I’m White?

I know it’s not really a question. I had my DNA tested through ancestry.com and I know I’m more than half Irish decorated in white European icing. With white sprinkes. I get it.

But today was the first time my students had to tell me, Miss, you’re white. You don’t get it.

I teach English as a second language to immigrants and exchange students. And while I’m aware of our differences, I’ve never really had to put that in the forefront. I love my kids and their cultures. They let me be involved and learn with them; they accept me as I am and I do the same for them. We’re a family.

Today, though, we were reviewing lock down procedure. I asked them to help me remember my keys for the door, know where the medical bucket is, etc. Then, of course, discussion led to the tragedy in Florida.

“But Miss, if one of us went crazy and did what he did, we would be dead.”

I tried to explain, that even though it seems unjust, there is a process. That’s part of being in America, a justice system that will use due process and try him for his crimes.

“No, Miss. We would be dead because the police would have killed us. The cops, somebody, wouldn’t have let us get to court. You’re white. You don’t understand.”

It breaks my heart that my kids, in 2018, in America, fear the police. That their color changes how people interact with them.

I want to live in a world like my classroom. Where it just works, because we accept eachother for better and worse. Where it took 4 years and a national tragedy to notice I was white.

The human condition knows no color.

Purple is my favorite color. Maybe I should be purple instead.

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