Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Color Blind Spots

So I'm possibly the least-equipped person you've ever met when it comes to political debate, but a friend shared this article (…/repetitive-motion-disorder-black-…/) with me and I wish my friends and family would read it. I've always assumed I'm not racist, and some of the "reflexes" mentioned in this article are not things that I personally identify with. HOWEVER. I'm slowly starting to learn that I am raising my baby boy in a very different world than my friend's baby boy. Same city, same economic class, vastly different realities. 

I don't pretend to know much about Ferguson, or Grand Juries, or what it's like to be a police officer. (I'm grateful for law enforcement officers who protect our rights and keep our communities safe!) But I do know that some of the things I'm reading on facebook make me uncomfortable these days. If you find friends and family saying disparaging things at get-togethers this week, please be prepared to at least mention that:

1. We all have a right to act in self-defense. But self-defense is very different from pre-emptively acting out of fear/misinformation/stereotype.

2. Marijuana use is roughly equal among whites and blacks, yet blacks are almost 4 times as likely to be arrested for possession. (…/war-marijuana-black-and-white-report)

3. "Can we perhaps, just this once, admit our collective blind spot? Admit that there are things going on, and that have been going on a very long time, about which we know nothing? Might we suspend our disbelief, just long enough to gain some much needed insights about the society we share? One wonders what it will take for us to not merely listen but actually to hear the voices of black parents, fearful that the next time their child walks out the door may be the last, and all because someone—an officer or a self-appointed vigilante—sees them as dangerous, as disrespectful, as reaching for their gun? Might we be able to hear that without deftly pivoting to the much more comfortable (for us) topic of black crime or single-parent homes?"

I already struggle with a lot of fears now that I have a baby. I cannot image adding more to the list simply because my baby has a darker skin color.

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