Monday, March 5, 2018

The Truth of It: Continued Reflections on The Hate U Give

I grew up in incredibly diverse neighborhoods.  I have no close white friends from college.  My parents grew up around the world, and my dad was an Ethnic Studies major in college while I was growing up.

And still? I wondered what the black men who the police killed must have done before the police killed them.  What were they guilty of? Surely, they had done something that triggered this kind of response. I looked for the evidence that these men were innocent; I sought it out.

Just like the characters in Angie Thomas's novel, I believed the media's stories about drug and gang connections, about behaviors that are just "asking for" that kind of police attention.

I am an educated, experienced, knowledgeable teacher who still got drawn in by the media's version of the truth.

Despite diverse neighborhoods, diverse friends, and working with a diverse community, I am still guilty.

I may not exhibit the overt racism of my grandparents, but I still had those thoughts, those assumptions.

And the irony of it, is that even though my dad had a career in law enforcement, I have a lifelong...discomfort...around police officers.  As a toddler, yes a toddler, I witnessed a police officer dragging a boy up the escalator in the mall by his ear. And so cemented a lifelong discomfort bordering on fear.

I wouldn't look at my dad in his uniform when he came home - he had to change first before I would hug him.

And still.  I made assumptions.

And I couldn't face that until I read this book.

I don't know what's next. I did join the "Showing Up for Racial Justice" Facebook Community in my area. I'm reading. I'm gathering information. I've missed a lot in 30+ years of not paying enough attention; so, this will take time.

I'm making a change.              

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