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Lionne posted 6/10/2020 07:10 AM

We have a large medical center in a city famous for drugs and crime and extreme poverty. I was in the lobby, a woman with two young boys was nearby and in walked two police officers in full gear. The boys grew wide eyed, staring at them, their eyes drawn to the gun. Their mother said something to them and they shyly walked over to the police, extending their hand to be shook. The police officers bent down, shook hands, high fived, introduced themselves and asked the kids' names. It was a beautiful scene in a city that has SO many problems.
But when i related the story to a local policeman at a party, he smiled and another guest said "right, abd in ten years these thugs will try to kill you, am i right?" The policeman smiled and did not correct him.
I pointed out that that was a racist attitude. The comment back to me was "but true, am i right?"

Pippin posted 6/10/2020 07:31 AM

Thank you to everyone who has shared. These conversations and understanding everyone's POV are so important.

Lionne, I admire teachers so much who recognize the problems that exist in their systems and try to find a solution, and keep working at it. There's no easy answer.

Your story is so sad. It reminds me of one when I was working in a middle school. Three African American boys and one white boy had collected food for a soup kitchen. I walked them over to the church one day at lunch to drop the boxes off. There was no one at the church but the kitchen door was unlocked. They didn't want to go in but I coaxed them to step inside to leave the boxes on the counter. We left a note saying what the boxes were and who they were from. As we were walking out the door of the kitchen, a car alarm went off. The three African American boys started sprinting away. The white boy didn't. When they stopped, I asked what they were doing and they said they were afraid the police were after them. The white boy said - but we were with our principal and donating food, and we left proof. We all had a laugh. It was so not funny. It was in middle school that many black children went from being wide eyed and fairly innocent to jaded. They noticed that they were the ones followed around the corner store when they went to buy candy after school, not their white friends. They were the ones eyed suspiciously from porches. They absorbed the media messages. It was heartbreaking.

There's a study that police officers correctly asses the age of children up to age 10, but after age 10 they guess that black boys are four and a half years older than they really are (the study was done with police officers but i'll bet it's true for everyone). So black children who are 12 and a half are treated like they have the maturity of a 17 year old. or 13 and a half like they are legal adults. (reference, american psychological association, "black boys viewed as older, less innocent than whites.")

Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection. Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent,” said author Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Have you read Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? it's old but worth a read if you haven't.

[This message edited by Pippin at 7:41 AM, June 10th (Wednesday)]

StillLivin posted 6/10/2020 20:24 PM

My mother, one sister, and one brother pass for white. They would be the first ones to tell you how differently they are treated than the rest of us. When I day differently, I mean better. When they get pulled over for speeding or broken taillights, they dont have to worry about keeping their hands on the steering wheel and having their license and registration already in their hands. They usually get off with a warning, and they've never had their vehicles illegally searched...unless they were with one of us.
On the other hand, I have a multitude of friends from the rainbow. AMD they have shown me time and time again that most people are good and kind, and most definitely not racist.

WhatsRight posted 6/16/2020 07:42 AM

So, a weird situation the other day…

I was sitting in our sunroom and I had the windows open because our HVAC went out.

All of a sudden, I hear screaming… Really awful screaming, sort of like growling… And I jumped up to see what was going on. I stepped out onto my front porch, and across the street, and three houses down there was a family fight going on.

As far as I know It was only verbal, but it was quite heated. It seem to be between a mother and her teenage son. She was telling him to do something and evidently he was either refusing or talking back. They were out in the front yard, and did not seem to care one bit if people around them were aware of what was going on.

At one point she said, “ If you don’t do… I’m going to beat the hell out of you!“

At this point, the screaming back-and-forth was so bad that the thought occurred to me that I should call the police. Just to calm the family down.

But then I thought… There have been times when my sons and I raised our voices, and I would not have wanted the police to come.

Also, and much more importantly, I was concerned about the outcome if the police came. (Did I mention that the family is black?)

So I hesitated, and ultimately did not make a call to the police because I was concerned for the family. They definitely needed some help of some kind, but they didn’t need the police to come and have God knows what to happen to them.

See, my first response to “unrest“ of almost any kind, is to call the police. For the first time, and because of the current environment, I’m second guessing that tendency.

Eventually, people stopped yelling and nobody was physically hurt that I was aware of.

But it’s so sad to me that the thought came into my mind that I might cause them more grief than help by calling the police.

As a result of the prejudiced and criminal behavior of some police officers, how many people are going to fail to get the police involved in situations where they probably need to be involved? How many people will be hurt and possibly killed due to people hesitating to call the police?

Very, very sad.

[This message edited by WhatsRight at 7:45 AM, June 16th (Tuesday)]

silverhopes posted 6/16/2020 20:01 PM

Trevor Noah has a great "Between the Scenes" about privilege that I highly recommend watching. It completely changed my understanding of privilege and racism.

Too often, we think it's about feelings. It's not. It's about opportunities - cumulative opportunities. And about how much contact we're likely to have with the system over our lifetimes. Racism is just as concrete as the cinderblocks that make up the foundations of our institutions, but it's been sold as something it isn't. We think it's only unkind words, but it isn't. It's in actions, and even deeper, in laws, in money, in the ways our lives are set up to work within the systems.

It exists.

I wish I knew the answers. One thing I know is, once I know my place in the system, I know how I can make sure I'm not perpetuating it onto anyone else. I can use the voice I have to draw attention to other voices that get less focus than mine. I can say, "Hey, she's trying to say something! Please listen to her!" I can say, "I was watching, and that's not how I saw that happen" or "Don't grab him like that!" Yes, I am African-American (and Native American), but I'm lighter skinned than about half my family members. I know their voices don't get heard like mine do, I know there are burdens they're placed with that I'm not. So the little power I have, I can use to stick up for them. And I can listen and ask them directly what they need.

You can do the same.

Don't make it about your feelings. It's not. Racism goes deeper than feelings. It's about systemic quality of life.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 8:20 PM, June 16th (Tuesday)]

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