The following is my comment, awaiting moderation, to Steven over at Blogging Blue who wonders about his now three year old black son's safety in light of the Trayvon Martin death:
Steven, you worry about your son as all decent parents do. And his race may well contribute to different treatment from others, sometimes good treatment, sometimes not. My suggestion is that, over time, educate your son – explain to him that, unfortunately, people sometimes make assumptions about others based on what should be irrelevant characteristics. And that there is nothing whatsoever he can do about other people’s irrationality. As such, he should not dwell or obsess about others real or perceived attitudes towards him, as this will lead to a dead end of bitterness and excuse making. Rather, he should focus on his own development and decency. He may win over some who are obsessed with his blackness, some he may not. But again, its their problem, not his. It is true and unfortunate that he may be treated poorly by some, but then, who is always treated perfectly? People discriminate all the time. As a shorter man, I, now happily married, sometimes jokingly note that nearly all women are heightists, ie, they won’t date someone shorter. It would be foolhardy for me to claim victim status and set out to end this discrimination. Now I am not equating racism with heightism except to suggest that one should not dwell on something that you have no control over. And lastly, I would suggest that you not react hysterically to the Trayvon story any more that you should swear off flying after a plane accident. You cited statistics stating that a black boy is more likely to be shot by a white person that a white boy is. Perhaps true but as a parent I trust you don’t have a preference about who is to shoot your son, rather, you just don’t want him shot, period. As such, you might want to look into just who it is that is shooting the most black boys. Hint, it isn’t white people. And some day, your son will need to try to understand why violence is more of a problem, statistically speaking, among black people here in America. And here, unfortunately, I suspect you will fail your child.