Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strangers and my Renewed Fear of the Dark

Sometime during pregnancy, I began to see issues facing families and children through different eyes. I began to see and feel them using my newfound “mommy-sense”.

When I first heard of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a man-CHILD, my heart ached. His family had allowed their son to go to the store and he never returned.

My first thoughts were what his last moments must have been like. My mommy-sense took me through the events time and time again. I try to block it out, but I keep going back to it: 

Walking home in the twilight, almost dark. You are approached by a STRANGER. What do you do? 
I was taught and had planned to teach my son to:
1. Never talk to strangers
2. If necessary, run away from a stranger
3. If absolutely necessary, fight (because you don’t know if that stranger is trying to kidnap or hurt you)

My heart hurt because what I was taught and what Trayvon may have been taught resulted in his shooting death and the MAN who shot him has been acquitted of his murder. Regardless of your belief in the legal validity of the verdict, a child was approached by a stranger (not someone who identified himself as a police officer) and that stranger ended up fatally shooting him.

I talked to a Public Defender family member today and I am trying to understand the specifics of the law, but my mommy-sense keeps taking me back. Back to what I should and will teach my brown son who will someday become a tall brown man like my husband. My husband has shared countless stories over the years about how women clutch their purse when he walks by even as he is holding our infant son, how he has been profiled by the police, how he began feeling hostility from female strangers even as a child. I shudder that someday we will have to help our son navigate these prejudices.

Also, what, as a Primary Pediatrician should I teach the young male children of color that I work with every day that is within the harm-reduction paradigm I soo often defer to? We have fought in my state to have the right to discuss gun-safety (do you have a gun in your home? Do you keep it locked?) with parents and we often teach about car safety, but what are we teaching the brown boys for whom homicide is a leading cause of adolescent death?

Do I teach these young men and my son, as my father and my husband were taught, that many people will see them as threats regardless of where they are going and what they are doing? How do I instruct him and my patients to be strong and proud, to not bend to stereotypes, when at any moment they may be seen as a threat, challenged, harassed, assaulted, and possibly killed? What do I tell them to do when approached by a stranger, not a police officer, on the street? What do I tell them when our justice system still hasn’t figured out what to do with these prejudices?

I now fear strangers more than ever. I fear them for myself and I mostly fear them for my son, my nephews, and my patients. I am now more afraid of the dark than ever before. I shudder for the day when I have to allow my little man-CHILD to venture unaccompanied at night. I fear the prejudices others may have of those who look like him. I fear the advice I may give to him about strangers: don’t talk, run, and fight if you must. I am fearful that this evasive tactic may itself be seen as a threat. I am fearful that adults can kill children and it be brought into the light and nothing happen.

What will you tell your children? What will you tell your patients? What will you tell parents after such tragedies? Are you as afraid as I am?

30 comments:

  1. Maybe they are fearing the wrong people....

    Black-on-black crime is a sensitive subject in this increasingly polarized nation. While covered in academia and occasionally addressed by talking heads on television, some believe it rarely, if ever, receives the type and depth of attention it deserves. Instead, critics argue that this national tragedy is usually swept under the rug by powerful interest groups and individuals more concerned with elevating their own racially-driven agendas than addressing the real issues at hand. The Trayvon Martin case is only the most recent example of this grim hypocrisy.
    Indeed, statistics support a very different narrative than the one usually offered by “race hustlers,” as Pastor C.L. Bryant calls them, who routinely portray an America where members of the black community are selectively targeted and brutalized by white racists.
    A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally sobering fact, that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans

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    1. Indeed, black-on-black violence is a huge issue in this country. But, that is not what Mommabee is writing about here. Perhaps she is being self-interested, but aren't we all self-interested when it comes to our own children? I don't know the numbers, so these assumptions might be somewhat off but I think this general idea stands -- Black-on-black violence is largely an outcome of poverty, or if not poverty, than of a culture of violence that permeates poor neighborhoods where much of this violence occurs.

      Presumably, Mommabee's son, as the child of a physician, is not in that sort of a situation. For him, as a likely upper-middle class child with dark skin, I would suspect that the "dangerous" situations he would encounter in his day to day life would be more likely to be caused by racial profiling or straight-up racists -- he probably has the benefit, that poor black children too often lack, of not living a violent neighborhood. So for Mommabee, worrying about HER son, Trayvon's case, which you feels is so atypical, is absolutely the sort of thing it is normal for her to be worried about. It is what I would fear. Imagine knowing that your child faces a future of with some regularity being treated like a criminal, no matter how "good" they are.

      Yes, the issues of black-on-black violence that you raise are important, but does not change the calculus for Mommabee's son. It is a problem, but a different problem from the one she chose to write about. And, this issue of racial profiling, of the assumption that a child is "bad" just because of his skin color, likely feeds into the cycles of violence you want us to be discussing anyway.

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  2. Thanks Mommabee...
    I like so many others are devastated that a man who didn't even testify at his own trial could be found not guilty for murdering an innocent child. My heart and prayers go out to Trayvon's family and loved ones.
    Like some of you reading, I've heard the horror stories if discrimination, small and large, of what black/African-American/brown young men go through on a DAILY basis. Some of the more common forms of prejudice that I've heard that young brown men endure are things like women instinctively grabbing their purses, people inching to the other side if the elevator, doors being audibly locked as they walk through parking lots. Imagine your innocent and beautiful child regularly being treated like a criminal or (God-forbid) murdered for just living in the skin they were born in. Most of us are absolutely clueless as to how that feels.
    Like many of you, my prayers go out to Trayvon's mother, father, loved ones, and all the loved ones of bright and precious brown male children in our country. I truly believe that if all of us (me included) would be more mindful of how we treat young brown men or anyone who doesn't look like us, this child's death, regardless of the verdict, would not be in vain. It's a sad day, Mommabee, that in 2013, you, a professional, intelligent, hard-working woman, have to even carry this type of concern for your beautiful children. Thanks so much for opening up to us on this very important topic and many blessings to you and your family!

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    1. Happy Wanderer- Your reply is very sad and shows that you either 1) didn't read Mommabee's post, 2) you are absolutely clueless to the systematic racism she's speaking of (which by the way has nothing to do with your innacurate statistics- statistics that, with all due respect, highlight your distance from the community she speaks of) or 3) decided to show absolutely no compassion or empathy to a fellow mother in medicine, of which I understand you are not required to give. Obviously, Trayvon was not a victim of the crimes you described. This murderer and jury were not "black" as you described...and this murderer and jury don't represent all the decent and wonderful human beings who are caucasian or any other race. Again, your cold and deflective response has spoken volumes about you. I truly feel sorry for you and I hope yoy give yourself the opportunity to broaden your horizons. Thanks for sharing and all the best to you!

      Mommabee - Thanks for shining a light on this issue that affects millions of moms in our country.

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    2. I'm not speaking about the Trayvon case specifically - I obviously wasn't there but I am not about to jump in and say he was innocent or guilty as many people are doing- I wasn't there and neither was anyone else but it doesn't stop people from claiming that he was a victim of a racist attack - I'm speaking about society as a whole. I'm speaking about every issue that involves a black person and a white person. I do feel compassion for people who are unfairly targeted (whether black or white) but that is not the case in the statistics listed above. In every instance it is not that white people are out to get black people. Our prisons are not filled with black men because white people are out to get all of them. Yes, that does happen, just as there are white men in prison for things they did not do. I understand the situation that Mommabee speaks of - I live in Detroit and see it happen all the time. However, it does get tiring when people don't take personal responsibility and then blame every incident on racism. I have been called a racist because I wouldn't give a black youth money. I have been told I was a racist because I "looked" like a racist (I am white). Not having uttered a word, I was a racist because I was white. So I know what Mommabee is saying and I don't know what the answer is except to work in our communities for better understanding and less fear. We need to teach our children to respect the sanctity of life - that respect is earned and not demanded. That a human life is not cheap, to be snuffed out over an argument or drugs or being "dissed". I think Mammabee is doing the right thing for her son to enable him to grow up and be a productive citizen in society - I know so many prejudices exist (and not only for brown skinned boys) but if we actively engage our children this world will be a far better place.

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    3. You may not have been speaking specifically about the Trayvon Martin case, but the beginning of Mommabee's post was about Trayvon and the unfortunate discrimination that absolutely exists and will potentially affect her child. This was the topic of the post that you chose to reply to. If you'd like to do a separate post on your topic of "black on black crime" perhaps KC will provide you the opportunity.

      Mommabee chose to be vulnerable and open up to a group of (hopefully) well-informed, educated peers on this blog about a legitimate fear. Your reply, from the very beginning, attempted to disprove a reality which you, fortunately or unfortunately, will never be able to do.

      I'm going to assume that you're an educated person and that surely you understand that one does not need to be personally involved in and/or actually witness a crime to assess someone's guilt or innocence - especially when an entire trial and the events leading up to it were broadcast on national and international television. If one had to be personally involved to determine another's guilt or innocence, judge's rulings and jury's verdicts would have no weight. Hence, we would have no judicial system.

      Mommabee nor any other person with common sense would "blame every incident on racism". If you're hearing this frequently to the point of being "tired", I'm curious about your sources or the company you choose to keep.

      Mommabee was speaking about her fears for her child and how to protect him from people with a perverse mindset. If she's not speaking about you, I'm puzzled as to why you feel a need to be defensive...

      Thanks again Mommabee!

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    4. I cannot even begin to craft a response to The Happy Wanderer; I was soo disheartened when I read the first response beginning with "maybe they are fearing the wrong people" and then all of the statistics on black on black crime. I have tried unsuccessfully for several days. ELLE - thank you soo much for your thoughtful responses.

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  3. With all of the media attention and protest against the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by the accused George Zimmerman, on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, I was compelled to go back into my archives of writings and photographs addressing the plight of African-American males in the United States of America. Martin's name is part of a long list of stories about the injustices perpetrated against African-American males. The Trayvon Martin story and the continued perils of African-American males continues to remind parents of African-American males about the need for them to give "the talk" about what it means to be a black in a country with a history of regarding young black men as a threat. As a father of one son and five grandsons, I am particularly reminded of the necessity of giving "the talk."

    According to the American Heritage Science Dictionary, "an endangered species exists in such small numbers that it is in danger of becoming extinct, especially such a species placed in jeopardy as a result of human activity. One of the principal factors in the endangerment or extinction of a species is the destruction or pollution of its native habitat." This description is not meant to be a metaphor. This is the reality of the current status of African-American males in the United States of America today; a reality that Ralph Ellison elucidates in his classic book The Invisible Man:

    "I am an invisible man. . . . I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. . . When they approach me, they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me." (New York: Random House, 1972)

    At early age, it has become increasingly apparent that African-American males are confronted with a series of barriers and obstacles in their attempts to attain educational, social, and career success.

    Young African American males are facing major challenges to their development and well-being. They are engaged in an endless fight for survival resulting in pain, frustration, anger, and rage consuming so many of our young men daily. Social and economic indicators of African-American male development provide a profile of an individual whose quality of life is in serious jeopardy. All of these indicators make it quite clear that young African-American males have become an endangered species.

    The statistics:

    Recent U.S. Census data provide evidence that young African-American males have higher unemployment rates; lower labor force participation rates; lower high school graduation and college enrollment rates; while ranking first in incarceration and homicide, the leading cause of death for African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24. While representing only 6% of the population African-American males represent 49% of prison inmates. Only 4% of African-American males attend college, while 23% of those of college age are either incarcerated or on probation. African-American children as a whole comprise approximately 17% of all children in public schools nationwide representing 41% of all children in special education, within that percentage African-American males make 85% of children in special education. Although African-American males comprise only 8% of public school students nationwide, they represent the largest percentage nationally, in school suspensions 38%.

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  4. This evening I accompanied my husband and toddler to the playground. The park sits in a affluent suburb outside a relatively poor crime-stricken city. I sat my husband's cell phone on the bench, and then proceeded to assist my son down the slide. Although we were the only playground patrons, a few white couples walking their dogs passed by the phone. I didn't bat an eye. About ten minutes later, a single black male in his late twenties with a bandana, wife beater T, and long (low-lying) jeans shorts approached the bench. I peered over at my husband. I caught his eye and asked if he could visualize his phone. He glanced back making it evident that I was being obnoxious. That was the end of it.

    "I am not racist." My dearest friend is African. I spent three weeks in her home country learning her culture and meeting her family. (I even dated her brother). I have listened her tales of discrimination and racism in this country. I have ached for her injustice.

    You see, however, two years ago I started seeing patients in the inner city. I watched the inner city poor "abuse" the system, demand "unethical" accommodations, and become indignant when not satisfied. (Please excuse these words, as no words are quite right for my purposes). I lived, and worked, and became afraid.

    I am not speaking to the injustices of this country. We live in a broken system, in which many unnecessarily suffer. What I am speaking to is my reality...one that has left me chained down by terrible stereotypes. And I hate this.

    The moment after the words left my mouth, I lamented.

    My heart breaks for your son.

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    1. Pve - thank you for your honesty. It saddens me as well, but had a single 20-something male approached my personal property, I would have checked to make sure it was secure as well; Black, White, Latino, or Asian. Now as to your reflection of working with underserved inner city patients, I too have felt that way. It shames me and I come home and reflect on it regularly with my husband. He reminds me that my job as a Physician is to SERVE. To care. To find ways to love. I don't go to work to HELP, I go to work to heal and to serve and my spirit is strengthened by that. And when I become really jaded, I remember working in a very wealthy part of DC and patients did the same thing, they "abused" the system by requesting enormous amounts of sedating medications, they demanded "unethical" accommodations, and they too became indignant when not satisfied. I think it's just a part of medicine. I remind myself that it's not my job to care who pays whose bill.

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  5. Pve, I appreciate your honesty and humility. Your brokenness over this is admirable. The fact that your eyes are open to your own weakness shows that pride is not blinding you...and when pride is out of the way, there's hope! Thank you for your example of honesty. Your desire to change is noble. I'm confident that you will grow in this area and I wish you all the best.

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  6. I feel like I’m missing something. This over zealous minority male was scared about another minority male who happens to be black.The young black male did not appear familiar to this apartment resident. I think GZ did the right thing in calling the police. Where he crossed the line was pursuing this person AFTER the police told him not to. Where he crossed the line was somehow getting himself into a situation where he felt he needed to “stand his ground” and shoot an unarmed, albeit "scary" looking minority male. The prosecutors did a crummy job in bringing justice to our society. They charged this man with the WRONG crimes. The jury spoke and did a GREAT job in not convicting an innocent man. George Zimmerman is not a hateful racist murderer. He is an overzealous, way too bored, mentally unstable, nerdy gun owner. He should be charged with a crime but not Second Degree murder nor Manslaughter. Amazing to think lawyers go to law school and rise the ranks of the judicial system yet they somehow manage to botch such a high profile case.

    I am a minority myself. My parents are bi-racial. I have a brother who is now an adult but has dressed like an idiot thug since Kris Kross became popular in the late 80’s early 90’s. Any man or woman for that matter, white, black or Hispanic that dresses “scary” need not be surprised when they are treated like a scary creature. I don’t clutch my purse when a well-groomed minority male passes me. I clutch my purse when a poorly disheveled male gets near me and has that crazy look in his face like he’s got nothing to lose and I’ve got everything to lose. I have a husband, children, pets and an extended family who would be devastated without me.

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    1. I agree with some parts of your response such as overzealous and gun-wielding. I disagree because I think you miss the point that one need not be a racist to have prejudiced. I find fault with your linking "looking scary" to somehow being the cause of ones prejudice. For example, it doesn't look scary when Justin Beiber or Jay-Z wear baggy "thugged out" clothes, but it does when unnamed adolescents do it? I am glad that YOU don't clutch your purse when a well-groomed minority male passes you, but my husband (a librarian and now graduate student) and my brother (a young professional working in DC government) both well groomed men of color can tell you about countless stories when folks have acted in a prejudiced manner toward them. I will not discount your behavior, but I think it's unfair to discount the lived realities of others.

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    2. I think it's absolutely scary and ridiculous that JB and JZ wear baggy thugged out clothes. They are the exact idiot role models I speak of. Just because they have money and are famous does not mean they make bad decisions and deserve a sideways stare for looking juvenile. There are ignorant people who do clutch their purses because they are ignorant (lack knowledge). Other minorities should not take it so personal. I don't. I have dark skin. I don't allow myself to become a victim. I use that ignorance as motivation for me to show people how wrong they are. It's the difference in attitude of considering oneself a victim v. empowering oneself to say: screw society and the ignorant bigots who are afraid of people whom they have no interaction/experience with. Most people who see me with my kids and husband think I'm the nanny... white librarians have even called me the nanny to my face. It's annoying and irritating but I just laugh and think: you're so dumb you have no idea what a wonderful person you're encountering. And when I have the opportunity to school them I do. I will not be a victim.

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  7. There are many crimes with this Trayvon Martin incident. Racism in my opinion is not one of them. Idiotic gun laws and allowing mentally unstable people to own guns is the main problem. There would be nothing more than a few bruises to kiss and heal if people in this country were NOT allowed to carry hand guns. There is no need for it. People will be people. They will be scared of “scary” looking citizens. They should call the police and follow their orders: don’t follow suspicious folks! I call the cops on a bi-monthly if not weekly basis. I live in a private neighborhood that borders a VERY working class neighborhood comprised mainly of minorities. Often times these young black males trespass on my property. I am from a state where you don’t trespass because you can and will get shot by home owners. I live in a state where that is NOT the law. Okay, fine. I am not a gun owner and never felt the desire to own a gun. I was getting into my car last month and out of nowhere (from up the hill off the side of my house) comes a young black male dressed in all black with a backpack trespassing on my front lawn down my 100 foot private driveway. I hollered at him to get back up that hill in the nastiest “teacher” voice I could muster. Truly I was scared for my life. Who the hell is this kid having the nerve to trespass on my property and the property of the family up the hill just to get to the motel 8 around the corner where we all know what happens over there. I told him I was calling the cops and I did. He gave me the scariest stink eye I have ever seen. Turns out my white male neighbor whom I share my driveway with has hollered at him too in the past. This kid has no regard for personal property. Did I chase him and pursue him with a gun? NO! That’s probably why we are both still alive. There is nothing wrong with reporting suspicious activity. There is something tragically wrong with people toting around handguns. Any single one of us, doctor’s included, have our crazy moments. There is no need to add more craziness to the equation with a handgun. I am not a racist but I do get uncomfortable around young men who enjoy dressing like thugs. Too bad it’s so square to look well groomed these days. I hear what mommabee is saying but I disagree that her sons are marked men because of he color of their skin. They will be marked men depending on how they carry themselves and the personal decisions they make. Just my two cents.

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    1. because of length of my response i had to add it as two separate comments.

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    2. I applaud you for yelling at the "kid" to get off of your yard. But noticed you said "kid". Kids do stupid things. Kids put themselves in dangerous, stupid situations all of the time. If more adults stood up and corrected children when they did these things, they would do them less. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood that bordered a working class neighborhood just like you are describing, but it is my opinion that the fundamental difference is OWNERS versus RENTERS. Home owners take pride in what they own and don't trespass into others land out of respect. Perhaps this kid's parents were renters and he just didn't know that he was trespassing, it just didn't cross his mind.

      Now where I disagree: I know several highly educated men (waiters, chefs, doctors, lawyers, medical fellows, graduate students, stay-at-home fathers) who would disagree with you. These are professional, outstanding men who are committed to improving the lives of others. They can tell you countless stories of being discriminated against if you would listen. These men, such as my husband, carry themselves with grace and dignity yet have experienced things that make me cry. And they have been discriminated against when wearing these so-called "scary" clothes that you speak of, but it has also occurred while my brother wore a suit on his way to an interview, while my husband pushed our infant son in his stroller, I could go on . . . . Yes it is about how folks carry themselves, but it is also about what they CARRY (race, gender, sexual representation) within themselves and what others carry (prejudice, understanding, compassion) . . . . .

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    4. This "kid" was no child. Probably 16-19 years old. He has been told several times by the other owner not to trespass. The police have gone to that neighborhood and told all the parents no trespassing. There are signs. He also banged on my front door in the middle of the day and refused to tell me why he was at my door. Thank goodness I did not answer. He is aggressive as are other white working class people in that neighborhood that constantly trespass on my property. I will not give them a free pass for their ignorance nor will I dismiss their negligence for being renters versus owners. The people up the hill are mainly owners according to the police. I think you're right saying: "if more adults stood up and corrected these children when they did these things they would stop." Couldn't agree with you more. I have six, ten and twelve year olds smacking each other on the steep hill in the woods in my backyard nearly killing each other. Where are their parents and why aren't their parents worried about them being "gone"? The police are the ones bringing those kids home because I am the "parent" ensuring those kids dont' get hurt. The problem is not these kids' race, gender or socioeconomic status. The problem is they have parents and grandparents who don't care enough to keep an eye on them at all times.

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    5. As far as discrimination I hear what you're saying. I've had and still do have people mis-judge who I am, my level of education and social status because I'm wearing yoga pants and a tshirt with two kids of my hips and a ponytail. That's their bad. If you sincerely and honestly think GZ shot TM BECAUSE HE IS BLACK then that's your opinion but it's not mine. I do not believe GZ killed a minor because he was black. There are reports that GZ called to police to complain of four white suspicious men and four black suspicious men in the years he lived in that complex. When people act suspicious they DO become targets. Was TM suspicious? Who knows. My opinion is be mad at the state of FL for NOT making it illegal to disobey 911 dispatchers. Be mad at the state of FL for having ridiculous "stand your ground" gun laws. Nobody cares when it's a black man killing another black man or a white on white shooting. GZ will have to live with his sin but unfortunately he did not break any laws. That's the crime in my opinion... that it's legal to chase a suspicious person, possibly provoke them into an altercation, shoot them and get away with it. That's not racism that's crummy state and federal laws. GZ has black friends. I honestly don't believe he is a racist. He is MExican, a minority male. I'm sure he has felt the same prejudice you speak of. All minorities have both female and male. I hear what you're saying about the prejudices BUT I disagree it was a racially motivated hate crime. It was a stupid decision on the part of an adult who took things too far and our society sucks that there aren't any laws that man broke so he CAN go to jail for killing another human being. Our society sucks and so do their gun laws. Google John Stewart's episode about Australian gun laws. It was after the Sandy Hook incident. If THAT incident wasn't enough to get this country to revise the gun laws then there is no hope for anyone, black, white, hispanic or bi-racial. Lastly, we all have to be careful with how we dress. If you dress like a thug or gangster then don't be surprised when you're treated or feared like one. If you dress like a professional then expect certain people to treat you with respect and others to hate on you because of their own insecurities. Nothing is perfect. I'm a minority. I'm sick of people getting on their soapbox of racial hate crimes when the evidence points to just a stupid crime and nothing more.

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  8. Thank you for your post, Mamabee. My heart goes out to you both as a mother and as a physician. While my kids are of European and Asian descent, and I know what my kids face is world apart from your kids, I feel worried about my kids, too. I am relieved that my first born may pass for being of European descent. Even as my heart swells with love for my younger son who takes so much after my dad, I worry that he looks less European than his brother. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to know your perfect baby will face so much prejudice and potential violence. Thanks again for your personal post.

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  9. I apologize if I missed it in the responses so far, but while there are several very thoughtful responses, nobody has come up with any answers for mommabee. I don't have the answers either. Answers to the very same questions that are racing through my mind as a pediatric resident and a mother of brown babies. What DO we tell our sons? Obviously the "don't talk, run, and fight if you must" won't protect our sons from dangers. SHOULD primary care providers routinely give anticipatory guidance to young brown adolescents on how to behave around strangers?

    My heart is aching for the Martin family and heavy with questions for what this means for the coming generation of brown young men.

    Honestly, my husband and I are partly planning an avoidance tactic. This is one of the reasons we want to move our family back to Africa (to the country my husband is from and I have lived for several years) once I am through with residency, but of course want our children to know how to operate and stay safe in American society as well. (My husband grew up not knowing he was black because everybody was black; of course biracial children in this African country's society face their own set of challenges, but do not seem as scary as the challenges sure to face brown young men in this country.)

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    1. Thank you soo much for attempting to answer those questions. I believe we as pediatricians are going to have to start saying something to all adolescents about homicides. I'll let you all know how my counseling changes over the years. I have several friends, who like to you, are discussing expatriation.

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    2. Thank you soo much for attempting to answer those questions. I believe we as pediatricians are going to have to start saying something to all adolescents about homicides. I'll let you all know how my counseling changes over the years. I have several friends, who like to you, are discussing expatriation.

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  10. You tell them that the truth. That the world is a flawed place, but that allows for the exciting prospect of a much better one. With so much imperfection comes room for improvement, and because there is so much to do, there is so much that can be done. Tell your son that every time he is better than someone else thinks he is, that is not only a personal victory, but also a chink in the armor of a horrible stereotype that is sadly somewhat rooted in truth. So yeah, tell your children about the danger of strangers, and that they will most likely be unfairly profiled solely based on their race and gender. But don't stop there. Let him know that their race and gender also give them a unique opportunity to change people's minds, and to rewrite the stereotypes, so that your grandchildren might hear a very different story.

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  11. Lovely comment, emco2. Couldn't have put it better myself.

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  12. Thank you for this, Mommabee. My heart broke reading it, and then the pieces rose up in anger at the first comment and some of the others. I cringe at my own reactions sometimes, at the automatic way my hand tightens on my purse when a young man approaches me (for me, it's a young man dressed in baggy clothes, regardless of race, but it's still a stereotype).

    My daughter is biracial and fair-skinned. She's 13, and her boyfriend is Puerto Rican, and dark-skinned. They're not driving around in cars yet, obviously. She heard about the Zimmerman trial, and when we talked about it, I told her that boys that look like her boyfriend will be targeted. They will be stopped more often. They will be arrested more often. They will be harassed more often, and if she's with a boy who looks like him when she's old enough to be out on her own, people will think they're an interracial couple and may react in negative ways (where we live this is still an issue, unfortunately). She needs to know. She needs to know to be deferential and to encourage the boy to be deferential, and she needs to know that won't always work.

    And yes, our children can change the world, but it breaks my heart that they have to.

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  13. I am appalled by the comments of Happy Wanderer as well. She has had 2 opportunities/posts to respond with compassion but instead hijacks your thread to complain about issues that are assumably pertinent to her life. Reminds me of juror B37 who obviously had a difficult time relating to Trayvon and the Martin family. I am deeply saddened that her response was the first post to your discussion as I am sure that is not the discussion you were hoping for. Unfortunately even though we are doctors at the end of the day we are still people and I guess we can't have too high expectations for our fellow doctors? Thank you for sharing your thoughts and fears and for opening your heart mommabee. You have a right to be comforted by fellow mommy docs if they so choose to. The statistics for black on black crime have no place in this thread and she should have started another thread if she wanted to discuss that. It is appalling the way she threw those stats and studies out there as if we are all on morning rounds. Cold and heartless.

    Talk to her son about drugs and being "dissed," seriously? That's your advice for her???? I hope you are happy now Happy Wanderer, because your post seems rehearsed, copied and pasted as if you were waiting for the right moment to drop that "information."

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