A conversation with my kids about Justice.

January 27, 2018  ||  10:23 PM

Tonight, I had a conversation with my kids that I want to remember forever. 

Amelie made so many amazing statements and was so full of passion it totally blew me away. I’m going to stumble through my recollection, but hope to get it all out, and I fully own that I’ll mess up the exact wording a little.

So, we were watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (it’s on Amazon Prime, and btw, has given us SO many amazing talking points,) and there was a conflict where officials were coming in to the reservation and attacking the Native American people – the Cheyenne.

We paused for discussion and questions, as we often do. I answered a couple of questions and then asked Justice why he thought those people hated the men they called Indians so much. He answered that they steal and fight. Amelie was quick to correct that’s not true – that primarily they want peace and to live their own lives. We got to talk about how there’s this story that people have believed that people with brown skin are dangerous or less than those with white skin. THAT IS A LIE. This is a big deal, because Justice is big on truth and lies right now and it was incredibly to watch him make the connection that the evidence before him was contrary to the story he was being told about the men being treated unjustly.

This is something we’ve talked about in different degrees, many times. And little pieces of the puzzle click each time, more and more, for each of us, I think. Martin Luther King Jr. is fresh in their minds because they had a lot of questions about him on the recent holiday – Justice made the connection instantly. “Mom, it’s like when the people killed Mister King Jr because he was black and he wanted all the people to be equal….. It’s just so stupid.”

Amelie could hardly contain her indignation, which is always the case in these kinds of conversations. “I could say the word stupid for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t be enough to say how stupid people are who think that the color of someone’s skin means they don’t deserve to live.” Mind you, she looks at me with caution each time she says the word stupid, because this is typically not a word we use to describe people – only the choices they make. I let her go on, and she went on for a little while, expressing her pain and anger, as they asked questions about whether people today, anywhere in the world, are still treated badly for the color of their skin.

Oh, my children.

How I wish I could answer differently. How I wish that unarmed people of color weren’t being shot during traffic stops, or black children weren’t being shot while playing with toys, and black fathers weren’t filling our prisons for crimes when committed by white men are oft ignored.

We talked, very simply, about some of the ways that injustice still happens here in our country, everyday.

These children were shocked and outraged.

Oh, my children.

How I wish so desperately that everyone everywhere could see injustice so clearly as you do.

Today was a hard day for other reasons that led up to watching a show on the couch just before bedtime. But in this moment, I gathered all my energy and was able to meet Amelie’s gaze during her monologue. And when she finished, I told her how important it is that she remembers how she feels with this truth right now. Always. And that she always uses her voice to advocate for justice.

{What sweetness, by the way, for Justice to finally begin to understand what his name means.}

Then, she said, “Mom, I’m going to work on my courage – for my whole life – to have the courage to talk to people – maybe even groups of people – about how important it is to treat every person equally.”

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