The Small Difference Between Life and Death

by ClarissaB on October 19, 2015 - 3:14pm

            The article ''I Have the Big Job of Teaching My Black Children About Police'' written by Rachel Garlinghouse on January 5th, 2015 in The Huffington Post describes a very appalling reality faced by many caretakers of dark-skinned children. The author, a mother of three girls, gives us insight on her experience in having to raise dark-skinned children and the struggle she will face when she must explain that police will not always be who they imagine they are. She begins by explaining an event where a policeman lent a helping hand when a man had hurled the n-word at her daughters. The author goes on to say that her children admired the police since the incident but that, soon, they will have to face the unfairness that many dark-skinned people must face. She describes the questions that she receives from her children when they hear about individuals such as Michael Brown and want to know who is he- or was. She also mentions the assessments and the bad judge of character that will be made about her children simply because of the colour of their skin. Garlinghouse goes on to affirm that she wants the best for her children, for them to live happy and healthy just like every mother does. She concludes by saying that, although she hopes for the best, teaching her children about police is much more than a simple talk or hard truth; it can mean life or death.

            Personally, I found this article to be extremely captivating in the way in which it gave readers insight on the struggle faced by many mothers of dark-skinned children. I believe that there should be more emphasis on the way to answer questions asked by children about taboo topics, such as race. The author's children were curious about Michael Brown and therefore, could have been curious about many other things as well. In the article ''Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race'' by Erin N.Winkler it is said that children who have been silenced or ignored learn through this process to not talk about race openly. In other words, their questions do not disappear but instead go unasked. This occurs for the reason that parents believe children can't grasp the concept of race so they avoid having discussions about it. I think that parents should openly talk about these subjects with their children in order to avoid false beliefs or assumptions. They should bring up the topic of unfairness towards people of color and that these inequalities are biased and disgraceful. As Winkler argued, teaching young children to think in a more intricate way can be very powerful in decreasing the amount of prejudice. I thoroughly agree with the idea of guiding children to fight against the discrimination in their society. Furthermore, teaching these children will force many caregivers to rethink their ideas about race as well. Overall, I really appreciated and applaud this article for the way that it demonstrated the power the police hold in the future of discrimination. It displayed the harsh truth about the fear many mothers have when it comes to justice and their dark-skinned children. It also compelled me to realise how crucial it is for parents to talk to their children about police since unfortunately for some of them, it can be the difference between living or dying. 




Garlinghouse, R. (2015, January 5). I Have the Big Job of Teaching My Black Children About     Police. Retrieved October 13, 2015.


To begin, I believe this article addresses an important issue, and I agree with the message. Based on the summary of “ I have the Big Job of Teaching My Black Children About Police” by Rachel Garlinghouse, discrimination occurs within society’s departments, such as for example, the police force. It has been observed that people with dark-skin suffer from social profiling and thus, are victims of unfairness and a kind of inequality due to stereotypes and racism which make them “criminals”. Although, this article also discusses the fact that parents of dark-skinned children must explain to their kids that they are subjects of this discrimination and that since birth, they have already been classified as “dangerous”, “criminal”, “inferior” and so on. The article makes it clear that it is extremely important to speak rationally to children in order to educate them about the issue, and this is what I agree with. I believe that what goes on in society is incomprehensible and that these children should understand what they must face beforehand because this is probably what is best for them. It is much better to understand and be ready for something to happen than to be completely surprised and thus upset for the lack of understanding of what may be the reason why this is happening. As stated in “Just Kids? Peer Racism in a Predominantly White City” by James Baker, children who do not understand the concept of racism have trouble understanding why these situations occur. While some are depressed about them, others blame themselves for bringing this upon them. Hence, in order to diminish these consequences, it is important to discuss racism with children. Although in the long term, discussions will no longer be sufficient, what will be needed is a change.


Baker, J. (2015, Fall). Just kids? Peer racism in a predominantly white city. In A. Nouvet,
(Ed.), Anthropology 381-204-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism
(pp.48-58). St-Lambert, Qc: Champlain College Bookstore.

To begin, the reason of my response to this article is that I found this topic saddening. It is saddening because the skin colour is run partly this world. This means, that people with darker skin are considered a minority due to stereotypes, which is important to realize, since this is an issue that must be addressed. The article ''I Have the Big Job of Teaching My Black Children About Police'' written by Rachel Garlinghouse on January 5th, 2015 by The Huffington Post, is an article that discusses the reality that colored mothers face discrimination on a daily basis. As shocking as it sounds, colored people are faced with these harsh discussions with their children about being treated differently in society. In contrast, white parents tend to dismiss the topic with their child as stated in the article “Children Are Not Colour-blind: How young Children Learn Race” by Erin N.Winkler. It also states that parents should engage in open conversation about different races. I agree with this because it can bring a positive outcome for example, educating their children about various stereotypes. Furthermore, I think this would lead people towards being more aware about the racial beliefs and could reduce the hate toward the unknown and reduce conflict. In addition, people tend to put everyone of dark skin in the same group due to the way that other people think and treating them as a minority. Personally, I think it’s mostly caused by ignorance. I agree with the article that we should inform children about these social issues in order to have them understand these situations. The evolution of racism towards coloured people is getting better with time and becoming more accepting for coloured people. For example, slavery was abolished and recognized as illegal, having Rosa Parks as the women of freedom, having a Barack Obama as the president of the United States. Thus, the police men in the article is taking a stand when the young girl who was called the “N” word. Therefore, these racial beliefs (stereotypes) and discrimination will take time to improve. In other words, we need to keep action going for any change and readiness to happen. Despite every action put together to make this situation change, if some people will still have these social profiling regarding coloured people after being aware and educated that racism can be harmful?

Your post has drawn my attention because the title brings out two contradictory concepts, and your summary leads the reader to understand why they do oppose. I also think the article you have selected is appropriate to the matters discussed in class, as the situation faced by black people in the US is a current issue. Although many people are aware of the issue, only a few know the reality of raising dark-skinned children in preparing them to experience prejudice. I agree with the opinion expressed in your response, as it is rich and well supported by many examples from Winkler’s article. For instance, you mention the importance for the parents to bring out such subject matters with their children so they do not develop false beliefs. To conclude, your summary is well done in the way that it leads the reader to better understand how mothers of dark-skinned children cope with teaching to their kids that people will display unfairness towards them. Your response stresses the importance of talking about racial issues instead of avoiding them. Though the situation depicted by the article is pretty shocking, if people begin using the solutions proposed by Winkler, hopefully we will take a step away from racial discrimination.

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