Sunday, June 18, 2017

Someone Else's Dad

Let's not talk about my father today. Let's talk about somebody else's father.

Philando Castile should be alive today and celebrating Father's Day with his family. Instead, his family lives  with the horrific memories of his death at the hands of police. And with the knowledge that our justice system saw fit to hold no one responsible.

How do you remember your dad? Everyone has good memories and bad ones. Philando Castile's daughter was four years old when she watched her father shot and killed. No matter what good memories she has of his life, they will most likely by marred forever by this night of trauma.

I read an article this morning about what happened when teachers wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts in a largely white school district in Seattle. A five year old boy of color was worried about how the day was going to go.

But there was also a mom heartbroken by how the day had played out for her son.
“I was feeling scared to drop them off at school, [my son] in particular, being at Laurelhurst as a brown student in a sea of white peers and white staff,” she wrote to Principal Talbot.
That morning, the mom and her son talked about what his Black Lives Matter shirt meant. “He told me he felt scared,” the mom wrote.
“As we parked, he said, ‘Mom! I just got a good idea. If I get white paint and put it all over my body to cover the brown so they can’t see it, then people will stop killing us black and brown people.’
“I cried so many tears of sadness, fear, anger and feelings of lost hope yesterday morning,” she said.
Tears of sadness, fear, anger, and lost hope. A little boy who wants to paint over who he truly is on order to blend in, become invisible, stay safe. 
This Father's Day I am thinking of all the fathers who worry every time they leave home that they may never come back. Simply because of the color of their skin. And I am thinking of all mothers, wives, children, and family who watch them go and feel that fear, live with that fear, and see that our culture does nothing to change the system which causes it.
What kind of Father's Day is that?

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