Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Things I Will Never Have to Tell My Son

I didn't think I would ever write this post, simply because I never thought there were things I wouldn't have to say to my son simply because he is white.  Yet in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case and verdict, I now stare full face at the white privilege I have always known was present in this country, yet never fully understood.  As I read articles with African American parents sharing the conversations they have had with their sons since the verdict, I understand better what it means to be a white parent, at least here in Wisconsin, and the things that I will never have to say.

I will never have to tell my son that he shouldn't wear a hoodie in case someone thinks it makes him look suspicious.

I will never have to tell my son that he should always keep his hands in view at all times so that people can see his intentions loud and clear.

I will never have to tell him to pull up his pants if he wants a chance at a job.

I will never have to tell him to not go through unknown neighborhoods because people will assume he doesn't belong there.

I will never have to tell my son to not confront someone if they are following him.

I will never have to tell my son to not try to act tough as he walks around in case someone thinks he is trying to provoke a fight.

I will never have to tell my son to be humble and respectful even if someone is threatening him.

I will never have to tell my son that simply his presence can be viewed as a threat to those around him, particularly if he looks anything like his dad.

My son will be assumed to belong most places he goes.  My son will be assumed to have an education, to be intelligent, to be articulate simply because of his skin color.

Most people will assume he is a kind, caring child before they see his actions simply because of his skin color.

Most people will give him a chance, assume he is just another kid, assume he is up to good things and not something bad.

All because of his skin color.


Anonymous said...

I have just discovered your blog and have been busy the last couple of days reading old posts to catch myself up. I didn't notice today's blog until just now, and I am, again, terrible impressed by your honesty. Thank you for letting us see your vulnerability, and for being courageous enough to see from another point of view. It gives me hope that one day my children will never have to have these conversations with their own, except as a history lesson.

Mr. Carby said...

It's always interesting to hear things from another perspective. Great post! Very insightful!

creepyasscracka said...

We are truly living in the golden age of racial demagoguery.

Lisa M said...

Things I have had to tell both my young men.And will continue to tell them throughout their lives. Thank you for this post Pernille.

IMC Guy said...

I agree, but I also think clothing and appearance play a role in this as well. I've seen plenty of white kids that look like thugs based on their dress. Unfortunately, white privilege still exists and I doubt it's going to change soon.

Kimberley said...

You have a great brain.

First in Maine

Anonymous said...

Most of this list makes sense, but I actually *would* tell my white son some of these things.


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