I want to stop.
I want it to stop.
Please make it stop.
My plan this month was to write something light-hearted and fun to help everyone welcome the warmth and sunshine of summer with open arms. But I can’t stop talking about race. I won’t stop talking about race.
Last week, my husband and I were walking down our driveway with our two kids. As we were doing so, a police officer drove past and slowed to a stop just past our drive. My husband’s immediate reaction was to pat his pocket to make sure he had his wallet so he could prove he lived here. My first reaction was to pat my pocket to make sure I had my cell phone so I could record the interaction. No wallet. No cell phone. Panic.
Throughout this past year, I’ve struggled to find my place in all of it. I am white. This is not about me. My husband is black. It is very much about him. Our children are biracial. It is about their future. I am stuck somewhere in the middle of my privilege and my constant worry for the safety of my husband and children. I had been trying to find the right words and then I read the words of another white mother whose husband and children are Asian, another community enduring senseless hate. “I have skin in the game, though it’s not my skin.” It brought me to tears. Those are the words I have been searching for.
Our family makes decisions based on our skin tones all the time.
Where should we live? Where is it safest to vacation? When we are on a road trip, are there certain stretches where it is safer for me to drive instead of my husband? Who should go to the grocery store in our predominantly white suburb leading up to the election and following election results? What route should we take on our neighborhood walk so we avoid that one neighbor’s street who flies the confederate flag and carries a gun on his holster? Do we make our kids the “token black kids” at a primarily white school to give them better opportunities and expose others to diversity who otherwise wouldn’t be? Or do we send them to a school with faces who look like theirs and be advocates for bettering their district and try to help fix the system? It’s too much. And in the grand scheme of things, we are lucky these are the only questions we have to answer.
But here’s what I really want to know: When is it finally too much for everyone else? When do I have to start having talks with my kids about how to act in the presence of a police officer? 16? 13? 10? When do my kids become a threat? When will it stop? Please make it stop. Because I can’t stop thinking about it. I won’t stop.