Sunday, August 14, 2011
The Children Challenge Us, Once Again
I knew the conversation was coming up sooner or later. I should have headed them off at the pass. What many people fail to realize that for most black and brown children in and outside of the ghetto, police brutality is a stark reality. The real tragedy in all of this is that it's a reality that all governments, police departments, and the mainstream press continue to ignore. The UK riots is another example of this. While everyone focused on London burning, many failed to realize what sparked these riots.
So of course the babies challenged me. Why all this talk about peace if everyone else isn't on the same page. I was asked this question not just by our children but other children I work and encounter on a daily basis.
If we look at the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now the riots in Europe (folks were wildin' out in Greece, too), things are getting hectic. Don't get me wrong, we teach the babies the concept of cause and effect. These things don't happen in a vacuum. As we discuss the course of history, the children note that in most cases the voices calling out for peace are drowned out and ignored.
It is difficult to attempt to evangelize the concept of peaceful settlements when obviously one or two sides refuse to come to the table. When discussing gangs, I normally bring up the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and how gangs like those two factions are fighting over limited resources. I do this to show how this pathology is not something only found in black and brown communities in the inner cities around the world.
Our children aren't stupid. They can analyze the news sometimes better than we can. They can see through the nonsense.
"Dad, how come no one is talking about the boy who was killed?"
"Brother Danny, why you want us to be about peace when a police officer can kill me for nothing?"
It's scary to hear them bring that up. I am known for being prepared for almost every question (ask the wife) asked by the babies. I know what I want to say when they ask these questions, but how do I convey that our position should be calculated when it comes to matters such as this?
We are warriors and I make no bones about it. I understand that many of us are in situations in our lives where violence is constant and apathy is the rule. And yes, there are days when I feel like a complete
and total hypocrite when I stress the importance of maintaining a level head and thinking your way out of a volatile situation.
At the end of the day, I want our babies to live and not just survive. I want to raise the quality of life of the children in our homes and communities. I want them all to have equal access. I want them to not be afraid of those who are supposed to be protecting us.
So what are we going to do about it?