How do you teach your children about race, ethnicity, gender differences ….. diversity overall? The children are listening and learning right now. They are listening to their parent’s discussions, their teacher’s discussions, the news as they pass through rooms in their environments. I do hope that every adult, i.e. parents, teachers, caregivers, etc is opening the door for conversations and these ‘teachable moments,’ that are being offered this week. Yes, every circumstance that comes to our awareness provides us with opportunities to learn from and teach with. We are currently discussing race relations in connection to the varied perspectives of millions of people – who were not present at an encounter between two professionals. We are all weighing in on the ‘should haves,’ ‘could haves,’ ‘would haves,’ of the circumstances that transpired. Since cops hold a special, personal place in my heart, I found myself weighing in at first by saying that when a cop asks for ID, you produce it without an attitude. I still stand by that but I also add the fact that the more I hear about the start of this saga it’s clear that two men have very different and legitimate viewpoints about one encounter. They both have seemingly valid points and one of the talking-heads just said that they can both be right!! What??!! Aha – that’s President Obama’s ‘teachable moment!!’ We need to point out to our children that people of color are sometimes treated with disrespect and unfairness by ignorant people who think color is indicative of some kind of personality trait and therefore are quite sensitive when authority question their legitimate rights (being in their own home); and we need to point out that sometimes people of authority have a job to do and need to be respected for their relatively reasonable requests (yes, asking for ID and checking the validity of ID on a called in burglary report [in this day and age of Home Invasions] is a reasonable request) even when we feel put-upon. And in having this discussion with our children, we need to convey the message that they need to carry themselves with the compassion and respect to help combat the occurrences of these misunderstood circumstances. If individuals overstep their rights or power, through a perceived ‘superiority’ carried from employment, age, affiliation – OR through a perceived ‘superiority’ based on a “I can make you do it,” attitude, then both those individuals need to do some soul-searching AND both individuals have to spend some solid time re-prioritizing.
Anyway – just thought it something that might be challenging parents out there. Fill us in – how are you handling it?
And PS – Yes, President Obama DOES need to host a beer session – he should NEVER have said the cops acted ‘stupidly.’ Even though I don’t think I’d blindly follow an order, I WAS taught that you respect authority – teachers, cops, etc and if you don’t – you better have a damn good reason!!! And “I didn’t wanna,” WASN’T a good reason!!!! Am I showing my age? Uh, oh!
A Barbara Streisand song says it all: Children Will Listen