I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, especially with everything in the news, and have wanted to write about it for quite a while. Then, my favorite fatherhood blogger/author/figure wrote about it and I knew I had to share his thoughts.
I’ve seen a lot of opinions and negativity surrounding this topic out there and so I wanted to use my fatherhood space to share what I have learned and come to understand, and what I hope to pass on to my son. I’m going to let Doyin’ and his article do most of the talking because I cannot speak on behalf of any person of color, but I want to use my voice to support his concern and frustration.
As a white man, I grew up not ever fearing a police officer and learning to respect my country’s flag and salute it. I’ve never had to doubt that the freedoms professed in the symbol of this flag applied to me. I have been very fortunate and very lucky and know that while I have worked hard to get where I am, I’ve also benefited from the fact that my skin color looks like most of the people around me, specifically those with influence and authority.
However, with a father as a history teacher, lots of history and sociology class studies in college, and some terrific equity discussions through my job I have learned and studied our country’s history. I know a lot about the good and the bad. And I know that while the words of the constitution are meant to speak for all men and women, I know in practice that has often not been the case, and that people of color and women have had to fight tooth and nail for every right and freedom that they are supposed to have already had.
As a few of my recent posts have suggested…I think a lot of this comes down to empathy. There are many people who have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of someone that looks different than them. And when you can’t or won’t see someone’s perspective, it’s very difficult to agree with and even hear their opinion.
One of my biggest goals with my son is to teach him how to empathize with others…to understand ALL of our country’s history, and how this country that professes freedom to all was built almost entirely on the backs of those who were not allowed to enjoy those freedoms. I hope that he understands this and that he is NOT “color blind”. I want him to understand that people have different backgrounds and skin colors and that those people often have very different experiences and may not have had the same opportunities he has. I want to encourage him to seek out these people and find out about their experiences and try to gain an understanding of who they are and what they’ve gone through. And that then, hopefully, when he understands their perspective, he can be someone who helps bring people together…and not someone who drives them apart.
Without further ado I’m going to let my man Doyin’ take it away. I’m not asking you to agree with everything he says, but I hope you can take a moment to read and truly try to understand what he’s saying: 5 Attempts to Keep Black America in Check.
This is fatherhood…