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Defending Rioters and Looters Don't Help Us

I never liked being called a person of color, though people calling us black didn't bother me as much. It's just semantics, right? But I nearly gagged this morning when I heard an innocent nine-year-old white girl saying, "we should call them (the looters) people of color because 'black' sounds bad."

I looked at my daughter- her shoulders were down with blank stares at her computer screen. The homeroom teacher encouraged the little girls to "take action" and added that "these people are looting because they are angry. And they are angry because of racism." My heart started to race as the last thing I wanted the teacher to teach is to (1) identify people by race, (2) justify looting and rioting, (3) ask the girls to "do something."

So my daughter and I had a talk after her zoom homeroom. Here are some of the things my nine-year-old said.

(1) It sounds like only white people are "normal" people, and other people aren't.
(2) Is "colored people" wrong, but not "people of color"?
I asked:
(3) "Does it make you feel good when people call you a person of color?"
"No. I'm just me. I want people to call me ____ (her name)."
"I feel labeling everyone else 'people of color' makes white people special, because they are the only people who are not called that. But I know they aren't special."
(4) "What system is put in place that prevents us from becoming successful? Do you think you will never be successful because of racism, or will you become successful because you are hardworking and you are also getting great education?"
"Do you think we have terrible lives, or are we living good and successful lives?"
Her answer:
"I have a good life. But sometimes I get upset. But that has nothing to do with that racism stuff."
(5) "Does it make you feel good when white people are sorry for us?"
"I don't know. I just feel uncomfortable."

And I could only wonder,
(6) Is the class preventing racism or promoting it inadvertently by encouraging the identification of all non-whites as "them, people of color" vs. "us, whites"?

And while my daughter's school teacher defend the looters because of racism, the school has almost doubled our tuition burden in mere four years. This teacher is absolutely wonderful and I truly admire her. The school is truly amazing. What better way to support us people of color by giving more scholarship? But the school instead justify criminal behaviors committed by people who they say "look like" my daughter. (We have requested more aid three times this year with no success.)

Besides, I find defending looters to be incredibly condescending. What is the underlining lesson that these girls are learning? "People of color are so angry about racism that we good white people must do everything to defend their behaviors." To me, that is racist, and I feel insulted, embarrassed, ashamed, uncomfortable, sad, and angry.

But the question is, DO YOU CARE about my feelings, or do you only care about gaining approval from us, the people of color?


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