As I sit back and watch the news coverage of the violence against black people, I look at my biracial children and wonder where they fit into the equation.
I was speaking with a friend who shares my outrage regarding the recent killings of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Louisiana and 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota by police officers. Both shootings were captured on camera and seen all over the world.
I can’t help but feel angry that Castile’s girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter, Dae’Anna, witnessed his murder from the back seat of the car they were in.
It’s scary to think of black men being killed at the hands of police officers. It’s even more scary to think that some of these victims are so young, and children are bearing witness to these horrific events. It makes me think about my children’s future.
An ounce of black means you're black.
Unfortunately, some may believe that my children aren’t at risk, particularly my son. “My son is black,” my friend said. She went on to explain that because my children are biracial that it doesn’t place them in the same category as the many black people who were killed by cops.
I’ll admit that my white husband hasn’t been pulled over because of the color of his skin. But I resent the notion that just because my kids are biracial, they’re safe. As the saying goes, an ounce of black means you’re black. There are many who still believe in the "one drop rule," which means if someone is mixed with black, then he or she is considered black.
When former tennis player James Blake was attacked by a police officer in a case of mistaken identity, some argued that race didn’t have anything to do with it.
According to MSNBC, Commissioner Bratton denied race played a role in the way Blake was treated, but the tennis star himself has said: “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what, there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.”
Interestingly enough, Blake is biracial, but the article refers to him as an African American. Clearly, people of mixed race are not exempt from brutality.
The reality is that there is a divide between the police and people of color. Now, the question is how do we bridge that divide?
In many cases, the victims are so young. Remarley Graham was just 18-years-old when NYPD officers barged into his Bronx home without a warrant. They fatally shot the unarmed teen in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother.
Tamir Ricewas murdered by cops for holding a fake gun in Cleveland, Ohio in 2014. A grand jury decided not to indict the officers involved. They said the shooting was a "perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications" but not a criminal act, prosecutor Tim McGinty said at the time.
That same year, 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was killed by a police officer. His killing sparked national protests and generated a nationwide dialogue about the relationship between law enforcement and black people.
I share the same pain that many parents of black children feel. Just because our children are mixed doesn’t mean they’re safe. In the meantime, my husband and I choose to have a dialogue with our kids about the reality of what we’re facing as a nation. While they're only 2 and 5-years-old, it's not too early to begin the conversation. Will it ensure that no harm will come to them? No. But it's a step in the right direction.