Black White Man

My mother is black, and my father is white. I walk among you.

Archive for May, 2012

“You look like poop.”

It’s always hard to tell what’s going on in the mind of a five-year-old child. Recently, my Kindergarten-age son got in a little bit of trouble at school because he was teasing one of his good friends. My son has very light skin, blond hair and blue eyes. His friend is a Black kid. So, everyone–myself, the teachers–were a bit tentative about the incident because the teasing involved my son saying that the other kid looked like poop. Was my son specifically referring to the other kids skin color? Or was he just saying the little kid version of “you look like shit”? It’s hard to tell. I tried my best to explain to my son the issue here, that teasing about some things is worse than teasing about other things. I think we ended up in a good place. In a way, I’m glad about this. My wife and I have made tremendous efforts to make sure that my son would go to a school with a lot of diversity, which is difficult to achieve in our highly-segregated hometown of Chicago. This is the kind of stuff that comes up in a diverse Kindergarten — and I’m glad to deal with it now, rather than not at all.

Trayvon Martin: my mother-in-law’s reaction

Last time I opined about my (Black) mother’s reaction to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and how she didn’t realize how often I’ve been threatened, despite not looking Black. To complete the set, my (White) mother-in-law also talked to me about it, defending the law down there in Florida, saying that if Zimmerman felt threatened, that made sense to her that he wouldn’t be arrested on the basis of self-defense. While I understand her point of view, and to some extent sympathize that logical, good people can hold that view, I nevertheless can’t help but feel like that’s a license for anyone to shoot any young Black man (not to mention “punks”, “bikers”, the homeless, etc. etc.) — since they are generally seen as inherently threatening. I think I did a good job at not losing my temper. But, both of these important women in my life got me upset in talking about this case.