On June 19th, I was looking for local activities or celebrations that could introduce my daughters to Juneteenth, the occasion on which Texans learned of the Emancipation Proclamation two years after it was decreed. While browsing my Facebook feed, I instead came across the news story about Charleena Lyles, a black woman who was shot by police inside her own home in front of her children after calling the police because she believed her house was being broken into.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel safe in my own home, and I knew that no matter how many positive interactions I have had with police officers, I would forever hesitate to call them in situations when other people would not. Not because every police officer is evil, but because every person in the United States bears the burden of our culture’s racial programming, which teaches us to fear black people. Anyone who has not done the hard, constant work to decolonize their mind might, in the crucial few seconds it takes to decide whether or not to shoot, lets their fear of a black person overtake them. Even if that black person is a mother in front of her children. With this addition to the long list of state violence against black people, my interest in celebrating the promise of equality that Juneteenth represents felt stale. …
Our homeschool coop tried a version of the blue eyes/brown eyes exercise in the 6- to 10-year-olds’ history class. I knew it would be interesting, so I settled in to watch, not guessing how much I would learn.
The two parent teachers had cookies, but only the brown-eyed children were allowed to have them. The blue-eyed children sat empty-handed while the brown-eyed children enjoyed their cookies. Most of the blue-eyed children waited patiently, with hurt and confusion evident on their faces.
After the brown-eyed children had finished, the blue-eyed children were told to come up to get a cookie. …
On election day, I was driving to my mother’s house to offer and to receive moral support on an anxiety-ridden day. My youngest daughter asked me to turn on a Quran CD. My eldest daughter groaned as I turned it on.
As we pulled up to a traffic light, we were approaching some construction where two police officers were directing traffic. My older daughter went into a panic. She insisted that I turn off the Quran because the police were right there and might hear it.
“So what?” I asked.
“Are you crazy? They’re going to think we’re — Mommy! They could tase us! They could beat us! …