Here we go again and again and again

My parents lived close to Watts during the riots of 1965. Not long after my pregnant mother was walked home from the grocery store by a member of the Harlem Globtrotters, who recognized that things were heating up, my parents realized that things were way too dangerous and left the area for a few days. After things cooled down, they packed their things and moved to a different neighborhood, where they felt safer.

In 1992, I lived in Los Angeles during the riots after the Rodney King verdict.  I worked at an ethnically diverse school not far from the epicenter of the riots. The school was closed during the riots. At one point, we considered leaving town, but things cooled down.

I’m able to wrap my mind around both of these. Horrible things happened; my parents and rest of the family did what we needed to feel safer; things cooled off.  But little was solved.  Racism was and is rampant.  Racial tensions bubble along just under or on the surface. And sometimes things flare-up.

The last few weeks have been one of these times.  Horrible, horrific events have and are happening. African Americans killed by white police officers. White police officers killed by an African American man. And all this feels scarier to me. It feels horrific. It feels out of control. I’m not sure what time bombs are going to explode. I don’t know how many there are. I don’t know anything…

A big part of what’s challenging about this is for me is that I’m on information overload. Opinions are numerous and contradictory. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure what the “correct” terms are. I’m fearful of saying the wrong thing. I feel like I’m “tiptoeing around the terminology landmines.” I’m frozen.

And yet I’m trying to make sense of this within myself and for my boy, KD. Call me naïve; call me overly simplistic; call me what you will. I’m choosing to turn back to what we teach our kids from the beginning: treat others the way you want to be treated. Be kind. Even if it feels scary, smile and say, “hello” to people. Kindness breeds kindness.

As always, this therapist/parent walks along, doing the best I can.

Until next time…

3 Responses to Here we go again and again and again
  1. Rene
    July 14, 2016 | 8:37 am

    Steve,

    I feel the same I’m afraid o the tension and how it is escalating. I went to high school were racial tension was high. I try to teach my children to not generalize and associate or identify the bad mean people with a specific ethnic group and I can only hope that they can see people as either good or bad and not generalize. It saddens me to see all this as well.

    Rene

  2. elizabeth
    July 14, 2016 | 10:03 am

    Very complicated issue…..We need to teach compassion and kindness to our children, but also safety. Good for kids to learn marshall arts and stranger danger and on the other hand it is nice for them to be friendly, but within some boundaries.

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