I had a conversation with my son which was at first wonderful, but I did not expect the conversation to end the way it did which lead to fear which was instilled in his heart and red flags if concerns that instantaneously went up as a mom.
I am one of those moms whom talk often with their child; I let them know that I believe in their free speech. I believe in transparency with issues, but I filter subjects and topics based on their ages. You know how movies, songs and cartoons are rated for specific audiences based on their age groups, well certain conversations should be treated as such. Conversations on current affairs, politics and social issues need to be rated (pg5, pg10, pg 13, pg16, G, AC – adult content).
I am all for about teaching our children about social justice, radical movements, environmental justice, politics, religion and their rights, but again it is filtered to their age capacity. I factor in God forbid my child goes and discusses said topics with his friends, as kids usually do. What if parents aren’t having these conversations, or are having these conversations in the depth that I want to have them. So I give a water-downed version (or what some may accuse of white washed version – which I don’t like saying) because of the mere fact that I do not want to offend how others decide to have certain hot topic conversations with their families. That’s not my place. I do not want to be the one to burden a family of having to have a certain conversation a head of time.
A few months ago at one of the school PTA meetings right after the elections, many immigration agencies came, that was a very emotional PTA. One of the advices that were given (concerning immigration issues) is maybe to shelter our kids from watching the news. At the time President Trump had just won, and many of our families were in fear. Many of our families had no idea how or what to expect going forward. Some still feel that way, so many are uncertain with the direction of the current administration is headed. Though that advice, I took to heart. I sheltered more what he was exposed to and if he asked questions I give him a tame pg5 version not to cause him to worry, not to stress him, no to think that our Commander in chief is a bad man, for we cannot judge his personality, we can agree to disagree but that does not mean he is a bad person.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions and we must respect those opinions despite our agreement or disagreement.
So back to the reason of this writing:
My sons and I were having a conversation about Officers. Two students showed their admiration to their relative whom is an officer. It was a cute story. They described how cool the relative’s job is. They described the Detectives weapons which my son found fascinating, that he has both gun and Taser gun. (This lead to another sidebar conversation about wanting to know about Taser guns). Then this is where the conversation turned. He asked me , is this officer a good cop or a Kid killer cop?
I immediately stated this cop was a good cop, then I asked where this notion of Kid Killer cop came from? He said he was informed that some officers are good some are bad. I told him yes that is true, but where did this come from? One of his other friends in school told him the story of Tamar Rice, the little boy in Cleveland who was killed by officers for playing with a toy gun. I was devastated. This incident happened yes a few years ago, but is not something I was ready to share with my child.
My son is conscious that I support the BLM. I am a mother of two black Boyd, but when the BLM movement began and thats all anyone spoke about I had to explain my son what this means, but I reminded him… hey that doesn’t mean my life doesn’t matter…. it means right now people need to remember Black Lives matter. I told him Latin@ lives matter for he was concerned over my wellbeing. I told him American lives matter, I told him all life matters but with the disparities some are facing. We need to help the BLM movement because black lives do matter just as much as any other.
I spoke to another parent whom indicated her child also had a similar conversation, and since then her child has been fearful of officers. The fear lasted until she had her child speak to an officer, explained the content of their conversation and advised the child that they are here to protect and serve everyone.
A third parent mentioned that their child heard the same conversation, but the mother drilled to them that Officers are good, not to worry.
Again I am all about transparency with current events and my children, I am all for activism (being raised by an activist myself), I am all for charitable events (being active and involved in several charities myself). I am raising my child to be helpful to others and so forth as my parents raised me. I am all about social movements as mentioned before and have taken my some to some social movement forums (kid friendly of course). I also have relatives whom work in government as civic leaders and legislators, I have relatives whom work in NYPD, I have relatives whom work for FDNY, I have relatives whom work at the PBA, I have relatives whom work for homeland security, national guard, TSA, Army, Marines, Navy, etc. I was raised to not fear but respect the badge. This family has taken away my teachings and instead imbedded fear in my child. Fear of authority.
I really do not like the fear that is left with him. He not only fears that officers may shoot him because he is a kid, but because he is also a black kid as well. My son is only 6 years old. He shouldn’t have to worry about the color of his skin being the reason someone may shoot him.
Yes this is a fear that many in the African American community deals with. As a mother of Black children, as a mother of Bi-racial children, I do not play the black card, I do not like to label my children. I do not like to conform to the stereotypical and social norms about race and identity. I do believe in being conscience about them but now I am being forced conform to the social norms I rally against. I know these are conversations that need to take place, but we are having these conversations when the time is right and appropriate to their are group.
I will address the parent as soon as I can. I will remind the parent to be conscious of the information passed down from adult to child, to be conscious that not all homes are having the same conversations one has with their child. Some parents aren’t having these kinds of conversations at all.
I already called the local precinct to make arraignment’s to have my son speak to officers to show them that they are good officers. I have always taught him to respect officers and all adults. We should not fear them, for in times of need we need them. Regardless what may be going on in the world, I refuse to teach my children to hate law enforcement. Despite the fact that there may be some encounters of abuse in the media, not all officers are bad, sure there may very well be a few bad apples, but that’s in every profession.
The only reason I am bringing this up is maybe to bring awareness to parents that be careful what you discuss with your children. They go back and discuss with friends. Not everyone is having the same conversation with their children. We need to be conscious of that.
I guess yesterday’s discussion of fear was spot on.
God I ask that you guide me with my talks with my son and to the parent. God provide me with the words, wisdom and clarity to address this situation. Lord help me rebuke the fear which has been instilled in my sons heart. Your strength and guidance is all I need in your glorious name. Amen