I had a little “oh yeah” moment when I told a white friend this story the other day.
Me: ::told the story::
Her: Um! We want him to LIKE police officers! ::dirty look::
Just like during that conversation with my son, I was dumbfounded. Then I remembered, oh yeah, not every white person has a diverse circle of friends. Oh yeah, having a diverse circle of friends doesn’t mean said white person has ever thought or talked about the racial implications of…oh so many things. Oh yeah, not every white parent is part of a multiracial or transracial family. Oh yeah, WHITE PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN ACTUALLY BE COLORBLIND/POSTRACIAL. Oh no. Oh yeah, not every white person has read the race chapter of Nurtureshock (hello, if you haven’t read this and you are white be prepared to have your mind blown by my favorite thing…science. Oh yeah).
So now, for anyone who may have shared my friend’s reaction when you read that little story… Why did I have that conversation with my toddler that way? Because I have a strong policy of never lying to him or in front of him. Because the complexity of this world we have made for ourselves is incredibly difficult to bear sometimes but I want to show him how we can best do that together. First by having a very open line of communication about anything and everything. Because I believe in always answering a child’s question. And in not cramming too much information down their throats but in giving the simplest, most age appropriate answer possible and then waiting for the next question…whenever it may come.
I’m hoping to gently continue the conversation with my friend, beginning with sending her this article. But seriously, that race chapter in Nurtureshock. You are going to love it! Go read it and come back and talk to me about it!
* UPDATE: My friend read the Time article and immediately started reeling off tons of questions. So into talking about it all. Wow, I love all my friends. Such cool people.