I am a white mom. It is my responsibility to teach my children about race, issues of diversity, and important aspects of American life and history that are absent from the textbooks and teacher’s guides. I grew up with a grandfather who used the “N” word. He was very VERY conservative. I always felt this weird feeling in my heart whenever he used this word or talked about black people in a certain way. I never felt the same as he did. He was all about President George W. Bush and thought Clinton was an idiot. I never understood what it all meant or even who these people were. Being so young I just always brushed it off because he was just being Papa.
I reached high school and I was never the popular one or the one who played sports or the beautiful drama girl. I read, sang, and read some more. I was very into school and my education. I was in the National Honor Roll and I thought that would be my greatest achievement of my life. Little did I know, I’d have so many great achievements. Soon after I graduated I figured out how to be social and express my true self through partying. I met all types of people and became a beer pong champ! New to this whole party scene I was also new to having friends sadly. I wanted to feel apart of a group. I wanted to feel understood. I wanted to be someone. I became the token white girl in a group of culturally diverse 18 year olds. I never saw any of my friends as being a different color. I never thought people looked at me differently for hanging out with people of different races. I just knew these were my friends and I would have their backs no matter what. I felt a strong feeling of love towards my new friends. These new friends of mine accepted me. I had always wanted to be accepted.
Since then, I have lost a few of those friends but I also keep in touch with a few too. I have a very diverse collection of friends and I can’t even bare to think of the struggles that my friends of color face on a daily basis. I know the typical stuff about slaves from your basic history book but no one ever gave me a deeper understanding of racial history and ongoing racial matters. I frankly thought it was a thing of the past. I was ignorant. Too often, people are silent in the face of racist, prejudicial, biased, or stereotypical comments. I know it is uncomfortable to confront a friend. I want you to consider, however, how uncomfortable it makes my friends and their families and all other families of color to know that there are people who we have entrusted to protect and serve in our communities who think of them as less than- less important, less worthy of basic human rights, love, compassion, and our attention. Think of those conversations that have to happen at a young age for certain races. The conversations on how to speak to a police officer or person of authority the appropriate way as to not get killed.
Everyone is equal. Everyone is human. Everyone deserves the same human rights. It is my duty as an American to celebrate our nations diversity and teach my children to do the very same. It is my duty as a white mother to read, listen, reflect, ask questions and become better as a result of what I learn so I can then educate my children on anti-racism, equality, justice in society, and how to be a good, kind human. I never knew that having children came with such responsibility. That 18 year old girl who had blinders on to the segregated world that my friends were and still are living in is outraged, angry, saddened, overwhelmed, fearful and shocked. I never realized or acknowledged the fear that my friends feel on a daily basis. I was against everything Colin Kaepernick knelt for on that football field because I felt he was using the wrong platform for such an extreme issue. I was wrong. This issue needs attention. The whole world watched as George Floyd was murdered. Here we are America. I am hopeful that once my kids reach school age there will be a much more broad curriculum so we can improve as a society. We need to be the change in the world. No one is born racist. It starts with us. It starts with parents.