Race: Kids show us there is optimism, but parents must play a role.
This blog post originally appeared in the LadydeeLG blog.
More than a month after a jury acquitted the man that shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year old boy, emotions are high. People question whether things will change, whether minority children, especially minority boys, will be able to grow up in a world where they are respected and valued, not just seen as hoodlums.
As I read many of the powerful blog posts by concerned parents of Black, Latino or multiracial children, I think about what the future can look like for these children. Since this happened, I have been very aware of race and have looked at the families around me. I live in a very diverse neighborhood, and at the playground I see White kids of Italian descent, Greek kids, Muslim kids, Hispanic kids, biracial kids… playing side by side. So, I do have faith that things will get better. I have faith that my child will grow up in a world where non-white children will not be judged only by their appearance or by man-made stereotypes.
This post is NOT meant to lessen the implications of the outcome of George Zimmerman’s trial, or to lessen the tragedy of Trayvon’s death. It was a tragedy that shattered the lives of his parents. Because, as I have said before, no parents should have to bury their child. It is supposed to be the other way around.
This post is to put a little optimism in the picture, because, things have gotten better. There is still much work to be done- but today, people of many races and religions marry and have children…. There are successful people who are biracial. In a country where it was once a crime to intermarry- we now have a biracial president. (Yes, people like to say Obama is our first Black president, and he is because he has defined himself in that way, but the reality is—he is Biracial.)
Our kids are not us, and we are not our parents. We can make things better… We can teach our children to value and respect people of all backgrounds. Prejudice and hate are not innate. They are learned. We must raise children that truly see the content of a person’s character. This begins at home… With us, parents. To accept differences as a part of life, we must teach them that we are all part of the human race.
I’d like to leave you with this video, which shows why there is optimism for the future, because kids know better. As one child eloquently puts it “Underneath it,[skin] literally, you’re the same people. You have organs, and a heart.” If only adults could be so smart.