Friday, October 5, 2007

It Wasn't My Problem ... Until Now

There is some really disturbing news out of China this week. I read about it here, on a blog written by an Ethiopia woman married to an American living in China (the blog is a great read!) but more of the story can be found here.

The long and short of it is that last week, the Beijing Police, or affiliates thereof, came down to a street frequented by foreigners and rounded up every black man they could find under the pretense of an "anti-drug operation." Many of these many were badly beaten. Victims included tourists and expatriates, including the son of the Grenadian ambassador.

The arrests and beatings were conducted in the middle of the street in front of many witnesses. There was no attempt to hide the brutality.

That is just a brief story - the links paint a more detailed, and disturbing picture.

Don't get me wrong - this is not something I would have EVER condoned. Had I come across this article a year or two ago I would have been disgusted. But it wouldn't have touched home for me the way it does now. It would've been sad yes, but not really 'my' problem. A fleeting thought, and then gone.

But now...

What if that was MY son? Fifteen years from now. Enjoying an evening out with his friends while studying abroad? Beaten and arrested because he is black.

Or, scarier yet, is realizing that same situation happens every day here in the U.S.

How do I protect my kids? How can I shield them from such racism - racism that is still alive and well and rearing its ugly head daily in the 21st century. How do I make other people care enough for this story to be more than a fleeting thought? People just like I was a year ago. How can we make everyone see that THIS IS EVERYONE'S PROBLEM. You may not be black. Your children may not be. Heck, you may not even know anyone who is black. But do you want to raise your kids in a world where it is not unexpected for people to be arrested and beaten simply because of their color?

What do we do?

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