One mom is speaking out against the tragic violence in Baton Rouge, Dallas and Minnesota, reminding us to fight systemic racism–especially if you have young kids. A few days ago, Monica Park Johnson posted a photo of her 2-year-old son Kai on Facebook, along with a caption that stopped me in my tracks.
The caption, which she wrote from Kai’s perspective read:
“I’m so cute now. Everyone comments on my beautiful skin, my adorable curls.”
It then went on to say:
“But I ask you this―what about when I’m 25, and my skin gets darker, my curls get tighter … I’m wearing baggy pants, maybe a hoodie or a baseball cap … will you lock your car doors when I cross the street?
Will you embrace and welcome me when I’m a full grown black man? … Will my life be as precious to you then as it is now, while I’m deemed harmless and not intimidating?”
Johnson went on to explain how there is a double standard in the way police officers treat her, because is white, in comparison to her husband, who is black–and this double standard bleeds its way into how people automatically judge each other:
“Think about the human beings you are judging. Think about them being someone’s sweet baby, someone’s big brother, someone’s nephew or niece. This is not about just police. This is about all of us and how we shape our opinions and views of the world and its people. Our children are watching.”
Because of this, and all of the recent tragedies, she calls on people to reflect inward–which has rung true for many people. Her post has been shared almost 500 times in a few days, which says a lot. She told The Huffington Post that she wrote it because she noticed her social media friends “belittled” the death of Alton Sterling:
“I was thinking about my kids and their future and needed to process my emotions, so I wrote. I would hope that one who truly loves a child of color would support a change towards justice and equality for the people they will become.
There are parents of black children all over the country, who fear for their sons and daughters daily. The older they get, the less they are shielded.
When do you start feeling intimidated by brown skin? At what point will a child like Kai be considered a threat? I want us to start paying attention to these thoughts and stop dismissing them.”
In the end, Johnson hopes this inspires people to speak up and think about their own privileges, such as she has herself:
“I also hope that it encourages people to understand their stance and speak up. I was able to effectively reach a large audience, simply by sharing my own truth. I have to acknowledge a part of this is because of my privilege. My personal challenge now is to resist feeling guilty for this privilege, but realize instead that this means I have to use it. I hope everyone else does too.”
Well said. Read the rest of her post here: