’re in a position of privilege it’s hard to understand those who are marginalized.

      • Okay, so now my question changes a bit. First, I am not racist and I have never treated another human being differently than another, my friends and family are a wonderful mix of race and religion. I would never use a negative word to define anyone. I base my likes and dislikes on personality and how I am treated, basically, be nice to me and I will be nice to you. I talk to everyone whether I know you or not, and I am always pleasant. I am also, a huge supporter of the LGBT community. Anyway, to the change in my question, maybe a more direct question, my 13 year old son is a lover of rap music, he is autistic and listens everywhere we go. A lot of the words in his music are words that upset me when I hear them, the N word is one of many, but it’s very disturbing to me and he just follows along with what hes hearing, word for word. Within that context, will he be put into a situation that he cannot handle, if he uses that word within that context. We have always taught our children that the word is not a word that should ever be used, and yet, it’s in the very music he loves and there is no getting around that. He knows what it means and the history of why it’s not okay to use, so how is that okay? I’m asking for an opinion on how to handle a situation, the last thing I want to do is anger anyone on the basis of racism.i am asking so that I don’t come across as insensitive and nasty. Based on the comments after my post, apparently, I’m ignoranr, racist and a bitch, which I’m not. I’m asking how to appropriately teach so that I never come across as insensitive.

        • First you are none of those things. Possibly not as fine tuned with the racial injustices that occur in this county but a bad person you are not. I am Black and do not use the N word. My advice to you is to tell him not to say it period. I find it offensive even when singing along in a song. And frankly, you never know who will take offense and what they will do. So just wash it from his vocab. I appreciate you asking though. It is honest dialogues like this that will get us where we need to be.

  44. This was a well written slap in the face to white people. How can we not teach our white children about racism? It is around us all the time. White people get accused of racism all the time. We are afraid to ask questions of the black community for fear of angering the person we ask. So we walk around ignorant of social faux pas. White people aren’t only accused of racism from the black community, but the Indian’s, Asian’s, Latino’s, Native American’s, and every other race that is not white. We get persecuted for things that happen when most of us were not born.

    I will have you know, I am vigilant against ANYONE who looks suspicious, i.e. walking across MY backyard uninvited, walking around on a sunny day with their hoodie up.

    If a neighbor called social services because your children were doing what all the other white children (all the children really, it should not be about color) were doing, then you need to discuss it with them – not assume (like you are saying white people are doing to black people) that white people are not teaching their children properly about racism.

    I am 36 years old, I was born in Louisiana, I am white, my God Parents are Creole/ Cajun. I have grown up around black people and I work in an industry that is around black children. I do pat their heads, pinch their cheeks, hug them, joke with them and talk to them. I have never been so offended by any of their parents as I have been by reading this piece of offensive racist propaganda.

    I walk through this world with a bulls eye on my back because of my skin color. Way back when, it could be said that of black people. I’m not saying it’s fair, I’m not saying it’s right. It is the way the world is now. If the black community and all the other races want understanding from the white community maybe they should give understanding to the white community as well. After all the world cannot heal if we don’t come together as a people not as a race. We all bleed the same color – red.

  45. Of course these are important points, but I want to point out that many adults (white, in my experience) tend to see ALL male teenagers as thugs. I was surprised to learn this when, at a party at my house when neighborhood boys were basking on my porch, an elderly friend said that if she didn’t know that I knew these boys, she’d be terrified of them.

    My own son, who is white, had to navigate the police when he was a teenager. He chose to dress in a challenging manner, (duh: teenagers) but he was very smart and kept himself out of trouble. He was pretty upset over how his friends were treated, though. This is a very white small town.

    Some things, alas, are universal. For a black child, though, the outcome can be deadly. All my son & his friends had to fear was being arrested on ridiculous charges.

  46. When our (white) kids were young, in the 1970s, we lived on a very integrated street and all their closest friends were African-American. I remember the disbelief on my son’s face when I explained to him that some people might be afraid of his best friend because of the color of his skin. My heart aches every day that the awful things we feared for the wonderful children we knew 40 years ago are still happening to them and their children.

  47. As the pretty Irish looking mom of a kind, thoughtful 6’5″ son ehose father is Papua New Guinean, I have to totally agree that you have to talk with friends and families of friends. Once my son reached 15 or so, the world’s perception of him changed too. He learned to just say, you can do that but I can’t. His wife, who is also white, and I have both seen store clerks keep an eye on him until they realized he was with one of us. Then you could SEE them put their guard down. He deals with it well, but it never stops.

    Like the black partner is a major Chicago law firm who was asked by a summer associate if he was lost and could he help him find his way out.

    To those who have said they won’t raise their child that way — please rethink. It really is dangerous out their for our darker skinned children.

  48. So, your telling me, that white people do not know how to treat black people. Your children need to be told not to be racist & never to leave their black friend behind in times of need…….. You do not deserve to be in my black child’s life…. You’re a mess. But thankfully not every white person is like you!!!!!

  49. I wish I had the guts to send this to the white parents of my son. So truthful & powerful! Even though we live in a diverse (black/white) suburb, I don’t think they have a clue. Thanks for the inspiration to perhaps start a conversation.

  50. Interesting message, and I believe it is necessary in part … but the black community also needs to take part. I with mine, you with yours, and hopefully we, we can develop Martin Luther’s dream where it is the content of character that counts and not the color of anyone’s skin

  51. I have brown kids, that might pass for white. In my head, I think they are. I mean I am, so aren’t my kids?

    But I do think about those “hidden” rules that my brown kids might need to know to be successful. Not trying to run from the cops is a good one!

    More than that, the reminder to stand by our friends, or the stranger who’s getting harassed, is a take home message for all of us. I watched a black woman get arrested the other day (by 4 white male police officers) and more than anything, I wanted to be sure she was okay. But I was scared (and wanted to be polite) so I stayed in the shadows. I won’t do that next time. I’ll bare witness and let her know I am with her, and I’ll teach my kids to do the same.

    Thank you.

  52. I am a fellow white foster/adoptive parent. I think you have a problem. Your hope is too tied to this world. You are going to be disappointed. The promise/hope of the New Testament for the believer is suffering. Teach your child to suffer well; not that he shouldn’t have to suffer at all. Teach him to advocate for the poor and marginalized, the widow and the orphan, the sufferers of injustice. Please do not teach him to be consumed with the way others treat him and see him – do not teach him to be a victim. You can help your son deal with a cruel world, but the people of this world are not going to change for your son or anyone else not named Jesus.

    • Excuse me? Yes. We are called to suffer for the Gospel – in this case, her son is not suffering for the Gospel.

      God is righteously angry with injustice. He sent the whole Israelite nation into exile to Babylon because of their unrighteousness – the most blatant being idolatry, but God describes them in Jeremiah 9:6 as a people who heaped oppression upon oppression, (in other passages against the fatherless and widows and poor). He then asks rhetorically in Jeremiah 9:9 if he should punish a nation such as this. In Hebrews 13 we’re called to go outside and suffer in the camp with those who are oppressed and outcast, (and this is what Maralee has done by bringing outcasts into her home). God hates oppression and injustice, including racism. What about Miriam getting leprosy because of her racial prejudices toward Moses’ wife, Zipporah, (a Cushite, and historically a darker skinned people)? Even if it’s not because of the color of her skin, it was definitely because she was a Cushite AKA discrimination against a person because of them belonging to a people perceived as inferior, (Numbers 12).

      Also we’re called to be a light in a dark world, ministers of reconciliation. Justice and grace go hand in hand. The pastor whose wife was just shot by two black intruders sent a message of justice and forgiveness – he was thankful that they were ascertained so they could no longer hurt others, but he wanted to forgive them. Piper just wrote a blog post about loving our enemies, where he cites a scenario of if a parent should hire back a repentant babysitter who has sexually exploited that parent’s child. Yes, forgive them, but No! Don’t rehire them! No one can biblically call a child to suffer in that case. Biblically, one would seek justice for the hurt child to the fullest extent of the law. Because biblically, that babysitter needs restorative punishment. They need a sting of grief and a weight of shame to stay away from that sin – that is true repentance – and that repentance comes along with justice. Sexual exploitation is clear, but racism is subtle. Racism exploits individuals and a whole people. It’s wrong. When a group of pastors were challenged with whether to act out against the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” That is how serious racism is. Holocaust serious.

      And btw, she is *also* speaking to white parents who take their kids to church, (last paragraph Maralee includes “[my son who has] sat next to your son at church”). So, this could be a subtle rebuke to those who SHOULD care.

  53. My son’s best friend is “black” . They are both 20 years old and have been best friends since they were about 11. I’ve had the conversations you advise with the boys. I love this kid like he’s my own. We’ve discussed subtle and not so subtle racism that exists. I do have one question. My son’s friend identifies as “black”. His father is black, his mother is white. His father has never been in his life. He has an extended family with members of both races. By limiting his identity to “black” doesn’t that diminish his mothers heritage? Why are folks of mixed races always considered “black”, like our president, for example? I’m just as proud of my father’s German heritage as I am my mother’s Irish heritage. Given this wonderful young man was raised by a strong loving devoted single white woman, doesn’t it cheat him of his heritage when society only considers him black?

    • Started Here w/White America’s Race Rules: The one-drop rule is a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States asserting that any person with even one ancestor of sub-Saharan-African ancestry (“one drop” of black blood) is considered to be black (Negro in historical terms).

    • No, it does not diminish his heritage. He can identify any way he wishes and, as the world likely sees him as black and not biracial, it is likely he identifies this way. No one else can dictate this to anyone.

  54. Thank you for writing this. My wife and I have sons who are biracial and either of us could have written this. Spot on!

  55. Thank you for your simple and direct message. I look forward to going back and reading more of your work. I believe that the most effective transmission of cultural norms and values takes place in the context of family, for better (as you have identified above) or for worse (where families actively perpetuate racism). And yes, I am judging racists. This is not an “agree to disagree” scenario, it is a moral and social imperative. Silence is agreement. If we want to change our culture of racism, we must transmit the change we want to see to our children. It’s not enough to simply shield your (white) child from racism and never speak of it. Saying nothing means the racists win, by default. Parents have a great deal of power, not only over what a child hears, but also in how they interpret and yes, judge what they hear.

  56. Thank you, I have avery young daughter. My family contains only the pasty white who can easily miss the priviledge we swim in. I understand the confusion of the other white folk who compare our experiences of being outgroup in a few circumstances with the systemic and structural negative assumptions people of color experience. Having never faced life in their shoes we make ignorant comparisons. I was taught that police officers represented safety and that I should turn to them at need. Because for me that if a mostly safe assumption, by the racial and gender prejudices of our culture I am officially harmless and so not likely to trigger foolish panic in an armed person. I want to not be part of the problem and I want her to understand the reality of our culture and the priviledge she will experience. I want her to not be a powerless complicit bystander but to use her priviledge status to help defuse the dangerous fears of the unconsciously racist. In a lovely book (The opposite of Worry) about anxiety in children they talk about being the second unfrightened chicken. Meaning that when people are frightened they look for evidence around them that their group is frightened, and if you can turn calm eyes to them it is easier for them to see past their fear because your calm speaks more deeply than anything you can say that there isn’t anything worthy of terror going on. I will teach her that as people age their laughter is more likely to represent discomfort than humor and that the bully doesn’t know that the bystanders who are laughing may be very uncomfortable and not know what they can do. I will try to teach her that everyone deserves to have their personal space respected no matter how beautiful their hair may seem. We will try to raise her to understand that the content of someones character can be strained by how they are treated and that it calls on all of us to “look to like, if looking liking move” because there are many grumpy marvelous people out there, and if you had to put up with they day they had you might not feel like a ray of sunshine either. I know I can’t truly understand the fatigue of dealing with the racial prejudice in our culture, but I will at least try not to add to it. I do wonder if any useful research has been done on how best to defuse the irrational race based/influenced panic that makes the life of black men and boys so dangerous. Things for bystanders to do that would help lessen rather than heighten the tension. Thank you for reminding me of this parenting priority. Now I just need to figure out what to do about it.

    • Very well stated! Thank-you!

      You wondered, “if any useful research has been done on how best to diffuse the irrational race based/influenced panic that makes the life of black men and boys so dangerous.”

      I’m reminded of a recent post by a university professor on his way to teach his class when he was stopped because he “fit the description.” As he was being handcuffed and people were just walking by, unconcerned about him or his fate, he noticed a woman in a red coat who was just watching. He wrote that he silently begged her not to leave. She didn’t and when the ordeal was over, she came over and asked if he was ok, they embraced, and he thanked her for not leaving.

      I thought about the many times I have walked past certain situations, wondering what was going on, and vowed that, going forward, I’m going to “be a presence” in the hope that my presence may be the difference in the outcome.

      It may be that YOUR presence at some time will contribute to diffusing an irrational race based/influenced situation…

    • Thank you for teaching your daughter. You’ve taught me, too.

  57. Pingback: To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends  | diversity | equity | inclusion

  58. Amazing message
    As a white parent, I thought I’d done this and then realized how little I understood when my friends 14yr old son was walking her tiny dog in the high school field. He was just heading home, poop bag in hand, when police cars raced towards him from both ends of the field. He’s a shy kid with painful brittle bone disease. He was tossed to the ground and handcuffed. The dog was running loose and he was crying.
    He was put in a police car in horrible pain for 15 minutes until his mom came looking for him. Turned out, “2 black teens” had robbed someone several neighborhoods away.

    I knew my white sons would never be treated this way.

    Hopefully, I did a much better job after that.

    My youngest son was in a university hip-hop crew and was stopped and carded several times when they were out together. He was the only non-POC & was never stopped unless he was with his friends of color. It’s too easy for we white parents to pretend everything is OK because for our kids, it is, but when his best friend gets rid of his beloved dreds because police keep stopping him you have to understand that even though he and my son are eqal in every way, my son will never face the roadblocks he will face for no other reason than skin color.

    • The world needs to know something simple and easy to solve the racial divide etc and here it is, SIMPLY PUT, “TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU YOURSELF WANT TO BE TREATED.” LOVE AND PEACE TO ALL. Listen to John Lennon’s lyrics and song written,”living in harmony,” and truly understand or even my favorite lyrics and song sang by a man’s man, Louie Armstrong.”Wonderful World, OH YEA.” PEACE OUT EVERYONE IN 2016, LET’S GET IT RIGHT:-) LOVE ALL YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

  59. I’m truly sorry you have to discuss those things with your son. None of us should ever have to worry about these things because of the color of our skin or some other onborn fact out of our control. My best friend and housemate opened my eyes to the experiences that people of color go through on a daily basis. The quiet slights (such as layaway items mysteriously disappearing after you’ve been paying on them) or overt (like the cops getting called on you while you’re walking into the home you rent).

    That being said, I have noticed that the location you live has a very huge influence on race relations. For example, Cali and large cities in the Northeast are light years ahead of the South, Midwest, and small towns in their treatment of other races. I like living in these mixed areas precisely because of the freedoms they afford for live and let live, along with the wide variety of people I meet and get to know.

    On the flip side, I grew up in an all white small town. The pressure to conform was immense. (God forbid you dress slightly different, attend the wrong church, or wear pink on Friday not Wednesday).I love the freedom I’m afforded by living in a mixed area with friends of varying backgrounds.

    We need to live and let live, but also not jump at shadows. If we communicate, we can stop assumptions before they take over. If those of us living in tolerant areas move, we must all speak up for each other… Even when our kids ask for snacks and play barefoot. (You’re welcome in my yard, at my door, any day… Just please don’t try to remove your football from my tree branches by breaking them with a hockey stick… True story.)

    Till then, I’ll love your children as mine, and agree to see you as citizens of my neighborhood…just come visit! 🙂

  60. Beautiful post; ran across it by accident. I think preparing children for possible (or probable) dangers is incredibly wise, and the accusations of brainwashing children into victimhood by warning them about potential or probable danger is offensive and ignorant. Thank you for sharing your wisdom; it’s worth taking to heart.

  61. Humans were not created by god. I find that statement (presented as fact?) offensive.

  62. Amen, and thank you. I am also the mother of a Black son.

  63. I’m doing the best I can do to raise my white sons to have respect for all individuals. The ‘N’ word is not a word that my husband nor I use..ever. That word is not allowed in our house. My concern is that my 7 year old recently learned this word from not one, but two different black 7 year old boys. What am I supposed to do??? I tried to explain that this is a very ugly word and what it is supposed to mean. I don’t want him using this word not realizing its intent and subsequently getting in trouble or a fight. He doesn’t understand why if it is a horrible word used against persons of color, why a person of color would use it…. How do I explain that????? This parenting thing is tough!!! Help!!!

    • Explain to him that certain words or phrases are used by different groups of ppl especially those who share similar back ground or culture. Tie it too a movie or cartoon where the characters of a particular group or faction have words or phrases they only se among each other.

    • Sometimes you can’t explain things, you just give facts. Your child’s friends can say it, but your child cannot.

  64. Being a white mom of a son whose BF is black, all I can say is thank you and spot on.

  65. Why do you assume “white parents” are all the same? How do you know if they believe that racism exists or not? Who made you think you know better than others just because your kid is black? Race is complex, believe it or not, even for “white parents.” You need to acknowledge your own racism in generalizing and stereotyping all white people as ignorant and inconsiderate subtle racists who indulge in their privilege without a care in the world.

    • This is a very privileged way of thinking. Good for discussion, but privileged.

      • “This is a very privileged way of thinking. Good for discussion, but privileged.”

        So is having the ability to label to anything you disagree with ‘privileged thinking’. Must be nice to have that ace-in-the-hole at all times. Someone disagree with my viewpoint? Why bother trying to understand it or even humor it, when I can wave my magic ‘privilege’ wand and instantly dismiss it!

        Progress!

  66. It’s sad that parents of a black son always have to have “the talk” as he becomes a man. White families don’t have to do this, e.i. don’t drive in a white area if there is ANYTHING wrong with your car, never speed, at all, etc.

  67. Seriously?! You want me to teach the children that there are DIFFERENCES between people of different skin color….not happening. We are all the same. We were put here by God to love and be loved. We are respectful to everyone. We are courteous to everyone. When we stop teaching our children that there’s a difference we will all become one big family.

  68. I am the mother of a 5 yo caucasian little girl. My nephew is a 7 yo african American little boy. I also have an african American little boy and baby girl that are fosters. I understand the stigmatism that is put on them. That said, my daughter should not have to do anything other than respect and love all.
    If all people(black, white, Brown, red, blue, green….) would teach there children respect of others (no matter color) maybe our country could move forward and see better!

    therhttp://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S41FjIpPJToe children

  69. I’m already doing most of the things that you have mentioned. And black or white, I don’t touch anyone’s hair to see what it feels like. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this and that you have to teach your children about stupid people–of any race.

  70. Speechless… And we wonder why racism won’t die?

  71. First of all many good points. What is never discussed because of course everything is the white man’s fault.

    What about the black man’s image many end up in prisons, listen to rap music that is aggressive, has a style that looks aggressive with tattoos ect many join gangs.

    Look I know most blacks are great people but, I think there is an aggressive image that they created that should be toned down.

    Maybe people would view this race differently. No matter what you say when music like f@$! The Police or what ever the songs of today are made they wI’ll intimidate people. These are images that are not forgotten.

    So this community is creating imagery that is intimidating and then getting mad because people are afraid. By the way I liked NWA back in the day..I’m just giving an example.

    When the average American is thinking 4.0 as it relates to AA’s and not gangs and guns I bet the perception will become reality. Just a thought.

    • “I think there is an aggressive image that they created that should be toned down.”

      What about the the other side of the image being promoted? Black ppl don’t own networks or even the companies where the music is distributed but yet the perception still exists. Why is that?

      “When the average American is thinking 4.0 as it relates to AA’s and not gangs and guns I bet the perception will become reality.”

      More AA are in college than there are in prison but yet the perception still remains why is that?

  72. Thank you so much for writing this. I just read the whole piece to my two white sons and substituted the name of their cousin where you wrote “my son.” I was in tears by the end but they were listening. This is such a hard conversation to have because it seems there are so many ways to do it wrong. But I appreciate the chance to do it right using your words.

  73. Also. For the record I tell my white kid the
    Same things. Don’t disrespect the police, people in general and certainly don’t be stupid like walking through the neighbors yard with your hood up at night. It’s called trespassing… You could get hurt or shot. Honestly this is so ignorant it makes me sick. its ignorant people that just keep this going, black and white. Why can’t you find something nice to say about one your sons white friend’s parents? Could it be you are racist yourself?

  74. This is a stupid post. You can’t inform other people how to parent their kids. They do it how they do it (for better or worse) and you teach your kid to deal with other people’s brilliance, kindness, or stupidity.
    I could write the same thing to the parents of my ‘daughters’ friends about how you should encourage people to stop gender discrimination. Women (of all colors) are treated differently every single day in the home, workplace, etc, etc, etc. Cmon! Stop acting like you can make people parent their kids the way you want them to. Lead by example for goodness sake.

  75. As a white person, thank you for this. As a mother of a son, I know how much I worried about him doing stupid teenage things. It takes my breath away to know how much worse it is for you and your son. I will share and stand with you. God help us change this country.

  76. Thank you so much. Your heartfelt comments are powerful and they resonate with my own parental mindset. My husband and I (both African American) have raised a son and daughter. Growing up as military children in various foreign countries, they came to be adults once we returned to the US. They (with our help) came to understand the particular racial issues that seemed inherent in the US culture. You are right to encourage people who did not experience life from the black child’s perspective to consider your child’s feelings and need for safety. It is such a simple yet poignant and powerful parental petition…I pray that others hear it in that spirit and comply. One person at a time, we do make the change. Never give up. God be with us all.

  77. Hi Maralee! Just wanted to let you know how much I commend and respect your courage in posting your letter above. As a White Mom that grew up in the 70’s in Atlanta, I knew that people were very different, very quickly. In Kindergarten, my best friend was Lori Rodriquez; a tall, skinny, very pretty deep caramel colored girl. She always wore her hair in those big, puffy pony tails. I loved her b/c she was Lori…she made me laugh! I learned at an early age in Church AND it was REINFORCED at home that Jesus loves all the little children “Red, Yellow, Black and White, they’re ALL precious in His sight!” I’ve been blessed enough to have many, many friends of different colors and cultures over the years. When I had my son, who is now 11; at age 5 I started enforcing in him what was enforced in me. The Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You, in Matthew where it says that To love the Lord thy God with all your heart mind body and soul is the Greatest Commandment and the second is Love thy neighbor as thyself. It breaks my heart to see where our Country is now as far as the “progress” we have made since the Civil Rights Movement. I know all I can do to really make a difference and be the example God needs me to be in front of ALL of my son’s friends….which include White, Black, Mexican, Russian, Ukrainian etc… As far as being the “White Parent” to my son’s Black friends….I love them like my own….They’ve been all together in school since Kindergarten and they are now 1/2 way through 6th! I pray that God will show us a way to all peacefully come together and stand as one, especially with what it happening in the World!!!! May the Lord Bless and Keep you, May He make His face to shine upon you and give you and your boys peace. Sincerely, Meredith

  78. “Racism” works both ways. I am a white woman who just buried my black significant other. Much of his family was cold to me at his service. (I was the only white person there.). His family talked about his wife (ex of 10 years) but little about my dedication to him through his illness. Previously his mother told me he could do better than me which he didn’t agree with. When he was present they were cordial. When he was gone they were thoughtless and cruel. I agree we need to look at how we treat people but I think there is a lot of “colorblindness” in colored people too. We all should first be willing to be the person we want our neighbor to be then we would be offering the world what we expect others to be. We are mirrors.

    • Not saying it is justified by I think a lot of the dealings they had with you is probably based on mistrust of previous interactions with white ppl. Someone on a message board had similar experience. She had a female friend who was black. The family treated her well when the woman was alive but when the woman died they were cold and thoughtless.

      • Yeah, it’s called black people being racist. It’s a real concept! You aren’t the innocent saints you’re making your race out to be!

        • Is it them being racist because they think they’re race is superior? Racism is built on the belief that one’s race is better than another. I don’t think it is as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

    • I agree with this, and guessing by the life history of your husband (ex of 10 years, an illness and a remarriage), you’re dealing with a generation that greatly struggles with all of the bent up hate they’ve seen their whole lives.

      I’m only 27, and I have seen racism rampant in the places I’ve lived in the South, but my “colored” and educated peers have a closer perspective to you, that they need to mirror what they want to see in our culture. They don’t agree with how older generations respond.

      I’m in a teacher certification program right now, that leads to a Masters in Education. Most teachers in America are now getting diversity training similar to the one I’m getting in my program, where we learn to teach children how to deal with diversity and how to recognize racism.

  79. Pingback: To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends | Dancy Communications Network

  80. GOOD READ! Of course, if people who live in lily white neighborhoods didn’t adopt inter-racially …or conversely, if those who adopted inter-racially made sure to live ion more integrated neighborhoods with fully integrated schools this would be far less necessary….

  81. I appreciate you making a point. I especially appreciate you, as a white person making this point. Even if this was posted in an exact same tone, words, and hopes, if it came from a person of color, it would have been taken the same way. It seems like the world needs white people to “translate” in order to really hear it. So thank you.

  82. Thanks for sharing this. The news is full of so many stories of things going wrong after the individuals have been behaving badly, cases where screaming “racism” seems an overreaction at best. But reading how you have to teach your son not to pull his hood over his face, or take a shortcut through a neighbor’s back yard made something click with me. I appreciate it.

  83. This is so beautifully written and I have too many words in support of everything you wrote, as well as tears in my eyes. Thank you for writing this. xoxo

  84. Thank you so much Maralee,

    I’m always so angered by racism, and what proceeds out of my heart isn’t always as lovely as this post. I live in China, where people are racist not because they mean to be, but because it’s just such a homogenous society, they don’t even realize they’re racist. But the US is still such a split nation, it’s quite sad. My racial background is complicated, but even being perceived as “white” sometimes, other times not, brought a lot of my own experience with racism. If you’re interested in my story, Maralee, I share some about it in this post, http://vanessajencks.com/2015/10/racism-in-china-the-30-ways-english-teachers-can-do-something-about-it/.

    Teachers looking to help students with diversity, my post linked above could help you, and I’d be glad to give you some links to more about diversity training, including how to diversify PTA’s so parents of different backgrounds can connect with one another.

    Again, thank you for your voice Maralee! I PTL for your voice and I’m thankful that you spoke up despite the fears expressed. And thank you for loving your little boy and helping others to love him, too.

  85. Interesting post and interesting comments; lots to mull over.

    But, on a lighter note, I will touch your child’s head to see what it feels like it. I do it to all kids. Ask my son, who gets annoyed with me because I am often touching his head … as are others. He has red, curly hair which gets lots of comments and touches (which I’ve always found to be interesting, far and away the most from older women of color)!

  86. I bet you treat the white side of your family harsher and the black side with kid gloves, so now which race is privileged? There is a real mass hysteria going around called BLM Syndrome and Black Privilege coupled with black racism against whites. It is truly horrifying when a white person sees white hatred from their own white people. You chose to make this mess as in diluting your white heritage, now stop whining and deal with it and try not blame white folks for your bad choices in life.

  87. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

  88. Thank you so much for this. Our family also comes in different colors. Adoptive mommas unite!

  89. Kudos and thank you for writing this. – from a white mom with black friends.

  90. I am the mom of a 15 yr old black boy who is 6 feet tall. He wants to wear his hoodie up all the time, he’s so shy. I had to explain to him how our white neighbors might see him only because im so afraid for him. I never wanted to make him feel victimized but i have to prepare him for society. Hes a good student, plays violin, the light if my world. Hes starting to see how people react to him in public. And it breaks my heart. By the way im black. His father is a cop and im afraid everytime he leaves my home!!

    • Thanks for enlightening me to this reality and reminding me of my privileged place and the responsibility I have to use it. We live in Canada in a city where there are not many black people at all but nevertheless, some (along with our First Nations people) are regularly subjected to racial profiling not only by the police but also by the general public. We will be speaking to our half Chinese children and friends about this.

  91. Thank you so much for this post.
    I have shared it far and wide on Facebook.
    Much Love to you and yours! <3

  92. Just remember racism is a two way street.

  93. Maralee, thank you for writing this. I am also a mom trying to protect young people and I know the need is great. Please check out BE SAFE The Movie that helps youth age 12 and up learn what to do when they meet the police. Parents need teaching tools and I hope you agree that BE SAFE can help anyone! more at http://www.BeSafeTheMovie.com

  94. Thank you for the reminder! The bit about, [just because you’re not experiencing racism doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist] made me think. Not that I’m oblivious. I’ve been yelling at the radio for years, “What do you mean racism is a thing of the past?!” But the truth is I was really just thinking about racism towards thuggish youth. And the vicious cycle to which we’ve confined many of our black-brethren. Not so much in my thinking were the children which experience this prejudice based purely on their skin color.

  95. I have always taught my children to stick up for everyone and don’t watch anyone get bullied or hurt without stepping in. They grew into adults that DO see the racism that threatens their black friends. and fellow human beings. My children are half Cuban and look Hispanic, and I have also had to explain to them why some people feel that they should have to show ID in public to prove they are not illegal immigrants in their own homeland.

  96. I’m the white mom of a white son, and to be honest it had never once occurred to me that I would have to have that conversation with my son. I have no idea what it’s like to be racially discriminated against, and I hadn’t thought even once about how teaching colour blindness can be damaging. Thank you so much for posting your article. It’s given me a powerful tool to raise my son to act in a positive way. I’m genuinely grateful.

  97. I was so proud when my son gave me a “#1 mom” ornament and the mom was black. I knew I was correctly raising “colorblind” children. However, some of the points you made were things I NEVER thought of telling my children. Thank you for sharing this with us. I still have hope that we can erase bigotry and hatred one day- at least I pray that we can. Thank you.

  98. The fact that this author thinks this is simply a black issue is self-centered and self-serving. Let’s face it, this crosses race, socioeconomic, ethnic, physical, sexuality and religious lines. How many, like me, had to answer the question, “Mommy, why do they hate us?” After 9-11? The conversation is universal and should be had in the large context in which it exists followed by many examples representing the diverse reality from which we live. Sometimes I want to tell someone who thinks it’s all about their skin color or sexuality or religion or….. to get over themselves – we all deal with it on a regular basis. And I hope this black mother is teaching her son that some of the worse racism and danger he faces comes from our own black community.

    • Clearly you didn’t read about the author because she’s a white woman who adopted a black child(ren). And he won’t likely experience “racism” from the black community–a community which you have no experience with any way, form, or fashion.

      • “He won’t likely experience racism from the black community.”

        Not true based on my life and work experiences. Look at the research on how black teens are treated by their black peers correlated to shades of skin, texture of hair, socioeconomics, and school performance etc. Lived it, saw it and then was curious enough to study it and become more informed.

  99. It brings tears to my eyes to think of having to tell kids that they shouldn’t play hide n seek in the neighborhood because they will be targeted as thugs because of the colour of their skin. And to think of having to worry about your son because he is turning into a man that will be mistrusted and maltreated all the while the culture around us suggests this isn’t so. What a frustrating and unjust world we live in.
    I’m sorry that this is reality.
    I have tried my hardest to educate my kids about social justice and racism. I hope for the best for all kids.

  100. There is white privilege, there is male privilege, there is socio-economic privilege. There is the privilege of being tall, blonde, buxom.

    I am not going to treat your son – or daughter – different from the way I treat my own children and extended (which includes a wide spectrum of colors) family.

    And the number one rule is : Safety First.

    When my babies were babies instead of the 30 years old things they are now we played the “What If ” game.

    It goes like this: Watching some movie – or G-D forbid – the news and seeing some tragedy, I would ask “What if that happened to you? What could that person – or you in that situation – have done to bring about a better outcome?”

    And I’ll leave this here: I long for the day when we stop saying race. Race is a social construct. Even saying human race.

    We are the human species. Height, weight, skin color, hair and eye color, hair texture…..buxom-ness…are variations on a theme.

  101. I’m a white guy from the Midwest where everything used to be ‘black and white’, who’s never had any problems with any race because that’s the way I was raised, but I was not insulated from the problems some of my friends had. I married a young lady from Hawaii of Japanese ancestry. (This was over 40 years ago.) We married in the contiguous 48 states and had no problems with family or friends. On our honeymoon traveling across the US to the west coast we encountered a couple ‘experiences’ from restaurants who thought she was Asian, Native American, or Mexican. Years later we experienced more subtle ‘shunning’ (if you will) in Canada. Fortunately, we raised our children in the Islands where this behavior is not nearly as pronounced, and schooled them somewhat on how things may be in their out-of-state travels. Our kids have seen and heard of many problems in the US, but they have been accepting of others and have never to my knowledge had any problems here or on the US mainland, where one (unmarried) lives. While there is still racial bias to a certain extent in the US, I feel that their home and social environment had a lot to do with their social and professional acceptance by all colors. ( I don’t know if the ‘Hawaii mystique’ had anything to do with this or not.)

  102. Sorry for getting off track. The point is that spoke with our kids about being targeted from either side since we do have a little racism here on both sides.

  103. You know… I took a class on WOMEN IN HISTORY, at the University of Oregon (Liberal Diverse University) and was the only white person in the class. Nowhere was it advertised as a “black only” class. When the students stated that rape for a black woman was 10x worse than rape for a white woman (just because she was black) I objected, and had students standing on their desktops screaming at me and spitting on me. My “White Privilege” kept me from fully understanding sexual assault…. And, even though the Professor wrote (A+ Best Paper in the Class)…she still gave me a C for the term, because I needed to know what it was like to be discriminated against. What she didn’t know…because she didn’t bother to get to know me… was that I was a “Whistleblower” plaintiff in a major caselaw Civil Rights discrimination case (Freitag v Ayers)… because I was a female in a predominantly male environment. I lost my career, home, benefits, retirement, my family was threatened with violence and our home was broken into and trashed 30+ times…and, I spent several decades in hearings, investigations, trial, uncompensated traveling…. And, yet at no time would I have ever thought to deprive my male coworkers of their Civil Rights due to their gender…or, inflict antisocial behavior upon those with more pigment in their skin than my bleached out genetics. In fact my greatgrandmother was Black Cherokee, and my father had red skin and kinky black hair. And, the loves of my life (granddaughters) are mixed genetics with beautiful brown eyes, brown skin and caramel colored hair. And, I fear for their future. Because too many will use “White Privilege” and “Black/Red/Yellow/ Victim” as excuses for antisocial duplicity. May be that I don’t see White Privilege, because I don’t see black skin as a means to judge character.

  104. re the comments –

    help stamp out ultracrepidarianism

  105. Wow! Thanks for sharing. This resonated with me BIG TIME! The way media presents Arabs & Muslims (origin & religion) and the distorted assumptions and portrayals made by most raises many red flags of hypocrisy and racism. Bigotry is alive and well! Yet, Many people turn a blind eye to this injustice while fighting anti-semitism. Guess what? Arabs are semites too! Ignorance is not a bliss anymore. Ignorance is costly to say the least. Thanx for being among the educated FEW

  106. Racism is a double standard used against white people here in America. It always has been, no matter what people say. I could care less about those who complain about “white this, and white that.” I know who likes me and who does not and I have never let people who do not like the fact that I am white get the best of me. I am not naive and I am not stupid when it comes to race relations.

  107. It’s great to read the comments from those who find this post to be a useful piece of information for them. What is telling, however, are the commenters who respond with, “Yeah, but…” Those are informative, too, becuase they let us know what we’re up against and why the status quo will be hard to change. Every one of those comments is another way of saying “Yeah, but nothing should change for your black son because…[insert excuse of choice here: (a) blacks are also racist, (b) I teach my kid that everyone is the same, (c) I like touching everyone’s hair, (d) I’m 1/64 black Cherokee so anything I do is okay, (e) I’m nice to everyone, (f) I don’t care, or (g) if we ignore this and don’t talk about it, it will go away.”] Until we get to a point where people instead think, “Yes, America should be better for your black son and black people generally, how can I help?” racism will survive as strong as ever.

    I find it fascinating that people who think black people should be treated as they are use the same reasons as those who thought black people should be slaves or should be on the wrong side of Jim Crow, and they don’t even realize it. Yes, those reasons include “Well, black people weren’t nice to me.” What?? All black people don’t want to lick your boots? I’m shocked. SHOCKED. You’d think that after centuries of oppression black people would wake up every day and say, ” white people are the best!” No?

    Much credit to the white people who get it and who want to change that history and make it better, but it’s a shame that there are so many white people who can get so easily butthurt about how black people feel today and at the same time fight to remain ignorant of why black people feel that way. Rest assured, it’s not because they had the nerve to talk about racism.

  108. This is a good article, but please don’t forget that your child may be the bully too. Just because they have a different skin tone and just because you try to teach them the right things doesn’t mean they will always be well behaved. Regardless of whatever skin tone they have. Case in point. I know a kid that was bullied severely. He could have been killed. In fact the bully slammed the victims head through glass! The population is mostly lightly toned skin. The bully happened to have a dark tone to his skin. Because the powers that be were more worried about being called racist by the family of the darker skin toned individual, they did nothing to the bully. He was not even suspended from school! It was apalling. In fact the dark toned individual claimed the lighter toned individual called him a racist word, which is false, but even if it were true it would not have warranted the nearly deadly reaction. I can guarantee you if the shoe was on the other foot the lighter toned kid would have been suspended and likely transferred to a different school. So please – I get where you are coming from in this article. But please, please – realize that just because a child has darker toned skin, and just because they are taught all the right things at home, doesn’t mean that they can’t sometimes be the instigator! Can’t we look beyond skin tone and look at the behaviors of ALL children and adults?

  109. First, thank you for speaking up and sharing your fears and concerns. It’s fundamentally unfair to be told that the things you are afraid of don’t exist, because it does. Racism exists and anyone who doubts it is living in denial of their own. The things you talk to your son about are things that happen and it’s sad and scary for anyone who goes through them or sees them in one’s community or on the news.

    What I want you to understand is that just because you are preparing your son for the worst that can happen, doesn’t mean the worst always will. Just because the stuff that happens on the news is out there, doesn’t mean that everybody thinks or feels that way. There are still far more loving, embracing, uplifting people in the world than there are xenophobes. Prepare your son for the harshness but teach him there are good people too. Your fears are perfectly valid, but don’t let them become his so much that he closes himself off to the good. That is a wall that once built is hard to take down.

  110. This was a beautiful message. I am a white mother but I promise to stand by, and teach my children to stand by the black people of our counrty.

    Thank you for explaining what the orherside is like. Just because we don’t live it is no excuse for us not to understand and prevent it.

  111. Thank you Maralee for sharing this post, it’s much appreciated.

    As a grown black man with a son of my own who’s now become a young man in his own right, I feel your pain. I grew up the early part of my life in New England in an almost entirely white community and while it afforded me many advantages it also brought me face-to-face with the realities of how divergent my life and experiences often where to those of my white friends and school mates.

    It takes courage on both sides to own your truth and also be wiling to have those honest conversations. I think that that kind of open communication you mentioned will be key in moving our nation forward on a better path, cause it’ll take black, brown and white (all hues) to build lasting change.

    Personally I’ve never been fond of the idea of “colorblind” as something to strive for; I remember first thinking back in the 1990’s, it oft encouraged the idea that a TV character could just happen to be Black, or Latin, or whatever.. that’s somewhat dismissive of ethnicity, heritage and cultures in my mind. I think that it minimizes our own unique attributes and contributions by saying “let’s ignore” what’s different (as tho not important/integral to ones core as a person) so to ensure no one will be treated as less-than. Noticing differences isn’t the problem – using those differences as cause to mistreat our brothers and sisters of a different ethnic background is the actual problem. Differences should be cause for appreciation and celebration.

    I hope your post helps to bring your family and your community closer together and that you experience some great things. Salutes to you and your family.

    Take care,
    Reuben

  112. Thank you for sharing your truth and for your courage in asking for help. You are correct – we ALL need to be more aware and sensitive. God Bless you for reaching out for your son.

  113. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m a white man with no kids who grew up in a small Northern Ohio town that was almost 100% white (the police chief was black though…and it was a big Underground Railroad town back before the 13th Amendment…maybe that helped??) and I’ve made friends with a lot of people throughout the years. One of them was a man who had about every ethnicity imaginable in his DNA…European, Hispanic, African, Native American…but he looked black mostly. I learned A TON from him about racism and prejudice and we had so many really insightful discussions! I never knew that black children are taught not to run in the yard or down the street—I used to do this as a kid almost every day, but my parents and I never faced the prejudices and biases that people of color face. My friend was extremely patient with me and he really opened my eyes to so many things I thought I understood better than I actually did. He used to teach the sensitivity training seminars for the City of Seattle, and I can tell he was probably one of the very best teachers of any such seminar because of how patient he was with me mostly.

    I live in the suburbs of Cleveland now—more diverse than where I grew up, but my suburb is still very white. With all that’s gone on over the last couple years locally, I’ve had some opportunities to have some more really insightful conversations with a friend who is black an my brother-in-law, also black. I feel like white people are completely clueless as to what you’re talking about—I mean, we don’t deal with anything but isolated bits of prejudice or discrimination, so I think a lot of us would like to think that it’s not too too bad and just ignore it—but I understand so much better that I just need to shut up and listen when this subject comes up because I know that I can be oblivious to my own assumptions and biases and do some really insensitive things. It sucks! But my thought is that it really helps when I listen to someone to try and understand someone who is black explain something about their experiences. I feel like I can be more sensitive about my friends’ feelings and that I can be more aware of the situations we are in together out in public. I think that when we can listen and hear things that may make us angry or defensive at first, and we try to understand and recognize more of our biases and have real conversations among us all, we can treat each other so much more kindly. This race and prejudice stuff is totally real to me now…I can’t claim to understand how it makes someone else feel…but I certainly think it’s silly if we don’t talk about it and acknowledge that something’s wrong with the world to our kids and teach them about this stuff. If we don’t talk about it, we could unwittingly perpetuate it…which really is tragic.

    Thanks for the article!

  114. I’m a professional white woman living in a large Midwest city . We live in a community neighborhood considered a successful representation of well integrated cultures, races , generations & mixed incomes. The reality is that even in this setting racism is rampant. Beyond talking & ethically witnessing to our children during the school years an ongoing active engagement within all social structures is required. A willingness to reach out & speak up a necessity to bare a significance however small.
    In recent years myself & a family member became involved in legal matters following the arrests of 2 innocent young black men (separate situations). Without going into details one situation involved informing the police this was a case of solid mistaken identity pressing for release & the other was providing character references to our local Judge for a young man being held for a serious crime ( released after determined uninvolved ).
    My now adult children attended a small K -8 grade school, an incubator for strong lifelong connections & we were blessed to have relationships w/ these 2 young men. I found it incredulous statistically yet a reminder of the harsh reality only because one is a young black man.

  115. Thank you so much for this touching letter, my daughter and son have black friends and they are welcomed and loved here in our home just as much as any other race children, living here in Chicago isn’t easy on anyone of us.

  116. Most of your comments I am totally in agreement with. However, to assume we rub your child’s head to see what his hair feels like is insulting. Most of us moms tousle every kid’s hair, it is a mom habit, and it is not an indication of racism.
    The rest of your article however, is amazing.

  117. Well put
    Shared with family members with same situation
    Thanks for passing this on

  118. Pingback: Anonymous

  119. Thanks so much for this post. I continue to pray we will eventually be where we should be in relation to racism.

  120. If black people want their perception to change, their leaders need to be standing up and setting better examples and condemning violence.
    The poverty in the black community is a self fulfilling prophecy. Ridiculing any black who tries to educate themselves as an uncle Tom and a sellout to their race. Of course an independently successful black person doesn’t feed the victimhood mindset. The poverty pimps need protagonists to blame to fit their narrative and what better way then encouraging the youth to sabotage their future success, and then blame white privilege for it.
    The media cherry picks white on black deaths, yet there are many stories of black cops killing white teens and nothing. I guess those whites deserved death because of their so called privilege. Not to mention the numbers of blacks killing each other everyday. And when they aren’t killing, they are looting and burning their cities to the ground. Then, let’s just ignore the stupidity of dressing young black men like hoodlums, thugs, and encouraging them to use the derogatory n word to refer to one another. More self fulfilling prophecy. Listen to rap with lyrics about drugs, pimps, hoes, drugs, and violence. That is a recipe for success. All of black problems are obviously because of white privilege. It is much easier to blame someone else for failure than to look in the mirror and accept responsibility. Pointing a finger at white people while having three pointing back at yourselves. It isn’t white privilege holding back blacks, it is blacks doing it to themselves.

    • Joe,

      How your post was approved through moderation I don’t know. But, your reasoning smacks of White Supremacy and you’re taking advantage of the same type of White Privilege Black, Brown, and others including many white folks seek to change. Ironic you outright ridiculed the idea of white privilege or acknowledging any legitimacy to Black folks grievances in your post but then make full use white supremacist logic in your reasoning.

      Take a look at some real information, educate your mind and stop deluding yourself and misinforming others. Black folks are no longer hiding in the shadows when folks like yourself seek to miss educate everyone about race relations and “reality” and simply “speak hard truths”. Your truths are BS and you and I know it.

      Crime: Black folks are constantly working to change all types of crime, both within their own communities and from perpetrators outside of their communities. Do some homework and you’d see that. From the protest and political action movements to end senseless gun crimes within their own communities, to numerous education programs like Black Girls code that seek to educate and train young black children with a high value skill like computer programming. There is much work being done.

      The other issues you raise, I’m not gonna touch because the answers are pretty easy to find just doin’ a Google search. And I realize your reasons for posting are disingenuous anyway. This response is for anyone honestly looking for useful information regarding the common half-truths levied at the Black community by folks like yourself.

      Information on work Black folks are doin’ to build their own communities and race relations in general: For anyone else reading here, I’d recommend checking out:
      Bill Moyers Journal and Moyers and Company (on PBS’s website http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index.html).
      The Southern Poverty Law Center they’ve got some great info. (https://www.splcenter.org/)
      Lacie Green is a young lady on YouTube who works to correct common misconceptions and does a great short video on Racism in America. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_hx30zOi9I)
      The official Black Lives Matter website. (blacklivesmatter.com)
      The ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/) and NAACP (http://www.naacp.org/) websites are all great resources.

      After generations of American racism, white racism and violence, this has to change. Denying the role white folks have in this system didn’t fix anything in the past and it’s the crutch many seemingly good intentioned folks use to prevent true and lasting change still today.

      Denying racism and white supremacy, do not eliminate the reality that it permeates throughout policy and society within the United States. That’s fact, easily identifiable and tons of data to back it up.

      Back folks seek and have done more than enough to have already earned full equality in America – that’s what we demand. Pretty simple.

      I and many others are on the right side of history – ask yourself where you want to stand.

      Be well,
      Reuben

      • Hi Reuben,
        I appreciated you addressing what comments have been approved through moderation, since this has been a complicated decision making process for me. There have been an overwhelming number of comments and I had to make the difficult decision to not engage on an individual basis with people here for the sake of my sanity and my time. There have been many statements made about what kind of person I must be that I wanted to address, but realized it just wasn’t productive. Although one fact seems important- for those who missed it, I am WHITE raising a multiracial family. For anybody worried that I’m raising my children to fear or resent white people or who brought up the point that they weren’t sure my kids would stand with their white children, that is such a nonissue in this family. My kids are being raised by white people in a predominately white community, which is why this post was even more necessary. Many white people (like me) don’t have an awareness of what my kids are facing, and our own ignorance can be dangerous for these kids.
        As far as what comments have made it through moderation, I decided to only delete comments that were vulgar (there have been two) and comments that were personally threatening (there was one). The rest, I have “approved” although there are many I don’t agree with or approve of on a personal level. It felt important to me that those people who want to say racism doesn’t exist anymore see these responses, even though it is personally painful for me to have them here. I know someday my kids will read this post and these comments and I hate that for them, but I also think it will help them understand why we raised them the way we did.
        I hope that clarifies things.

        Maralee

        • I loved and have shared your post. I hope the many supportive and grateful comments here are helping overcome the silly negative ones!!

          Thank you for writing an article I could share with my white parents about some of the fears I have for my black son, and how they can help. I loved the tone and the clear, helpful suggestions for friends (and also my family).

        • I am glad you allowed this comment. Other people need to see how their peers REALLY think and feel. This is proof that racism is not imagined…its not something made up..folks are not whining….THIS is how they are seen by some.

  121. Lovely piece of writing. As a white person from a country with its first Black president, I’ve learned that coming from privilege necessitates life long learning. Your piece is thought-provoking and touching.

  122. Very well written!
    Made me stop and think!! … I live in Sweden with my two boys and husband and I will definitly talk about this with them… At many occations…
    Even though we have a slightly different cultural mix both when it comes to law enforcement and history the topic is as needed here. Thank you for helping me see on more dimension of this.

  123. Well written and a very good read. I think you’re message can start making a difference if people begin to talk and educate their children.

  124. Excellent that this message captures and describes specific expectations.

  125. Thank you! A thousand time, thank you! <3 I have two biracial children. One son and one daughter. I don't worry about my daughter nearly as much as I do my son. My son is so innocent, but it's hard to fathom that the world doesn't see him that way. I am scared to buy him hoodies, although he loves them. I worry about him riding his ripstick to the neighbor's house. People see him differently, not because he has done anything, but because he looks different.

    • Rachel, take courage! Tens of millions of black children walk the streets, ride their ripsticks, bikes, skateboards, scooters every day without incident!!!!

      • Yes but some don’t. What mother doesn’t worry that her child will be one of the few???

        Should we stop wearing seatbelts because millions of car rides end without incident?

  126. Well said. This message reminds me of the recently released book by Benjamin Watson: http://underourskinbook.com/

  127. I had a conversation with my (white) son that made me cry the other day. He said that if approached by the police he would move to stand in front of a black friend because, “they aren’t likely to shoot me.”

    My teenager feels a need to be a human shield. If that is heartbreaking and terrifying for me, how much worse must it be for the mother of the child who needs shielding?

    Keep speaking. We’re listening.

  128. This article is correct, people going view them differently, so teach black kids to be afraid of whites because all white cops will kill them and they will never be hired because no matter how smart or talented you are your still black and hated because your black. Teach white kids to be scared of black people because although they are only 13% of the population they commit 50% of the crimes , and they will rob kill and rape you because of your white privilege, hey whites and blacks let’s not forget about those Latinos ! You know they are all here illegally and taking you jobs and your tax money is going to their health care and we are feeding them and housing them, let’s make sure and hate them to. Oh I almost forgot about the damn Muslims , everyone of them is an American hating terrorist who are here to take over our country and will shoot or blow you up! ………… Anybody out there see where I’m going with this? Some of you have said racism isn’t inherited, it’s taught, then why keep teaching it. Turn off your tv and get off of Facebook and go out with your family and meet and talk your neighbors , or better yet someone who is somehow different than you, you may find out that they really aren’t that different . So go ahead and pick this apart now and keep on hating!!! Peace out.

    • “Turn off your tv and get off of Facebook and go out with your family and meet and talk your neighbors , or better yet someone who is somehow different than you.”
      Preach it. This is the solution. Love each other, in a real, daily life practical sense, and this fear, disrespect, distrust and hatred starts to melt away.

  129. Wow….This is one mother’s plea to another mother….soooo beautifully well written…my son’s best friend is black and I adore him like my own….I hope that in my own ignorance I have never made him feel less than the amazing young man he is….

  130. I certainly wish your child well! I hope he will never be misjudged.

    I hope you will also teach him to persuade others not to hurt other kids. As a white girl in school, I was beat up by black kids every single year. I never insulted or hurt anyone. I never thought ill of anyone, and was quite puzzled that anyone would want to hurt anyone else.

    • SJ – I’m puzzled why you think she needs to tell her son not to hurt other kids, because you were hurt by black kids as a white girls in school? Is there some link between her son and those black kids that beat you up? Are they the same because they are both black, though they are in different towns, families and generations?

  131. Perfectly said.

  132. The government has encouraged racism and division among the people of the United States. When my dad was growing up before the civil rights movement (in the north), blacks were treated the same as whites and blacks held typical jobs for the area. Later black kids were taught in school that they were victims and many became violent. There began to be distrust between the races. Benefits for single mothers encouraged the cycle of poverty and destruction of the family that many black communities currently have.

    Immigrants gave up their languages to be unified Americans long ago but now everyone is taught to keep the language of their old country and we are divided. My ancestors made a point to learn English as quickly as possible so they could communicate and be one with others in America, and now we have 120 languages spoken, with millions of people not able to understand one another.

  133. To the parents of my white kid’s black friends. Please tell your kids that white people don’t hate them. Teach them that racism is real, but the vast majority of white people don’t care about your skin color and want to get along, heck even be friends. That when you say something like, “white people all…” or “black people all…” you are likely being racist and they should discount that kind of talk. Teach them that my white child is their equal, their friend, and we’ll be their supporter. Please don’t teach them that my white child hates them, will be racist toward them, and any time he stumbles in being a good friend it is because they have a different skin color (when it is merely because they are human). Please teach them that my child with the different skin color can be befriended, loved, trusted, relied upon and a friend and ally for life if your child so chooses.

  134. Pingback: In Support of “To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends” – Vanessa Jencks

  135. Thank you for writing this. This is very powerful! I am printing it out to show my boys. I hope your message is spread far and wide.

  136. Thank you. Just, thank you.

  137. Maralee:

    Your sentiments expressed here could not have been more poignant and crisp with truth. As a single mother raising my two black sons, I am concerned that it doesn’t matter where I choose to raise them, I can not move them where ignorance doesn’t reside. I am not from this country, but I am now an American citizen; the level of stupidity I have seen while living in the states is crippling. Are we ever going to get past the color of a person’s skin? Are we, as mature individuals, so shallow that we can reduce an amazing man like Steve Harvey to a “dumb n****” because he has made a mistake? Do my children have to come to the realization that due to the color of their skin, life is already going to be harder for them? In 2016? I am speechless yet commend you for your words. Thank you!

  138. My nephew is white him and his wife has raised 2 beautiful children and very intelligent.They came from well to do families.They have talked. with their children which are grown now. I wish we all could just get along. We are all God children. When will everyone wake up and realize it?May God have Marcy on this earth.

  139. Oh Lord. Is this a reprint of some 1972 Yale thesis? Don’t touch my kid’s hair? Yeah, that sound’s real effective in bridging this unfortunate gap that you live in. GET OVER YOURSELF. Please, it’s truly ridiculous. No one take you seriously outside of California.

  140. BE COLORBLIND
    Be colorblind.
    Don’t see color.
    The color of my skin doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t matter.
    but
    Why would you want to be colorblind?
    Why would you want to be lost in a world without rainbows,
    washing away sacred parts of you and me.
    I want you to see my color.
    I want you to make yours shine.
    With our color comes our history, our demons, our gods, our whys.
    We can’t cover, erase, refuse or deny it.
    We can’t bleach it or blot it out.
    We aren’t supposed to be all the same.
    That’s not the answer.
    That creates more doubt.
    Instead.
    When you look at my skin tone,
    see my Native American and Irish family tree.
    I carry that DNA on my arms with pride.
    Those stories are a part of me.
    So come on and show off your color!
    whatever that color might be.
    Your color is a part of your beauty.
    My color is a beautiful part of me.
    Emily Martin-11 yrs old
    2014
    Spoken at DaVerse Lounge 2014

  141. I am a white mother, with a beautiful daughter who has never seen anyone for the color of their skin or religion . She is tall blonde hair and blue eyes. She has 2 babies now . My son is 16 and Persian/American. I feel your pain and your fear. He to has bee called names . Told to go back to his own country. He has only been to MD and Va. He speaks only English . I know without a doubt he will be profiled the rest of his life or looked at funny in airports people wondering if he is a terrorist . Never knowing he was born here raised by a single mother and a Christian . I fear for him going off to college. Trump running to label Muslims , while my son is not Muslim he does have family who our. He is so afaird of the hate towards them a people saying deport them. One day Muslims next day could be you. I have told him if he is ever stopped by law enforcement he is to ask for a supervisor . Say nothing and call his mother who will then call a lawyer . don’t care if it is jay walking. Told him to stay calm and under no circumstances speak! How sad brother and sister and never once had to have this talk with his sister. Sorry but just by being born white in this country you are privalaged. I have seen it first hand with my children . On a positive note I do believe this young generation will make the world a better place. We have conversations like these in our home all the time, we live in Baltimore where we have already had over 300 deaths why. They are boys, yes some maybe thugs but these children have seen things no child should see or grow up with. It is real people and communication is the key. Love, tolerance , helping your neighbor, see through color and status. I have worked first hand in the city. These so called thugs were once children just like yours and mine. They just needed a hand up and a smiling face. Our family photo looks like the United Nations :). White, Persian , 100 % Native American Indian and wouldn’t want it any other way. God bless you, your son and mine. I am sure they one day will make this world a better place and may God protect them and keep them safe.

  142. Thank you for sharing. I have made an effort to help my children make their way through life without referencing race. I have met their friends over the years and sometimes find myself surprised that I didn’t know “this” friend was a person of color or a specific different religion. And then I realize that is exactly what I was always hoping for and I’ve done my job. Yay me.

  143. Pingback: Becoming a Bi-Racial Family - Floyd Family Findings

  144. Only when this article is read emphatically, than, it allows each of us to understands, until such time it is just words that are uncomfortable and awaken our consciousness.

  145. I normally don’t respond to
    Posts but this is so special, as is the person who wrote it. What a beautiful and smart statement that is so well thought out and expressed. I hope it is read by not just your neighbors but by families of all colors and backgrounds around the country. What you have said here is very important and I congratulate you and thank you for saying it.

  146. Pingback: A New Year’s Reader | the becoming radical

  147. There is obviously, no solution to any of this. If you’re white and comment on the feed here, and ask a question, you are coined a racist automatically or you are chastised for asking a question. Keep in mind, if we were racist, we never would have read the article to begin with, because we are racist and don’t give a damn about what some black mom has to say about her child. That is not the truth, I don’t think anyone commenting here would ever want to hurt any child. A parent’s responsibility to any child in her care is to protect that child, whether the child belongs to you or not, it’s still a child. Most of us read this article to find out how we can help, we are asking questions and being met with remarks that are mean and no one is answering any questions. And you are wondering why we can’t get along . So why not answer the questions, instead of name calling? Let’s have a conversation, isn’t that what this article is about?

  148. It absolutely breaks my heart that you have to look at things in this way. But I very much appreciate your post and will absolutely have a chat with my children. I feel fortunate to live in a small town where racism isn’t very strong, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be an issue out in the “real world”. I wish you the best and I wish your son the best in his journey towards manhood. And most of all, I wish for this country to let go of racism.

  149. Pingback: So Many Thoughts @ Like Me Like You Kids

  150. Kudos for your post! When I was little we lived in an underprivileged area that was culturally diverse. And my parents & grandparents talked to me about the hard topics. When I noticed the numbers that were tattooed on our neighbors arm my grandmother explained why they were there and even allowed our neighbor to share her memories with me. When a childhood friend had to move back to the reservation when her dads job assignment in construction ended they talked to me about it. And when Emmett Till was murdered they talked to me about it. Was my childhood innocence ruined? No. Did it help me foster a world view that I carried with me into adulthood? Yes! Children have more resilience and understanding than we give them credit for. And we do them a disservice when we think we’re protecting them from things they’ve already noticed.

  151. When society actively treats my autistic sons like trash i could really care less about the inconveniences and subtle perceived injustices your black kids face. Suck it up, be glad your kid is neuro typical and likely won’t have to live with you the rest of your life and stop complaining….be glad your kids have options and a future and stop feeling entitled to have life be fair…life isn’t fair…God designed it that way for a reason because some people are supposed to struggle in order to refine them in some way…my kids are a perfect example and I still believe God has a plan for them yet I don’t feel compelled to write letters to the parents of all the kids in our neighborhood explaining how I expect them to behave around my sons or how society is just so damn unfair to them and that everyone should hate themselves and feel guilty because they and their kids are neuro typical and somehow privileged. Don’t even come back and try to say “I don’t get it”…until you walk a mile in my shoes with multiple disabled children….none of you really “get anything” at least your kids have options

  152. Pingback: On InterVarsity and Black Lives Matter | Mere Orthodoxy

  153. A very thoughtful and enlightening article. As a white teacher in an almost all white school, I am very aware that there are challenges for our few nonwhite students even if our school culture is not overtly racist.
    Many of the comments I have read here could have been stated by members of my community who certainly do not consider themselves racist. It is good that this conversation is being had, but it does amaze me that people cannot see that there really is such a thing as white privilege, and that prejudice is unfortunately alive still in America. We are, I believe, making strides, but we have a long way to go.

  154. What a SELF SERVING article. This parent needs to reinforce that her adoptive son is Black…”Young Black boy—to a Black man”..yeah she is initiating the segregation of her son on other people. You know what helps kids out, ALL kid of every ethnic group? You don’t…here it is, EDUCATE your child to NOT do things which put him in danger. In other words, you teach your child NOT to draw a gun on police. You teach them NOT to point a realistic gun at people and use it as a form of intimidation. You want other people to see your child as different, that he is Black rather than a human, a child becoming a young man…YOU expect them to identify him as something else, something outside other children…YOU want others to address an issue BECAUSE he is Black, which smacks of ethnic divide rather than anything else. What a PATHETIC parent, placing responsibility on others rather than on herself and her kids. The writer of the article has initiated ethnicism by making it a point and suggesting that White parents need to speak with their children about it….what a ditz.

    • Should she educate her son not to play with his friends in the neighborhood cul-de-sac? Because that is the kind of specific behavior that she shares which got him “in trouble”. Not drawing a gun on police.

  155. Excellent points and, as always, exquisitely written Maralee!

  156. I am the father of 5 black children, including 3 black sons. I categorically reject instructing my sons to “keep their hands visible” or any other separative behaviors to “keep them safe”. My sons are rightful citizens of this great country. I fought so everyone here could safely opine on race or any other subject under the sun. My sons are not required, now or ever, to behave any differently than any other citizen of the United States.
    All my children were taught to respect authority and follow the law. My God is a loving God. He is also just. My children have been prayed for by multiple generations, and I expect them to outlive me. Christ help the man that is foolish enough to murder any of my children.
    My last point: I remain enraged by the horrific lack of empathy (especially within the military community). How can you be a parent and feel nothing for families that are burying their children because of suspicion?! A suspect is a suspect until convicted, yet black men are being executed by agents of the state without a jury! Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments for the policeman’s safety, yet somehow they don’t have the same level of fear for their safety with a Caucasian suspect.
    My admonition to everyone is to fight for justice for everyone, and not treat a black child any different than any other child. It’s not “reality” to succumb to fear of the unknown. It’s simply fear.
    “For Christ did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”

    • As the mother of a biracial son, I struggle with these things you talk about. My son has every right to wear his hoodies and have his hands in his pockets and play fight on the corner and do all those things his peers do with no consequence, yet my fear for his safety urges me to tell him to handle himself differently. It’s not fair. As a white woman I grew up oblivious to the real dangers others face just by living their lives. It tears me up inside.

  157. Great article. African American people know that it takes European American people to bring justice and support freedom and equality as a whole as they hold the power. This is an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. There have always been good European American people in the world and we need you to STAND up!

  158. I almost never reply to blogs but you have warmed my heart in ways I can’t explain. As a Black male and parent, I feel hope that there are more people like you in our world (and I’m in GTA of Toronto,ON Canada) who see these inequalities and have the boldness to speak about them. I am thankful your son will know unconditional love through you and your family (as best as humanly possible, seeing as we’re all flawed, sinners, etc), and that your opening the minds of the people around you who may not be aware of traditional generational racist thinking, norms, and fears that is in their hearts.

    Thank You!!!

  159. I’ve never seen a black family of any class adopt a white child. I wonder why that is.

    • a) I have seen this

      b) because there are usually enough white families who ask for “white” children and a same-race placement is usually preferred by the agency

      c) what on earth does that have to do with this mother’s concern for her child????

  160. After seeing the picture of your beautiful family, I now have renewed hope that there is indeed a lot of good and decency left in America. You brought a 47 year old man to tears. Thanks for making America a better place.

  161. The message you’re sending to other kids here involving police is a terrible and destructive one. You start by saying be respectful of authority. That was fine, should be obvious, but can’t hurt to be said. Then you start talking about not leaving him playing soccer in the park when the police drive by. Contrary to the many anti police people you have encouraged through your writing, your son has nothing to fear at all if he’s playing soccer in a park and the police drive by. If you’re referring to the Tamir Rice case, then I would suggest you, and everyone else out there tell your kids what I tell my kids. Don’t play with a replica firearm that is indistinguishable from a real functioning firearm at all, let alone in a public place. If you for some reason do, don’t point it at strangers in a threatening manner. If you have done all that. When the police inevitably arrive because you’re pointing basically a gun at people. Follow instructions. Do that and you will be just fine regardless of who you are or where you come from. In contrast by suggesting that your kids friends stay with him because police are there you are basically putting it in their head that police are bad and are essentially the enemy. Maybe that’s not your intention but it’s what you did. How else could a kid take it? Keep in mind some of your kids friends could have a mom or dad who is s police officer. You just told him his parent is likely enough to be bad that people need to stick around as witnesses. That’s certainly hurtful.

    Bottom line you have more then encouraged the people who have commented here basically calling all police racist murderers and I fear you have made police feel that much more defensive. Overall a very effective piece of writing if your goal is to divide people and make them feel more suspicious of each other.

    • Did you watch the video? He barely had time to stand, let alone obey. And…disobeying should not mean DEATH! THAT is the problem. Black and brown men DIE for simple issues because police are ill-trained and racist.

      • I did, I presume you also know of the second video with a different angle. And the fact that it was conclusively shown that he drew the gun from his waistband. Did you read through all the evidence put out by the investigation? Did you form your opinion before hearing all the evidence?

        I will thank you for proving my point though. In your short comment you said minority men die because police are “ill trained and racist.” You didn’t say some officers, or the officer in this case. Just a blanket police. It’s s text book bigoted statement, you just don’t recognize it because you only see things from your point of view and are prejudiced before the evidence is even available. So when I commented on the authors blog saying my concern was that she was feeding the fire of those who liked to say police are racist murderers you almost quoted my concerns with your comment directly. It’s a sad confirmation. Think for a second, there are over 1 million police in the U.S. how many have murdered” a man of color? What percentage would that be? That’s like picking on a group of people and saying they’re all bad because a few commit crimes. You know, it’s like being a racist.

        My point is simple. Any ethnicity or group has some very wonderful people and some very bad and a whole bunch in between in other words each group is comprised of humans. It’s bad to demonize even if it’s subtle like the original post was about a kid needing witnesses if the police come by. There are problems in our society and life is not fair for everyone, but if you or Maralee think things are going to get better by attacking and demonizing a different group, well, I would disagree.

  162. Why do I always ruin a perfectly good article by reading the comments? I’ll never learn.

    • I’d hope because you are willing to consider all points of view on a subject, not just your own, or the writers, although I will grant it takes a bit of filtering to get past some of the vitriol.

  163. This is a great contribution and great advice. I think your address of the colorblind lie is spot on as is your advice. The think I did want to address is why you don’t seem to have many friends of color for your kids to play with (it may be that you just didn’t mention them) and why you don’t seem to live in a diverse neighborhood (again, you may just have mentioned mean neighbor because of the recent events). Something most families of color understand is that you don’t raise children alone. Your pot addressed most of this from your end of things and your fear for your son and your children, but what about their sense of normalcy? What does it feel like if your son doesn’t have any other friends who have to regulate the clothes they wear or their behavior?

  164. Such a great post it made me cry but then it make me smile when I thought of all of the African American friends that I had when my Dad was in the Army. We never saw black or white we saw our friends who were going through the same things we were because we were Military Brats. We all hung out together and shared that common bond of being away from home sometimes in a foreign country, but one thing bonded us together we were all Americans!

    • Joyce, that is SO true. I was brought up in military bases in the 70s and 80s and it was Utopia. I had friends of all races, persuasions, and ethnicities. I didn’t think one day about their color or nationality. They were just….FRIENDS. Boy, was I mistaken about the world….

  165. Thank you for this post. Hopefully it will spur many helpful discussions about race. And thank you for the reminder that “Just because you haven’t seen obvious examples of racism in your own life doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” It’s easy to live without obvious examples of racism if you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of racial diversity. Hopefully you are not getting too much negative feedback on your blog – the comments looked pretty heated.
    Keep up the good work.

  166. Maralee, Thank you, thank you, thank you for initiating this conversation and protecting your black son. This is an ongoing problem, as we (Blacks/African Americans) are painted with the broadest brush. I’m from Omaha, NE and had to relocate my sons away from that city because, although, Omaha was once known as a “great place to raise a family”, it is now known as “the city that will lockup or kill your children”. Politicians are the front-runners on this racial bias also. Nonetheless, I applaud you for your post and getting this conversation with white parents and their children started.

  167. Great little piece about unintended consequences that can be passed on. My weird example is: I lived in Indonesia, and if you weren’t Indonesian, you were nothing. They thought I was a half breed, part Dutch, which didn’t make things any better. But I lived in Bali, and THERE, if you weren’t Balinese, you were lower than dirt. People from other areas in Indonesia? They were also lower than dirt. I never looked Caucasian (white), but I also wasn’t Balinese. There, the police are after you constantly. They harass and they extort, and they physically bully you and absolutely more, and it is too easy to be “disappeared.” Another person of European extraction could never help me, because they would be targeted. No one thought they, the citizens, were racist; no one taught anyone about anything. Race “privilege” is relative to where you are in the world, and a disgusting fact of being.

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  169. The view that blacks need special protection so they can grow up to be “strong” is flawed. Everyone needs this, not just black people. I am sick of hearing about inherent good qualities not being present because of another person’s actions, only the individual is responsible for his or her own happiness. Strength comes from inside, by enduring challenging experiences. Focusing on externalities while ignoring personal responsibility is a good way to teach people to blame, and leave no room for understanding one’s true self, the one on the inside.

    • Bill your thought process is one that is only opened to the world and how you see it. And that the problem we have today. You are sick of hearing??? Must be nice to have that kind of privilege. Some people are sick of the reality that they live, but they still have to live it…they dont get to be sick of it. The change has to be made with society and how we choose to see some individuals. How you came to think that anyone is encouraging personal responsibility speaks to just how ‘turned off’ you are. A person can be an amazing on the inside but if they are only judged on what they look like on the outside..if they are only judged by the color of their skin where does that leave them?

  170. Wow.
    Instead of surrounding him with a sense of entitlement, and making your friends feel responsible to care for his blackness, just teach him not to be a thug (pointing a realistic gun at a police officer is “thuggish”).
    Accusing your friends of being unsafe for your child, makes you sound like a basket case, who wants others to be responsible for the parenting you are supposed to be doing.

  171. Strong, beautiful, courageous post. Thank you.

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  173. I am a parent of 2 white children and 3 black children(2 boys) and I think that this article is a bit off. First as a parent, their friend’s parents are MY friends also, my children don’t go to places where I don’t consider the parent my friend. Next, any child should stand up against bullying no matter what race or anything is about. To say stand up for my black child is just wrong, just teach children to stand up against ALL bullies. To talk about staying around for police all people should be taught if a police officer is there and tells you to stop we ALL stop, end of story nothing to do with race again. Also, to teach your child not to go across neighbors yard, etc has nothing to do with his race it has to do with you teaching your child to respect things that are not his. You stay off of all property unless it is yours or you have permission to be there. I don’t see how any of this has to do with race at all. We parents need to teach all of our children common sense, to be polite and be not tresspress whether they are black, white, indian, etc.

  174. I love your heart felt letter. I understand how you feel. It is important to understand that even though you are doing what you think is the right thing. You have decided to put your son in a environment that is not good for him! If your neighborhood was dangerous over taken by drug and people being killed. I believe you would move because it is not safe for your family. In this situation you have decided to subject your son to psychological torment. Why? Your son needs to see the best of himself. My family is African American and we live in a great African American community. I put my children in a position to see powerful and amazing people that look like them because you can’t change people quick enough to protect your son. It’s like a family moving to a area with a great school district. What sacrifice are you willing to making to put your son in the best environment for his growth or are you guilty of not doing what is in his best interest because you want to be comfortable . I would never put my children though this! Think about your friends, organizations, groups, and events. Sometimes you must decide to reach out beyond what is comfortable for you. Are you thinking about the impact to your son?

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  176. Also, I think these parents should write a letter to the black parents of her son’s black friends also. Racism knows no bounds. I’m sure this young man has seen teasing from his black friends. God bless and keep ALL our children.

  177. Thank you so much for this message. We have a son that is black. Middle school was pure hell for him. The name calling and the “difference” in rules was and is amazing to us!! we all need to stand together.

  178. Me (white), husband (Colombian) and our two black children are going to have a wonderful talk tonight and use this as a guide. You touched on things we have already discussed or encountered and were forced to handle and discuss but one thing that hit home for me was asking my boy’s white friends not to leave them alone! Thank you! Thank you! And thank you again! This may save a child’s life.

  179. All I can say is thank you… My husband and I have 2 fantabulous, amazing, wonderful boys that have completed our lives… They are not our bilogical children but are ours all in the same.. Our boys were born in Ethiopia and now live with us in Kentucky. Being “white parents” raising 2 “black sons” your essay hit home with me. Your words are true and despite the delicacy of the topic, it is a “must” for discussion.. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect color blind world.. ,y reality will never be the exact same reality my boys will experience. Again, thank you… Thank you for saying what needed to be said, whats gone unsaid for so long, and for saying what can hopefully make a difference.

  180. Yes to all of this my ‘white sister’. There are way too many things I agree with in your letter to list. So I will just say thank you and yes.
    I see your color and celebrate it;) and I celebrate you for this courageous stand you are taking.

  181. Thank you for writing this. My white sons have a black friend that they regularly run around the neighborhood with. Right now they are still kids, but at 9, it won’t be long until their friend does start to look like a “strong black man”, and I have never thought about talking to my boys about how to play with him, and what they could do to protect him as they get older.

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  184. I found this article very interesting. Eye opening and a lesson. I am a young white female, I was born in the south and grew up primarily in the north but moved around. I went to a liberal arts college. I amnow getting my masters. I would discribe myself and cultured and educated. My mom had me when she was young, my cousin are of mixed race. I wouldn’t call myself racist but, I have caught myself making assumptions based on race that make me take a step back. I feel terrible when it happens. I feel like a sick human being. I don’t treat people differently because I make it a point to catch myself when making assumptions. I’ve had the experience while walking that a large male of a different race walked behind me so I hurried to my car and locked it. I have a very good friend I’ve known for years who is of a different race and I’ve seen people treat her and I differently. It makes me sad. Awareness is the first step. I am not a perfect individual and I know I have flaws. But pretending there is no white privileges, thinking racism doesn’t exist, ignoring the past. This will only perpetuate things. I want to be educated, I don’t know what it’s like to be watched in a store or followed around. I don’t know what it’s like to have negative attitudes or assumptions made about me due to my skin complexion. The most I’ve ever had to deal with is being called a dumb blonde. I want this society to change. I’m on team change. It never occurred to me any of those points brought up. I have a little sister living in, inner city Memphis with my grandparents. I think I’m going to have a talk with her tonight.

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  188. Teach your son to be a strong “Man”, be respectful courteous and kind. They are not to stand by and be an observer of another child being bullied or worse. In any and all situations they should, as should all your children behave appropriately. He has the same rights and privileges afforded him as have all others that are lucky enough to be born in this country and or immigrated here to avoid the circumstances they have faced. It is sad if your reality causes your child to be a victim.
    We have neighbors who dislike the activity level at our house we have had complaints. That’s ok we have a large number of children at our home and some are foster children so CPS likes us. One person’s narrowmindedness often means there is a person in our neighborhood who needs education. We send the kids around with plates of treats during holidays and if someone needs help we do what we can to assist. Our kids are known and will not be holed up in front of the TV or video games they will be part of our community.
    The children of our home are required to value one another, look after one another and that extends to anyone else they interact with. They are taught the inherent value of all the people they interact with and not blanket distrust. Don’t talk to strangers, don’t hang around friends who get in trouble, be helpful and loving.
    There is definitely racism present in this country should we promote this by identifying one group as privileged and therefore tell our child that the privileged see them as inferior. This is a guarantee to produce an inferiority complex in them. Raise them to see that they are all capable of great things and not constraining them to thinking they were dealt a bad hand. In foster care most of the children who have been through our home have been dealt a bad hand, I don’t believe that means they need to have a bleak outcome. My hope is that my children will teach and learn the value of each other and not ever have to view themselves as less. They will succeed by working hard, breaking down barriers and living well.

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  196. From mother to mother first and then to a white mother of a black child, from a black mother of a black child. I have to say thank you. When we black mothers try and express these very concerns we are blown off and said to be “pulling the race card”. When a white person calls out racism they said to be “race baiters ” so I know how hard it is for you to have the conversation. This is a constant ongoing thing and it’s the scariest feeling in the world to know that you sweet baby boy, the one that says, “mommy you’re the prettiest girl in the world” , the child that is now a teenager that has had his innocence taken away by having to ask, “Mom why can’t I wear my hood when it’s raining “. This is what causes sweet little black boys to question everything about themselves. Am I not good enough? I’ve done well raising my son not be a racist and truly it’s hard when you have to continually be worried that the a white person that isn’t used to being around an urban black kid sees one and panics. Like the young 19 yr old black boy that was taught to respect women so he held a door open for white woman pushing a stroller and went on his way. She called the police and said “a black guy made her feel uncomfortable he might be trying to rob the bank” they showed up in force and tackled him to the ground. I’m saying this to say. It truly gets hard to teach your children to love the people that hate them or make life hard for them for no reason. Guess what though we do it anyway! We teach our children that not ALL people are like that and to give everyone a chance . So I don’t understand why if we can do it ? Why is it so hard for the other side to teach their children the same thing. I thank you for being a mother and not holding back the truth. Some people just don’t know . I thank you for being open and allowing transparency. I actually exhaled and had tears because I understand what you go through.

  197. And black parents need to stop teaching black children that white people hate them aswell.

  198. We are a white family and my son has black friends. Not even two weeks ago we experienced an exact situation you describe. A neighbor called the police thinking the boys were intending to burglarize his house. The kids were just walking home. I did have conversation with my son about racism and how unfair it is that his buddies live with this every day. It was a lesson for sure.

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  200. A friend shared this on Facebook. My biracial son is now 23. We recently moved to Texas and he has been pulled over in his little pickup 5 times in the course of 10 months. Each time he calls me and I immediately rush to the location, staying on the phone the entire time to ensure his safety. Fortunately he has not encountered any major problems, although we’ve paid hundreds of dollars for tickets. Most white parents don’t understand the fear we live with when our children walk out the door. Thank you for helping inform them.

  201. I’m from the deep South, and although I completely agree with the existence of white privilege, insomuch as white people can be regarded differently and with less suspicion, I can also attest to that the racism goes both ways, unfortunately. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s continued not only by inherent racism, but also because of the anger passed on from one generation to the other that keeps the two races divided, on BOTH sides.

    The dislike and distrust of each other is so deep that there is either a deep divide that continues to keep the two races away from one another, or the fear of violence from one race towards another because of all of the anger that keeps them divided.

    The suspicion of the other goes both ways, I can attest to it. There are horribly racist whites, and there are horribly racist blacks. There are groups against racism that truly want to help the problem, and groups who purport to be against racism who use it as an excuse to unleash anger, and commit violent and unlawful acts- ones that they can get away with under the guise of racism.

    I completely agree that it’s unfair. I completely agree that the vicious cycle will probably continue because (understandable!) anger–>violence–>inherent mistrust–>racism–>anger–>violence–>etc.

    That’s how I see it, and the only way we can make a difference is to start trying to treat each other TRULY as equals, no particular privilege on either side, and stop demonizing the other. Only when behavior is changed on both sides will we all truly be able to begin to trust one another and change things.

  202. Thank you for helping to raise my consciousness! I’m white and the product of liberal, socially conscious parents. I grew up in the white suburbs of northern California in the 50s and 60s, and always assumed that being “colorblind” was part of the road to equality and social justice in America. I’ve only recently realized (partly thanks to your blog post) that colorblindness is a product of white privilege. No person of color can afford that luxury. What we all CAN do is recognize the value in every person, of every color and culture – and valuing each person means doing what it takes to protect and foster his/her health, growth, and happiness. Thanks for the ideas about how to make that happen in our children’s and grandchildren’s generations.

  203. It would seem some are chaffing at the concept of ‘White Privilege’.

    You reject that term; it’s not flattering and it seems to fly in the face of your life, history and present reality.

    The mistake you are making is a misinterpretation of what the word ‘privilege’ means in that phrase.

    Privilege when used in ‘white privilege’ doesn’t mean some ‘gerund’ of upper-class or ‘wannabe’ sense of ‘De Bon Air’, ‘stuffiness’, ‘over-fed’ oblivious perception of the world.

    It’s doesn’t contain ANY sense of self-imbued glamor or class strata.

    The word privilege in ‘white privilege’ simply means means that ‘you’ as a white person don’t have to consider or worry about ‘certain things’ or ‘possible outcomes’ that people of color do.

    The reason why you don’t is because of the societal, racial infrastructure that ensures that you don’t.

    That you ‘benefit’ from it in not having the ‘extra stuff’ to worry about doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you don’t care about black people or others of color.

    It’s frankly NOT your fault that you get this extra ‘cloak of insulation’ wrapped about you.

    It doesn’t mean that you’ve had it easier than some black people you know – you may have had a harder life compared to them clinically.

    That is not what ‘white privilege’ is.

    It means there are things people of color have to consider that you as a white person no matter where you come from or how hard your life has been do not have to think about.

    It’s that simple.

    Again:

    It doesn’t imply you’re a horrible person in the least.

    It’s an acknowledgement of a structural, ‘racially-functional’ reality of the society we live in today.

    It’s nothing to take personal.

  204. My experience-
    As a Black child in a urban environment, I remember my mom and dad acting different in our interactions with White people. My Grandma was one of the first Black saleswomen at a major department store, she did this as well. It was enshrined in me to show a different “respect” to people because they were White. Why? I had no idea. When I asked my mom about acting different, she replied, “White people wont like you because you are Black. You have to be nice and respectful for them to respect you. If not, they will think youre just a n****r.” At 8, I didnt get that. I went to Catholic school with white kids who were my friends and the population of Nun teachers were 100% white. I didnt have to show them the “different” type of respect. Hmm….?!? I was proper, non-threatening, and educated. I grew up in the 80’s before the sagging phase; I dressed “hip-hop” yet, still it projected a certain image of young Black men. On one of our many family vacations (I wish that I could travel now as much as my family did when I was young, God, where did they get the money??? lol) we were on our way from Michigan to Georgia to see family. We stopped at a filling station, I went in to buy snacks. When I went to pay for my purchase, I attempted to put the money directly in the cashiers hand. She refused and told me to place it on the counter-in this moment, my first blatant experience with racism, I realized what my mom told me was wrong- the cashier put my change on the counter and gave me the get the hell out of here look. I was 12 or 13. I gave the cashier the “different” respect that my mom said I should and I was still disrespected. Later in life as a young man in NYC, heading out with friends to get my party on, not a care in the world. We were heading up the subway platform in the Bronx to head downtown. As I was walking up the platform steps, I placed my cellphone in my hoodie pocket, just as a porceline skinned, carrot top female cop hit the top of the steps on her way down. She saw me put “something” in my pocket. My friends and I make it on the platform, hyped, ready to have a good time and the train pulls up, the doors open on the side opposite than us which left us wondering if this was the right train or maybe it had broken down; we didnt know. Until out the corner of my eye, I see 5 cops slowly walking from the other side of the platform towards us. Then the red head and 5 other cops coming from the other direction. They had us flanked. The lead male officer walks up slowly with his hand on his gun, then the red head and her crew had guns drawn. “Where you guys goin?” Shaking like a leaf I replied, “Downtown.” “What’s in your pocket,” the cop barked off. “My phone, you want to pat me down? You can,” I said. He accepted my offer, searched me, pulled my phone out my pocket, ID’d me and ran my name, questioned me like the Gestapo, sent the train on its way, searched me and my friend again and finally after about an hour lets us go. Trip ruined, I was put in my place. Thanks New York. I didnt realize until much later in life how close I came to being KILLED that day on the subway platform. Very, very close call. Any sudden move and I wouldve been shot (likely by more than 1 gun). Over a cellphone that was thought to possibly be a gun. My tastes matured as a young adult so I started to enter “white spaces.” Saks, Nordstrom, restaurants; suburban destinations where Blacks are few and far between. I have been followed, asked a thousand times by the same person if I needed help, asked not to touch the merchandise and schooled on store policy that “items arent allowed out of the case until purchased.”-I just saw that white lady try on 5 pieces of jewelry, but hey……I had a job interview where I was praised for being “so articulate” and questioned about not ever being arrested or having a criminal background. I heard them in the other room while they were talking and someone said “he probably just hasnt been caught yet,” they all found that one funny… So please prepare your children. You are right to give your kids friends and parents a heads up. I could be wearing a 5000 dollar suit with a Amex Black card in hand, I would still be suspcious in the eyes of MANY. All I did was put my cellphone in my pocket and couldve been shot. Racism is real and youd being doing a huge disservice by not having “the talk” with your children.

  205. this is simply beautiful. thank you.

  206. I Never thought About the Issues of Being ” Colorblind ” until Reading this woman’s Post. I mean, Growing up, Everyone Would Ask What I Am- even as an Adult I Get that Same Redundant Annoying Question If I’m Asian or Hispanic or Mixed with SOMETHING. & As A Teen, I Faced the Realness of just LOOKING Ethnic when A Boyfriends Father didn’t Want Me Around because I was a Good Zipper head Enemy of America. That was the first Time I Had ever Heard that Kind of Hate come from Anyone because of The Way I Looked. Peoplease would Make Jokes About my Mother being Unfaithful & Awking if I Was Adopted…to the Point I Came Home One Day to Find That This Hurt My Parents more Than I Realized, and They Left a Copy of My Birthcerificate on My Desk in My Room. Just LOOKING Different, there were a Lot of Racial Jokes and Assumptions about Who I Am & I’m legit Just a White Girl with Santa Eyes and A Tad Darker Skin. But even Now I Guess I just Looked at the Racism I felt and Seen, never as Threatening but just Ignorant & Sad.
    This Past Summer, My Sons friends that Hung out Came from All Different Back Grounds. There were a EW different Situations that came With That Ignorance of Our Other Neighbor. One Time The Little Black Girls and Boys Came to Me A Few were Angry an The Others Crying an a Couple ti Young to Understand… the Other Kids Parents had Just Told the Kids “ALL The Black Kids Have To Leave, You are Not allowed to Play Here.” YOUNG Children! My OTHER BABIES. & Looking Back, it should have opened This Conversation but I Didn’t Know How to React. Inside I was FURIOUS I WANTED To Walk to That House and Explode, because Maybe not to that Degree but I Have Been There. They hadn’t done anything wrong, They Didn’t know why! All I knew to tell all those kids looking to me for a reaction or Voice was to Stay Away from that House because That Was Ignorance and That Some people are just hateful. Not Long after, all Those kids were Playing at My House and The Lil Girl of those Parents came to Play While All The Other Kids were Playing and Out of No Where Announced that She Was Starting a Club and All the Little Girls- Being Little Girls- were Excited and Wanted to Be in this Club… they All Looked to Her and Came around her in a Circle starting to suggest Names for their New Club and All were talking over each other with Plans and Fun things their Club Could Do Together… things All little Girls Love! Nail Painting and Dress Up! & What was Said Next I Wasn’t Expecting… She Announced that HER CLUB Was ONLY FOR WHITE GIRLS. And If That felt Like a Punch in the Gut To Me… I Can Only Imagine How these Little Girls Felt to be THAT YOUNG & Feel So Excluded for Something they had No Control Over! Each of Them the Sweetest Most Helpful Happy Lil Things you’d Ever Know, facing This at 4,5,10 yrs old. I Sent her Home Told Her Not to Catch herself at My home until She Changed her attitude, but this is Something TAUGHT. At 6 yrs old she had an opinion of People that Just look Different than Her?! & It makes Me want to Cry because it’s Like if They were Facing That much indifference In the Short time they were around me at That Young, what Had I Not Seen?! And Was I Doing the Right Thing I Always Asked Myself if Just Telling them to Ignore the Ignorant People and KNOW THAT THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL Inside and Out.
    Shortly after and within a few months they had All Moved Away.

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  209. My son isn’t adopted, but surely black and I am white. I praise you a million times because it takes a village. I know what its like and racisim is still there, because as long as racist parents are teaching (either directly or indirectly their out of date beliefs) we still have a problem and will in years to come. Please keep writing and being brave as it will take us all…

  210. I can see where it would be hard to have that conversation with a child, to have to tell them the world could be (is) an unsafe place for them. We want our kids to feel safe. When you have kids you have to explain dangers of the world to them to protect them from sexual abuse or getting abducted, not everyone will deal with them honestly. It is terrible to have to talk about this with a child and it should be done carefully. You don’t want kids to be terrified of people and I have seen kids that are. Yet we want kids to be careful at the same time but not fearful. Wish the world wasn’t like this – I hope I can be a light and share kindness in the places I go and people I meet, especially to children of all colors. I hope I can be one to intervene and speak up if I see someone being treated unfairly as well.

  211. YOU GO GIRL!!!! I love and respect you for taking the time to write this post. What an amazing woman and mother you must be.

  212. Thank you for a considerate and thought provoking post. I wish I had been told this when I was growing up.

  213. A story about perception racial profiling and black boys. My son attended the Dalton school in New York City. His sojourn there was nurturing empowering and loving. The administration and most of the faculty and staff were super conscience and aware of issues of diversity and our experience there was on the whole very positive. As one of the most prestigious private schools in the city it has very good security as one would expect. This isn’t about disparaging but a real life observation.

    One day I came to meet my son and while I was waiting in lobby for him, I was observing the children begin to trickle out of the stairwell and elevators. I noticed two school boys who were white begin to very aggressively swing their backpacks at each other in the middle of the lobby. You could tell it was what boys usually do rough house. After a while maybe 40 seconds or so, their back pack joust ended as more students began to file through the lobby, no problem.

    Finally my son comes out of the elevator smiling conversing with friends cueing out towards the exit. His handsome face filled with confidant ease, I watched him with a parent’s pride, the satisfaction one feels as you see your child start to come into their own.

    Then a girl who must have really liked him, surprised him from behind, Playing and climbing on his back smiling and gleefully exclaiming his name. Out of three corners of the lobby security rushed towards my son, one exclaimed, “cut it out!”. They didn’t touch him and my son a little shocked at their approach recoiled momentarily the girl got off she laughed and they continued to exit.

    That small microcosm is an example of the perception of the black male as trouble to be dealt with. Why was he seen this way when two white males playing violently swinging their backpacks wildly in the school lobby not? Imagine this with every person both black and white tolerating the one and being hyper vigilante with the other.

    I feel for you, when you describe your black son cutting through neighbors yards playing hide and seek with his friends it sent chills up my spine. I imagine Tamir, a call to the police and a dead black boy in the news.

    I am so glad you wrote this, that our black children need to protected from a society that has labeled them a threat not an individual. I would like white people to ask themselves. “What if they were white” would I call the police? Would I feel so threatened? What is this fear of the black menace that I can’t see them as children, as people, as neighbors? It breaks my heart. I am sure your son will do fine but the risk of having a black body is real. I am glad you can see it. Most white people dont care to. It is much safer and peaceful for them if they don’t concern themselves with it. I will work, hope and pray for the day when we can see the reality of race in this country and govern ourselves accordingly.

  214. White parents have these same feelings, fears, and lessons to teach their children also. Part of parenting I’d say, an on-going talk for parents/grandparents/caregivers of any child in this world at this time.

  215. Thank you Marlee, I’m a parent of a beautiful black son. Traveled with him for years across the country playing hockey. We had a steady team for years and other parents allowed their children to travel with other families saving money. I could never because I knew they couldn’t protect my son from the simplest things and liberties many white families take for granted. Once in a little town in Philadelphia the boys got up from the restaurant just to walk the stores on the strip because we had time to kill. I jumped up to and left the adults at the booth. Later I had to explain to them that my son is a Black child. You know him and see him as (positive wording), but the outside world sees him as “trouble first”; blame it on that child; he must be up to no good. They were mystified and they agreed they would talk to their boys. They protect my son the goalie on the rink, he needs their support off the rink – just as you explained in the blog.

  216. Well said. Thanks.

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  218. Bravo… penned beautifully.

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  222. Thank you. I listen and watch as so many useless deaths occur and I can never understand why. Reading this made me cry and placed an understanding in my heart that there are white people out there who get it and see it for the injustice it is. God bless you and yours and may you never have to live it.

  223. Can you recommend a great book about raising children to be culturally accepting? Something to go into more detail about your post? Thank you!

  224. What a thoughtful letter, it brought tears to my eyes. Oh my God when will things ever change.

  225. What’s wrong with rubbing their head? I always pat kids on their heads. It doesn’t matter what color, etc. I often tease little boys by messing their hair up, or boing little girls’ curls. I say, “Oh, your hair is so soft!” or something like that. How is that racist? I really, seriously want to know, because I have a niece and nephew that are adopted that are such sweet babies and have soft black hair that I love to rub, just like I rub my little son’s blond hair. Do black parents and aunties not rub their kids’ heads, or is it something about the way they do it, like comparing, or something?

    • Sarah, a lot of people have responded to that part of my post with “I rub every kid’s hair and I’m not going to stop.” so I just haven’t engaged with that level of “I hear you, but I don’t care.” response. I appreciate the spirit of your question- an acknowledgement that this is something you currently do and a desire to understand why it might be offensive. I think I may need to address it in a separate post because there are a lot of angles to this, but the short story is that there is a difference between being affectionate with a child you have a relationship with and touching a random child’s head out of curiosity. As parents, we know the difference. And no matter how much I love somebody, if I just spent a lengthy amount of time putting product in my child’s hair, combing it out, fixing it up and hoping that style lasts, I am going to be irritated if somebody rubs their head. For my white boys, you can tousle their hair and it will go right back to how it was. With my black son and daughter, that is not the case. You can imagine if you just got your hair fixed for the day and somebody rubbed your head, you’d probably be frustrated even if you knew they were just being affectionate. There’s also the fact that we teach our kids about healthy boundaries and how their bodies belong to them, so it can be problematic if people are regularly touching them without consent. Does that help explain it?

  226. I admire your honesty and compassion so much. I encourage you and your followers to buy and read my friend’s book. The link is here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Nurturing-Grandchildren-Black-White%E2%80%93between/dp/1517758521

    Jean Moule is a renowned expert on the subject of cultural diversity and multi-racial families. She’s available for speaking engagements, and we’re currently working on her next book.

  227. Okay, I am a bit undecided on this… What age does this apply to? For example: My son (9), daughter (8), my husband and I are white and live in a predominantly white neighborhood. There is maybe 5% African American population in their elementary school. Do I talk to my kids and tell them that they should treat their black friends differently because of the racial discrimination in this world? Wouldn’t that be racist in itself? To tell my daughter that she needs to be aware of the differences between her and another her age because of the color of their skin, seems wrong. Maybe when my kids are teenagers? Shouldn’t we explain to all of OUR kids that they should be respectful towards authority, and not run away when they do something wrong. That they should stand up for all of their black, brown, white, etc friends. If there is a choice between telling my kids to either “treat black people differently, or treat everyone the same regardless of skin color” I think I should choose the latter.
    But then I think about when they get older, and I realize that there is a difference in how the world initially reacts to people of different backgrounds and colors. What is the right age to delve into this issue?

  228. This conversation might be better spent with the black parents of your children’s friends. It is not white America who create the fear of black people. It is your own people who use the race card to blame everyone for your problems. NO black slave would be free without the aid of conscientious objectors (aka white people). Look to the criminal element in your own race who want to kill police and believe only Black Lives Matter or that the Black Panthers are not racist terrorists to be feared. Teach your son to see truth not color. You are calling attention to the difference of your son not the “white” parents of your child’s friends. You need to teach peace and ignore the “white” skin of your son’s peers who you obviously want him to blend in with for what reason?
    YOU are race baiting. No white parent could dare write such a disgraceful letter.

  229. Very insightful. I have little frame of reference for dealing with racism personally. Grew up in a white suburb. I’m a white mom of white kids but in a diverse city. Any presuppositions about me are most likely about nonsensical things–age, weight, economics. My kids attend diverse schools. I remember when they were little that it never occurred to them that their friends were different races. I remember being heartbroken that we had to teach them about racism but at the same time knowing they had to learn to recognize it. I remember that they were furious upon learning about slavery, discrimination, assassination–and I was glad they were angry. But even in these so called “enlightened” times, I still find myself unsure at times about what is appropriate. As I said, I have little frame of reference. Is there a place to ask, “As this a bad thing to say? Am I allowed to laugh if someone is poking fun at themself?” I feel like we spent the last few decades learning how to change our behaviors but our hearts went unaffected and we stopped having hard conversations with the goal of understanding each other.

  230. We adopted a child with black pigment. We happen to have white pigment. We taught our adopted child he is a child of God and our son and we have the privilege to raise him as such. We taught him his identity is bound in God and Jesus Christ. We taught him color of pigment sometimes will result in mistreatment. We taught him to ignore this mistreatment and be at peace with all people if at all possible. We taught him that his heritage is our family history, life and values. We taught him that he does not belong to a black, white or other ethnic culture or community. We taught him his race is the human race. We taught him that he is unique in the world and that he does not belong to a group of people based on physical characteristics. We taught him that “racism” is real but not an excuse or anything to be feared. We taught him that racism has also taken on a perpetual victim class construct and in many respects is built on false narratives perpetuated by political party’s, media, schools, businesses and government. We essentially taught our son that be colorblind. We taught our son that his self image is bound in his creator not in a pigment of skin.

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  232. Powerful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  233. Very informative and on point. Thk u for ur truthfulness. All parents should talk to their kids about racism not just white ppl

  234. Thank you Maralee. Thank you. Your words are so important. As a white father, I discuss racism with my family daily. For most of my life, racism was not discussed (but prominently displayed for all to see). I know many white people who don’t understand racism. It isn’t taught, and with white privilege, it is easy to ignore without really thinking about it.

    I believe education, progressive discussion, and a whole lot of listening are the keys to fighting this monster called racism. Your letter demonstrates exactly what we need to be talking about, and I applaud you for furthering the conversation.

  235. Greetings people
    I (Blk. Male) am a concerned relative of a 1yr old black baby boy who was taken by child protective services from my cousin who has had a terrible history with drug addiction. I honestly feel that Child Protective Services did the right thing in removing this child from her care. At first my wife and I where unsure if we could offer our home to this family member (kid) do to health concerns. However after receiving the green light from our doctor a little time had passed. Our young family member has been placed in foster care, in the foster care of a white family who has grown quite attached to him, and where and still are not thrilled about our request to have our family member returned to our family under the care of my wife and I. It is plain to see how very much this couple loves this child, and these are two very smart and capable people (both of whom are in education as a profession) and it breaks my heart to see the pain they both experienced when told that we want him in our home and that court proceedings are moving forward to this end. A few weeks ago we met face to face and it was even pain for me to see the pain this foster mother was in when see handed this little black boy over to me even for a short visit. As hard as it is to think about this couple and what they will feel as a result of just being good people, people who are obviously Not racist and willing to take this little black boy and raise him as their very own, people who will do their very best to love and protect him with every ounce of their being. However the concerns mentioned in this article are the very things I wonder if this family would be able to deal with these and so many other situation that would occur if the court decides to allow the child to be adopted by them. Again I think this two very capable, loving, and all around good people, but I still think this child would be better off with his birth family. I hope to see some of your thoughts.

    • So I see you left this comment awhile ago so hopefully you will see this. We were in a similar situation with a relative before. Drug addict mom gave birth to half brother of our niece, they asked for family volunteers. We spoke up right away but they moved the baby to foster care out of county right away. By the time they processed all the paperwork and were done trying to find a father, the foster parents said they would appeal any possible move. The child was like 9 months by then and we didn’t a lot of have money for a lawyer. Fast forward a year and we took in 2 foster twins toddlers who were African American. They were supposed to go to family in a month. Took cys 8 months to get them to their aunt who wanted them but wanted cys to pay for beds. We bought beds. Didn’t want to give them up but we were told family would get them eventually. While we had them we also adopted 2 baby girls, also African American. Now as it turns out, foster twins parents and uncle think they would be better off with us. In your case, if you truly love this child, then I think he should be with you. If you are taking him just because you think family is better, then I disagree. However, whoever gets him should do some kind of visitation if possible. I have an open adoption with one of my daughter’s birth family. The more people that love a child, the better I think! Best wishes on your new family member!

  236. I call BS to the article and most of the comments. The article is onesided, racist, and playing the victim. There are many sides and much understanding that should be done between white & black. But rest assured, “privileged white” is nothing more than an excuse for “non-privileged” blacks to use for their lack of self respect, identity, motivation, success, etc… I personally work with black people who make the same money I do, same title, and actually have more “privileges” than myself or other whites. No one is complaining about that because we suck it up and get over it. As far as society goes, quit making excuses for whats happening and start taking action with your own behavior, actions, and reactions to certain situations and things will start to change. Not overnight and it will take everyone but it will change. But its up to you. Your actions and reaction to my comments alone will tell who you truly are.

    Peace out!

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  240. I think this is such a great perspective. I know that sometimes I overteach my children about how skin color does not matter. Yet not everyone will act that way, so my kids need to learn to speak up on behalf of their friends, no matter the reason that they are bullied or put down.

  241. I totally agree with what your saying here, however, all of the things you are asking us white parents to do, I ask that you have the same conversation as a black parent with your child whose best friend is white. See, we have experienced racism from black people as well because of the color of our skin. Some of our closest friends are black and we have stood together, however, not all black people have been accepting of us because we are white. The article does seem one sided but I get what your saying and I agree.

  242. “see what is happening today in Oregon with the take over of a government building by self-described militia people to clearly understand what is being discussed here. I guarantee you that had the Black Lives Matter people taken over a government building, the response from law enforcement, media and the general public would have been very, very different.”

    Well Eric holder did it, and he went on to become the attorney General of the United States. So yes, they would be treated vastly different. The response by media would be calling them protesters instead of white terrorist. I doubt liberal media would be calling for the feds to bomb them or shoot them up. You are using the unfairness you think would be there without really considering it.

    Black lives matter has been occupying buildings, interstates, blocking poor families from shopping in the one day before Christmas that they could afford some decent gifts, hitting and attacking whites, blacks, Hispanics, who disagree with them, invading people’s college education for supposed racism that was predicated on completely false information, attacking cops, invading city/county buildings, burning buildings with few arson arrest, and on and on.

    Racism exist across all lines, colors, religions. Equality means being equal. That means paying equal attention to injustices done to all. Why don’t you all ever talk about the far more occuring black on white attacks? Why don’t you talk about the kids, just like yours, who are friends/boyfriends/girlfriend with a white person, and they both get the crap kicked out of them? It happened to my friends for being a black guy with a white friend, in the wrong neighborhood. Their attackers were not white, they were black. Please talk to your kids and explain to them, just because they see my white son as a friend, as kind, as his equal, does not mean other black people see him the same. Please explain that many families raise their kids without exposure to decent white folks or any. Please explain to him that a white person leaving a predominately black neighborhood, is likely to be pulled over, questioned, searched, or worse. You may not think so, having the privilege of never experiencing this, but it is alive and well. Please tell your son’s and daughters if they get into a fight with black people while with my son, my son will forever be plastered as a racist and yours will be seen as a traitor to his race. Please explain to him if they are accosted by police that my son won’t be able to join his lawsuit against them for civil rights violations, as my son has no rights to that. Please let him know that my son is not albino or Casper the ghost, and calling him honkey or cracker is not just “in good fun.” Please explain that my son may not be able to join him in protest against racism, due to the number of whites being attacked while holding signs for injustices done against minorities, not just by cops, but by other protesters. Please tell him that just because he is safe in large groups of other black people, doesn’t mean my son is, and cowboy boots, blue jeans, and a hat, are not representations of a cowboy racist, rather being raised in farm country like “Denton Ward.” Please tell him if he sees this type of thing happen to please speak against it (when it is safe for him of course), instead of remaining silent and letting 20 people get away with a lynching murder.

    White privilege? Yep it’s a thing. So is male, female, black, gay, straight, minority privilege. Black and Mexican privilege is the right to kick the crap out of whites and Asians and not get charged with hate crimes. Don’t believe me? Do the research.
    Eric Holder himself said, “whites, Christians, and military do not get protection under federal hate crime statutes, because they are not a ‘protected class’.”

    Please let’s end this double standard.

    You do understand that white kids get thrown around, mistreated, killed while unarmed by police too? You want me to tell my kid not to act up around your child? How about you tell yours the same. How about you employ your son to have concern for our son’s life too? This is a two way street. I will protect your son’s life with my own life. I will stand up for the rights he has as a human, the same as my own. But it will never end, because some racist will spoil it on both sides, but some will never say/do anything to speak against it when it’s on our side.

    Of course, just saying this has you thinking I’m racist, because whites in reality are not allowed to talk about the injustices done today, because the injustices of the past make us guilty by racial association.

  243. I liked the comment, can’t find it now, something about: “I forgot about ruining an article by reading the comments!”

    I found it interesting in the range of comments going figuratively & literally from black to white! No we are not a colorblind society, yes my children have & will need to act differently because they are black, then we who are white.

    Yet, as ‘A.B.’ commented there is soooo much more to it, inequality in education/income/housing & on…our children; as they have a better understanding; need to know there is so much more then being black/white.

    My son has mostly white friends, I’m not sure they would stand up for him? From what I catch in his text messages & conversations- the kids themselves @ 12/13 yrs. old have formed their own ‘learned’ beliefs & it’s from a majority of parent/s who have to look within themselves to see their own prejudices. We talk about these things- not for my kids to be victims, for them to be aware.

  244. Thank you for this very insightful piece. As a black parent of a black son, I wish the writer had separated some of her themes – maybe into two pieces. The additional fears and perceptions about black boys that are encountered are different than the blatantly racist name calling, head rubbing, etc. At least in my kids’ worlds, their white friends would not be standing idly by if someone were making blatantly racist remarks, and their parents would not be rubbing his head. It will be the more progressive parents who will hear the safety cautions; those are the ones most of us need the most I think. I’d love to share this piece but I think I would excerpt it, honestly. The most important message gets obscured.

  245. Marilee well said! I was a leader of the multiracial movement and spoke at the first multiracial march on Washington. I too write a blog about doing the right thing. As a white mother of multiracial children now adults two books I recommend for all of us as white parents are White Privilege and Why do all the black kids sit together at the cafeteria? It will so eloquently explain this happy ignorance and change our ability to recognize this injustice I know it empowered me! Enjoy!

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  247. Amazing post! Thank you for sharing! Although, this should be applied across the board regardless of color, race or religious beliefs.

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  249. hi
    i enjoyed your article. i believe that all people are created equal. i hate stereotypes.
    let me ask you this…would you design your kid to be white if you had the chance? let’s pretend we’re living in a world where genetic engineering is possible and you can pick your kid’s genes…would you?

    • What a ridiculous question! If you’ve read Maralee’s blog, you would know that she celebrates each of her children. Exactly how God made them. Why would she change a thing?

    • Why would you ask such a thing? I would not change my children in any way. I would change the world to see them as I do. Change starts with me by raising children who are resilent and kind. Who can stand up for themselves and believe in themselves.

  250. I am a 70 year old white mother and grandmother living in Georgia for 30 years, I grew up and for the most part raised me and my husband raised our family in Nebraska. You are so right and I am so thankful you are speaking out I have had to defend myself and how I feel about racism many times, I am proud to say my children are adults who have also raised children who feel the same way we do, we need to speak up when someone makes a comment, or what they might think is a joke it all starts with the little things.

  251. Excellent post. I fervently hope every mother’s child makes it through the challenges of growing up to become the bountiful harvest that is the reason we parents spend our lives loving and giving to the next generation.

    It is sad for someone who grew up asking why – Why were the police attacking those people marching in the South? Why it took troops to protect little boys and girls going to school? Why my friend couldn’t go swimming with me? – that we STILL have to have this conversation.

    Keep up the good work, Marilee.

  252. MaraLee,
    I understand where you are coming from.
    I am Half German / Japanese. I was Teased ALL Through School.
    In the Japanese Culture : We were taught , when you enter a Home to leave our Shoes @ the Door , Whether you have Shoes, Socks On or Not.
    When a Child wants to go outside w/o Shoes/ Socks , that is His Choice and His Parents Choice , Not the Neighborhood.

  253. Saw the article in today’s paper. I would like to invite you and other parents to a group we started in May called Parenting Across the Color Line. This group strives to build relationships among parents, teens and adult adoptees, to support and strengthen racial identity in transracial families, through developing dialog, monthly meetings, and events.
    We meet this Monday, January 25 at 7:00 pm. at Newman United Methodist Church (2242 R Street) in Lincoln. We will be watching and discussing the movie “Dear White People”, an independent movie about growing into ones own identity amid cultural expectations/biases.
    We would love to have you join us.

  254. I just read this to our 8 year old grandson as he was playing Fruit Ninja on his ipad mini and explained your message to him. I had read it earlier, and took it to heart. We do need to have these conversations.

  255. Excellent writing! Inspiring message! Praying our society gets it soon! Fight the good fight! I’m right there with you!

  256. Thanks for the honesty. I think as a society we’d like to think that we’re beyond this; but the truth is as long as there is fear there is racism. My wife is Vietnamese, I’m white, my kids are mixed. How will they be treated? I see racism affect my wife, I see it affect my friends, family and coworkers. We’d be blind if we thought it wasn’t a issue still.

  257. Thank you for these words.

  258. I BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE WAS WELL WRITTEN & WITH ALL GOOD INTENTIONS, BUT AS YOU GO DOWN & READ THE COMMENTS & ATTACKS IT REALLY MAKES YOU WONDER MAYBE SOME OF CHILDREN CAN BETTER EDUCATE YOU?? THE PROBLEM IS WITH THIS GENERATION NOW OF PARENTS WHO CAN’T READ SOMETHING OPEN MINDED & RESPECT THAT IT IS COMING FROM A GOOD PLACE & HAS GOOD INTENTIONS. YES EVERYBODY IS ENTITLED TO THERE OPINION BUT IF IT IS TO ATTACK SOMEONE ELSE’S OR SLANDER ANOTHER OR PRETEND RACISM DOES’T EXSIST THEN YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S GOING ON IN OUR NEWS EVERYDAY. END OF STORY

  259. Every word this woman has written is true. My family has experienced all if it. Sad but true.

  260. As a mom, I appreciate the fears for tot child as they transition from cute & goofy kids to young men and women. I do not appreciate your assumptions. Why do you assume parents, other than yourself, don’t speak to our children about racism? Why do you assume you are the only race enlightened? Why do you assume decades and generations do not change? Is racism gone? No. Is racism reserved for the black race? No. What would your child do if he witnessed a violent act of racism against someone different from his religion or color? I know what my children would do. They would act first to protect, second they would record and press send (technology can be a good thing), third they would speak up and continue to do so for any person attacked by racism- then take it to the next level- a global look.

  261. From a Native American perspective, with our Mandela still in jail after 37 years, I have to edit one line of the absolutely AMAZING article EVERYONE needs to read. Here is my edit:
    I DO have hope that when ALL PEOPLE KEEP TALKING about these issues with ALL KIDS, that’s when CHANGE HAPPENS.”

    Many thanks to Maralee and all those who passed this article on to me (Craig & Emma)

    YOU are want the world needs now!

    Wanishi wemi kisheleman welakamike!

    (Lenape for “Many thanks for creating this beautiful world!”)
    ~RuthAnn Purchase
    – See more at: http://www.amusingmaralee.com/2015/12/to-the-white-parents-of-my-black-sons-friends/#sthash.6GpsLm4k.dpuf

  262. This is excellent and everything I want to say to others also. Thank you for finding the right words.

  263. Wonderfully spoken , my children are multicultural , I’m saddened that nothing has changed . I am stressed and worried every time my young adult kids are out , not knowing if they will come across the violence and ignorance of other people , and now the excessive force of police. God Help Us we are all human one race the human race

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  265. I have so many mixed feelings. I talk to my (white) sons about the hands-where-police-can-see-them and not sneaking through neighbor’s yards, because that’s the world we *all* live in today. I know several families (all white) who had CPS called on their kids for playing barefoot in the front yard or similar non-offenses. But I also know three families with chronically ill children, and the only one that had that chronically ill child stolen by the state and put up for adoption was the one headed by a black mother (also single and poor, completely unable to defend her children from the CPS legal beast). I know that kids tease *everyone*, and I ALWAYS say it’s wrong – always – so that when a black child is teased for being black, it’s no worse than, and every bit as bad as, when a fat child is teased for being fat, a kid with a Valley accent or Jersey slang teased for talking “funny,” a white kid in Africa teased for being white, or my black friends that used to make fun of me for my white-as-a-sheet skin, etc. It’s always wrong, and I teach my children not to do it and to stand up for *any* victim of it.

    I think there is truly a privilege involved in being the majority skin color or ethnicity wherever you live (whether it’s white in the US or black in Kenya), and that privilege (which is primarily the privilege of being evaluated on your own merits, not prejudged based on appearance) should be extended to everyone – EVERYONE. I think it’s rude to touch or stare at anyone’s hair/head without asking, but black & Hispanic people do it to me & my blonde hair – regularly. It’s human nature to be slightly less comfortable with (or fascinated by) people not exactly like you (because our entire history has been tribal until very, very recently), and it takes time to overcome that. We *all* need to be trying.

    All in all, I feel that the *only* thing you asked that isn’t what any parent should be doing with her own kids or asking of her own kids is staying together in police presence (recognizing the tragic & intolerable fact that when a young black male gets into trouble, the outcome is frequently worse than if he wasn’t young, black, or male). I wonder if you (and your son) might benefit from realizing that most of your concerns and requests are for all people. In general, it seems to me that it is *government* that most often is the cause of disproportionate bad outcomes for (especially low income) persons of color (see CPS, police, & failing inner city schools).

    As a side note, I wonder, why did you write this to “the white parents” of her son’s friends, and leave out the Hispanic, Chinese, Indian, middle Eastern, & Mediterranean parents of her son’s friends?

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  268. Very well written article! Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

    My son is in his 40s now, an attorney and prominent member of his Atlanta community. But having grown up in a largely white community in the west (I’m white, as was his mother; he was a child from a prior relationship), there were many times we had to deal with negative perceptions about his maturity, assumed suspect status, etc. We had a few clashes with his teachers and principals, especially in middle school.

    Fortunately, this was mitigated somewhat by his ‘A’ grades and social popularity. But the cops don’t see a top student or student council president on the street.

    Now, I don’t worry so much about him but his two boys and what they may face growing up. The cycle continues…

  269. Thank you. I’m a white woman, married to a black man, and we have two beautiful sons. They are little for now (ages 2 and 4). It’s so easy to think overtly racist things don’t happen anymore when it’s not happening to you or your family…but it is happening, every day, it’s happening. And, it’s scary. Thank you so much for this well written article. It hit home with me on every level.

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  271. I just do not understand your thinking! Why are you labeling your own children. There is no reason to warn them that because of their skin color they will be treated different. They will be treated exactly the same as they treat others. Should we tell our white children to be very careful when we are around black children so we do not say anything that might upset them, because their parents told them they are different, and we do not want to hurt their feelings. Black children also call white children names – they are kids! You are just plain wrong in what you are suggesting. I feel bad for the children that you are labeling. It is much more of a problem for you than them. They are children – they call each other names – white to white – black to white – white to black – and black to black! They will be fine if you let them live. You should go work in a school for a while. Kids get along just fine no matter their color or religion, until their parents intervene and cause problems because of their own insecurities.

  272. Thank you for this. I am the proud Aunt to many biracial nieces and nephews. We deal with racism regularly. Just last week my niece was called a racial slur, it was devastating to her.

  273. As a black woman who is incredibly concerned for my awesome, funny, smart, loving 10 yr old son… thank you for posting this.

  274. Assumption number one: white parents don’t talk to their kids about racism. Wrong. Maybe you should get to know some white families before you make assumptions?

    • Leon, I wrote this piece and I am white.

      • You being white makes this worse. You’re so worried about people stereotyping your child, yet you just stereotyped every white family. People like you, that make all of these assumptions are the reason racism even exists. You do realize there are racist black people? Maybe you as the parent of a black child should also teach your son to protect his white friend. That is how you truly prevent and stop racism. Teach them they are one…they are alike. And FYI when I stereotype between being a thug and a respectable young man not matter if they are black, white, Mexican ect…1 do they speak like a proper human being and 2 are their pants around their ankles. If your kid doesn’t talk or look like that you should have zero worries.

  275. This is a powerful piece. We have this discussion with our 12 year-old son often. Living in New Orleans, he has a diverse group of friends, and part of teaching him to be a considerate, loving friend has been teaching him to use the advantages that he’s born with – what we’ve called “hitting the circumstantial lottery” – to always stand by his friends of color (as well as his female friends) and to understand the challenges that they face that he doesn’t. I think those conversations from a young age have made him the thoughtful, sensitive young man that he is, even with all the pre-teen hormones raging.

  276. Thanks for this! Most of my sons friends are black males and females. While I have never considered myself “colorblind,” I do need to be reminded that many of the things we take for granted are not afforded to all.

  277. This arena is more fraught in every aspect than anyone but a researcher would realize. There is a tremendous amount of valuable research on child development and racial attitude development in this article. In some areas, if you don’t prepare your kids by 3rd grade, their racial attitudes can be set, for better or worse, in kids of all races.

    http://www.newsweek.com/even-babies-discriminate-nurtureshock-excerpt-79233

  278. Thanks for this. I grew up completely colorblind and was caught unprepared when my family moved to an extremely racist area. When we arrived a teacher of a local high school asked where I planned to go to high school. When I told him he advised against it as it was the nigger school as if it were perfectly normal and acceptable thing to say. This opened my eyes to smaller things that I had been missing before and eventually tje dangers of colorblindness in todays world. I never thought about race until high school. My son has been fortunate enough to grow up colorblind as well and knowing when and how to have this conversation has been difficult for me. I learned a lot from our conversation. He is half white and half asian and his grandparents don’t speak english. His best friends are latino, light skinned boy and a boy with dark skin. Just explaining race to him was difficult. He had no idea where the race lines were drawn. He was baffled at why people would be treated differently based on something he didn’t see as anymore different than having blonde hair or brown. As parents, it is necessary to help children understand and prepare for injustices in the world especially if the seem ridiculous to us.

  279. You need to change the perspective from which your son is viewed . I was a teenager at the time of the Watts riots in the 1960’s . Seems to me that all you ever saw on the evening news was mobs of Black people looting , burning , and rioting . Today you hear of the knockout game , see videos that Black teenagers posted on Facebook of their bullying , robbing ,and beating of Whites for some imagined grievance . You hear of the severe beatings and even murders of Whites by multiple young Black men just because the victim was white . It is a perception problem . And that problem was created by lawless, out of control Blacks ! And you wonder why Whites are leery of these sub-human animals ? And , yes , I am fully aware that this is a small percentage of the Blacks that do this . Now if you will just admit that the KKK is a very small percentage of Whites !

  280. As a white women, who wants to raise children in the future, thank you for posting this. I’m aware of privilege and I’m aware of racism in the institutional form and the individual form. But despite my awareness, I don’t have the daily experience of racism. And there are some things that won’t occur to me to teach my children because of that lack of experience. But I sure as hell will do my damnedest to teach my future kids about the realities of the racism that their friends/neighbors/family/ other people will experience and what they can do. I can always do better from reading articles like these.

  281. My white children were brought up going to church with black children.
    We housed the young black members of the church basketball team. We didn’t give it much thought, until we took our youngest ones to the Rockefeller Greenhouse. There was a park across the street with swings and slides, so we let the boys play for a few minutes. That was when I found out about reverse racism. Those young black children were threatening my sons and we left quickly.
    That was the incident that made me realize racism is not exclusive to white people.

  282. Why do we always have to dissect each other’s words? Why are we always offended? This Mother has a valid point. And she wrote this from a very loving heart. I appreciate her approach. I’ve read a few of these articles from moms and it has changed my perspective. I still cringe at the words white privilege. The first time I heard it I felt slapped in the face and it hurt and angered me. Because I honestly have not thought that me being a white blonde women ever allowed me any sort of extra privilege. I have been discriminated against because of being poor. But I never had to feel afraid for my life. I appreciate artcles like these that are helping to clear the scales from our eyes. I’m sorry I can’t scroll up to get your name but thank you for writing this. And thankyou for writing it from a loving and concerned heart. I am not going to feel bad I was born white (which I use to believe white privilege meant) but am opening my eyes. Telling the truth in a loving way is How you change hearts and open eyes and minds. Thank you and sending up prayers. (I hope I said this right).

  283. Lets keep it simple and real, racism happens in all directions and in all walks of life from one to another. We need to learn and teach to be color blind and open our eyes to all of the violence that is happening no matter who it is to or from. If we would learn to help others no matter their race or creed we would then learn to be a better city and better nation.

    I am as WHITE as they come and I play gold with my my friend who is black and we have a great time, he once asked me how I see the world and I took a moment to think then I realized that I see people for who they are and not what they are. We are given names to tell each other apart and that should be the way we see it. I have an American Indian friend who is one of my best friends and we look for the best in all.

    Let me get back to the White part, I was born this way and I am not ashamed of it. Neither I nor my family have done anything that has held anyone back from their own dreams. I have not been privileged to have anything more than any other person. When hard times came we prayed and God blessed us, we were as broke as could be and we did not seek help outside of God and family. We moved so that we could get better jobs and not have to have so much struggle.

    As I look around I see that the ones that want racism are the ones that keep talking about it and dwelling on it, they are also the ones that cannot get from the past and get into the present. Learn to move on in your mind and you will learn to better yourself. There are evil people out there that want to make racism continue, I am not one of them, not because I am white but because that is what will make the world a safe and better place.

  284. Great article, but please know this bias isn’t just a black and white issue. My white neighbor threatneed to call the cops on my white kids because they dared to cross beside her driveway when they went out to play. We are a big, Catholic family and we stand on-guard too because too many people question the abilities of parents to raise large families. Add home schooling to the mix and we’ve has to teach our kids to be wary of drawing any unnecessary attention from neighbors and strangers. A white friend with six young kids had CPS knocking on her door just a few months ago because she allowed her children to play in their cul-de-sac. Another local white mom had the cops visit after a woman at the park objected to her kids playing with Nerf guns. And we are no strangers to the “jokes” about our family because we are Catholic. My kids have had to listen to me explain to strangers whether my husband and I own a TV, have other hobbies (besides making babies) and if we are done yet.

    I get your point, but I think this problem goes further than skin deep. People seem to use any excuse to abuse one another, to tease, to torment and belittle those who are different. I am sorry that your son gets judged by his color rather than his character because I bet his is a wonderful young man. Just know you are not alone and prejudices are pointed in many directions.