or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › teaching boys the realities of the police
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

teaching boys the realities of the police - Page 2

post #21 of 71
um, my BIL is a cop not in the US, but in my own country and he's the nicest man that I know off, what he does in his job is none of my business, becuase that's why tell him to do and I respect it, not his fault.

I will just leave the matter alone, I mean he's 3. Let him play. And I don't think I will even talk about this matter with DD, I mean I dont wnat her to think what a horrible person her lovely uncle is everytime he sees him

Just my opinion...
post #22 of 71
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the OP demonize the police. But the reality for POC is that they *are* more likely to be stopped by the police, to be arrested, to be questioned and to be brutalized. I'm having a hard time believing the quantity of posters who think the OP is weird for wanting to find ways to talk about this with her child.

Yes, three is probably too young. Yes, she should wait until her son is old enough to differentiate between a group and the individual members of said group. I know there are plenty of wonderful, caring, hardworking policemen and women around the world; there are also plenty of corrupt, racist ones. That's just the truth.

And the other truth is that boys, esp teenagers, and men of color are seen as MUCH more suspect than other teens/men and will probably have more run-ins with police because of it. They need to know this, and they need to be prepared in how to deal with this.
post #23 of 71
Thread Starter 
Let me start by saying that in no way do I fear police, nor do I want my son to fear police. I think fear is a weak emotion and when dealing with it only negative things may develop. I want my son to overstand the truth about everything, including the harsh realities of being a non-white person in a world where that is "not ok". I want my son to be aware and concious of such truths and know how to deal with them in a positive manner. I also don't believe in respecting authority just because they are authority and will not teach my son to do such. All people should be respected no matter what but it has to go both ways and sadly in this society that is not true, I think police demand and feel entilted to respect because they wear a badge. Being part of a faith that is persucuted in a country of religious freedom does not help, but we won't change our lifestyle to make life easier. I don't think every single police officer is evil, but I honestly do think that where we live the vast majority are and will cause harm, even the ones who are not white. A big issue for me is that the police are, imo, not someone to idolize/admire same as polititians and other often corrupt people of power. I don't believe in having power/control over another human being or group and that is just what the police are given.

As for our son I have decided to allow dh to handel this situation as he feels is best for our son. He has suffered far more then I in the hands of police and knows the truths of being brown in a racist world far better then I. I trust in his judgement and know he will do what is right. The fact is that police won't, imo, stop and say there is a 3yo boy in the car/house/situation let's wait for him to get older before we harass his father, or him, so then he will be able to better understand what's going on. So why should I give that to the police?
post #24 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by anomaly13 View Post
I also don't believe in respecting authority just because they are authority and will not teach my son to do such. All people should be respected no matter what but it has to go both ways and sadly in this society that is not true, I think police demand and feel entilted to respect because they wear a badge.
Respect is a complicated word. When some people say respect they really mean "obey" others really mean "fear" some mean no more than "talk politely." I went and looked it up, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect , the dictionary definition isn't a single concise word either. I myself used the word "respectful" in my first post when discussing how to interact with police.

I think police officer deserve and should get respect for the exact same reason that a store clerk, waiter, bank teller, train conductor, flight attendant, etc, etc, all deserve and should get respect. I'm sure we have all had incompetent, surly, rude, or even out right racist (yes I've seen this) waiters. The reality of a few bad waiters, does not change my feeling that in general, waiters are nice people trying to do a hard job that is to serve me.

I've been arrested a few time; I've had police say rude and insensitive things to friends; I know they sometimes throw their weight around for no good reason, and act out of grumpiness. I have also been seated in the empty back of a restaurant out of view and been ignored while other customers came in, had their orders placed, were served their food, got the bills, and got up to leave.

I have also worked as a store clerk, and know what it's like when people don't show basic respect. When people think they have a right to cut in line, when people throw merchandise at you b/c they are unhappy, when people yell at you for not allowing their children to destroy the store's property, when people act all nice then shop lift, etc, etc. Now as a store clerk, the most we ever did was ask people to leave, and that power was used very rarely only after the most improper behavior (after all, stores want people to stay and spend their money); but of course police officers have more power.

The realities of racism, aren't peculiar to the police force, they are a generally encompassing thing. My general feeling is that all human beings deserve respect and to be treated in a courteous manner, until they personally do something to loose that privilege.
post #25 of 71
eepster - very well thought out posts.
post #26 of 71
I think the tender age of 3 is MUCH too young for that kind of discussion.

What I've told my older kids is that most police officers are just out there doing their jobs, but that not all of them are nice or particularly honest people.

My dad told us, his children, that we should always attempt to be polite when dealing with police officers, even if we think they're wrong or that we are innocent... being rude or belligerent with people who carry guns and pepper spray usually doesn't turn out well.
post #27 of 71
He is 3 let him play. In a year or two start mention realities to your son. Discuss news articles were he can over hear.

Discuss appropriate behaviors to your CHILDREN (please your dd could be a victim). Talk about how the cop should behave and how people should behave. If you get pulled over don't ask the cop "Why the f*&(*& you pull me over?" It is a sure way to piss them off. If you are a passenger in the car do not get an attitude because you were pulled over. In high school I got pulled over because I was driving with black and being white in a black neighborhood. There was a few times I wanted to strangle my passenger/s....once was my mom. :

I have seen cops behave badly.

But I have people incite issues. Watching tone and vocabulary is just respectful....even if they have a nasty tone be the better person if for no other reasons to protect yourself. If you are emotionally upset try to control yourself -again cursing at the police is not the way to go.

Some times you have to put yourself in the police officers shoes and see his point of view and risk.

I got aggravated with Professor Gates was arrested. He was being as much as a butt as the cop was! They were both wrong. The cop responded to a call. He did not know what he was walking into. Asking a person to step out of his home in a response to a burglary is not dumb, wrong, or racist. I come from this back ground so I can see why a cop should ask to step in or you to step out.......One of our neighbors were broken into. She did not know the guy was in her home. The cop asked her to step out while he took a look around (cop should have done this to Professor Gates). Growing up one of my dad's guard buddy was a cop. He was responding to a burglary call. He asked to step in the guy started hemming and hawing. Dad's friend then realize this guy didn't want him in because he was scared. He left and called back ups. Then rescued the guy and family. Cop should not have had his attitude and the lying afterward was not acceptable. I do wonder how it would have been if Professor Gates took a moment to see why a cop would still ask you to step out of your home. It was to further asses the situation and his safety.

The time to argue is in court.
post #28 of 71
my sons and i, as caucasians, are in the tiniest minority in my neighbourhood. this area experiences a lot of police brutality and corruption. the cops are not our friends. they cruise around like sharks, watching everyone, day and night. my older boy is almost 4 and he knows to stay away from the police, and that if the cops look mad, to run and hide. i don't want him getting caught in the middle of a confrontation, since those often end in the police shooting someone. last summer they shot an unarmed 10 year old. they're safer than their playmates because of the colour of their skin, but stray bullets are stray bullets and i don't want my boys anywhere near them.

i don't see it as teaching them to fear police or demonizing the police, it's basic safety. staying away from the cops is a good way to stay safe(r)
post #29 of 71
I'm going to take a stab at joining the discussion here, because our family is very much concerned about the same issues that the OP brings up.

One thing we do is that we are teaching DS to have good self-control. If he is stopped by the police (or faces some other equally-and-potentially-tinged-with-racism situation), he will have to have good control over his behavior and reactions to the officers. It is way too easy for a situation with law enforcement to become deadly. Whether he is "respecting" them or not doesn't really matter. His immediate reactions DO matter. So, at 23 months, he is learning to control his behavior, his emotions, and to obey people who do have legitimate (and loving) authority in his life. He will later learn the nuances of not obeying all authority, or questioning who has legitimate authority over his life, but for now, he has to learn to control his behavior -- as developmentally appropriate, of course.

Here is an example from this morning --

DS saw a box of cookies before breakfast and wanted one. I said, "These aren't for breakfast. It's time for cereal." He started to protest, and while I got him cereal and suggested pancakes (which are always a part of his breakfast), his protests showed no signs of lessening. However, he was not yet out of control (this is important, for if he were out of control in a tantrum, I wouldn't try to stop it or reason with him). He was just being loud. I got down to his level, and said, "Listen to me. Stop making noise." And, he stopped. And he climbed up into his high chair and said, "pancake." If I had ignored his behavior, it would have escalated out of control.

Doesn't work every time, but we try to give him every opportunity to bring his behavior back into control before it gets out of control. I'm not suggesting that we avert all tantrums or try to keep him from expressing his emotions. But he does have to practice keeping his behavior in control. The more this occurs, the more likely it will occur in the future. If he learns to be calm now, he will be more likely to be calm in situations that are frought with emotion and have the potential to be deadly.

I do think it is a small part of the larger issue of what children/teenagers of color must learn in this (U.S.) society. The reality is, he will be seen by some in society as a menace and a threat (a large, black male). He needs to be prepared to deal with their reactions to that.

I don't know if I am saying this very well, but I'll try to check back and clarify if I can.
post #30 of 71
Thread Starter 
well said josybear, i couldn't agree more with

"i don't see it as teaching them to fear police or demonizing the police, it's basic safety. staying away from the cops is a good way to stay safe(r)"

i am no fool and would never myself nor encourage anyone especially my own children to act irrational, angry, frustrated, or violent to police, or anyony for that matter. those are negative, weak emotions that only lead to problems, emotions no one should deal with and ones i will strive to keep my children from ever having to fall back on.

as for respect as i said everyone should be treated with respect and should show respect, until one disrespects another then it can all go out the window. but in our society we are taught to be respectful to certain members of the society because of who they are, not because they are human beings, living creatures, who deserve to be respected because they too return the same unto you. for me respectfulness is not a way to act but rather just the way we should all already be toward one another and all things living. this is complicated for me because of the deep spirtual beliefs i hold with regard to the way people are living on earth, i think it is all wrong for the most part. this is babylon.

i follow the blog of mama with 2 young boys of color who share similar spiritual views as i. she mentioned this topic awhile back and i just went a read her post again. not sure if i can do this but here is a portion of the post, what she will tell hers sons about dealing with police/being in public, i must say i do agree with all her points.

1.Don't act the fool in public. Be disciplined with your emotions. Do not act out in anger or frustration.

2.Do not fight or be otherwise involved in altercations in public. It doesn't matter if people are trying to punk you. You can't be punked if you are not a punk. Any aggressive act can and often will be misconstrued. Including kicking your own car when you realize you have a flat tire. We are not in control of anything outside of ourselves. So you'd better be in damned good control

3.Be respectful. Say good morning, please and thank you. Go out of your way to show you are not a threat. Do not go too far though. More than anything, you must be true to yourself.

4.Know where you are/who you are with. If you notice you are the "other," be extra vigilant. The "other" is usually an easy target/scapegoat.

5.Walk with the knowledge of your history. In America, there is a plan in action to eliminate Black men. Know that.

ASusan well said, i agree that it is about controlling ones own self and emotions when provoked or harassed. but the way you help your son handel his emotions and deal with negitive feelings is not what a police officer would do every time. but i get that he is really little, as is my son, and chances of dealing with police now a rare so all we can do is prepare them gradually for the real big scary world.
post #31 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by josybear View Post
my sons and i, as caucasians, are in the tiniest minority in my neighbourhood. this area experiences a lot of police brutality and corruption. the cops are not our friends. they cruise around like sharks, watching everyone, day and night. my older boy is almost 4 and he knows to stay away from the police, and that if the cops look mad, to run and hide. i don't want him getting caught in the middle of a confrontation, since those often end in the police shooting someone. last summer they shot an unarmed 10 year old. they're safer than their playmates because of the colour of their skin, but stray bullets are stray bullets and i don't want my boys anywhere near them.

i don't see it as teaching them to fear police or demonizing the police, it's basic safety. staying away from the cops is a good way to stay safe(r)

As a person of color and some one ho has lived in several different countries and have have experienced racism in many of them including the US I want to say I am horrified by this. To run from police, and given the distinct police reaction to respond first and evaluate after this is scary. If a child is taught to run from police he turns into an adult who runs from the police. In my eyes, not having experience as a police person in this country but coming from a long line of police people in other countries, this causes no end of trouble. My Grand father a police man of many years experience, said that if he were to see someone running from him he would automatically suspect that person committed a crime and he would want to hold catch him and hold him - no matter the color. Surely you can see why this escalates. Instead of teaching the child to simply run from the police it would be better to teach the child to remove himself camly, without giving the impression of fleeing from any area that has the potential for complication - in teaching a child to run from the police what happens when your child is the one who needs assistance? What happens when he is a young adult driving and is stopped by the police (rightly or unjustly) and your teaching of fleeing the police step in and he flees the police? Maybe I am taking your words too literally (sorry I have a tendency to do that)? Maybe you are teaching your son to judicious evaluate the scenario and to remove himself as calmly as possible from any situation that has the capability of escalating and creating a negative consequence.
post #32 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
What happens if he gets lost or hurt and runs and hides from the police or firemen because he is now afraid of everyone in an authority position in uniform???

If this discussion must be had.. I think it is best to wait til your child is older.
My kids are white, so less likely to suffer harassment by police, but I would never tell them to look for a uniform if they were lost. Lots of people wear uniforms who aren't public servants, for one thing. For another, you can't find police officers when you need them- they aren't on every corner like that. And I do think there are a disproportionate number of power hungry people who join this profession. I know we're not supposed to believe that, but I do. I feel safer knowing my kids would look for a granny or a mama with kids- easy to find and statistically highly unlikely to see that as an opportunity to victimize a kid.
post #33 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
My kids are white, so less likely to suffer harassment by police, but I would never tell them to look for a uniform if they were lost. Lots of people wear uniforms who aren't public servants, for one thing. For another, you can't find police officers when you need them- they aren't on every corner like that. And I do think there are a disproportionate number of power hungry people who join this profession. I know we're not supposed to believe that, but I do. I feel safer knowing my kids would look for a granny or a mama with kids- easy to find and statistically highly unlikely to see that as an opportunity to victimize a kid.
this.

plus, when they're old enough to be considered a threat (8ish?) i'll teach them not to run, but as little guys i don't think anyone would be suspicious if they got the hell out of dodge when things heated up, you know? i don't want them running towards altercations, hoping to be spectators.
post #34 of 71
anomaly13, thank you for your post. my family is caucasian (my partner & i + 2 boys) & i still struggle with the whole police issue. we have not been the victims of racial profiling, but my eyes are open to those situations where it does happen. my personal negative experience has been through political activism, so it's been a choice on my part to bring myself to the attention of the police.

so far my oldest is just into cars, trucks, & vehicles, & i'm hoping it doesn't broaden to cops! i don't think they are all evil, but i don't want to teach my boys that they can all be trusted either.

i grew up in the US, but now live in NZ where the general environment is waaaay milder. but it's the authoritarian role itself that, when combined with certain personality types, results in certain individuals with power trips & generally rude or violent behavior.

we go to playcentre (a gov-funded parent co-op for young children), which occasionally has police officers come to show off their car/lights/sirens & give a little talk to the kids. i've decided to make sure we don't attend if it comes up again. i just want to avoid the issue until he's older! (he's only 2 now).

anyways, just wanted to let you know i support your concerns...i don't think you are blowing anything out of proportion. the issues you have brought up are very real & i think you're being responsible by approaching it as you are.

even at 3, he is probably already starting to understand how some things are good & some things are bad...i know we teach this approach when it comes to harvesting wild food, like mushrooms (seems like a random link- stay with me!). we teach him that some mushrooms are yummy & some are yucky, so ask mum or dad first about eating any. so you could start talking about that with police...some are really helpful & some are not definitely not.
post #35 of 71
The thought of teaching kids to run from police makes me twitch. Nothing tells a cop "Hey, I have something to hide" quite the way that running upon the sight of a cop does. If you run away, they may very well think that you have something worth hiding.
post #36 of 71
Subbing, v. good question, even if a three year old is too young, then what about a five year old? A pre-teen?
post #37 of 71
As a brown person, I say, let it happen naturally. There is no reason to instill mistrust of the police. If it is warranted for him to mistrust police as he gets older, those situations will present themselves organically and he will grow to mistrust the police the same way you did. Because of bad experiences. Not because he was primed to mistrust. My experiences with the police, as a brown person that lives in a shady neighborhood, have been 99% positive, and the bad experiences have been more about misunderstanding than profiling.
post #38 of 71
I really don't think there is any need to say anything at age 3.

I'm 26, white ... but, to be honest, the police is the LAST place I would go if I needed help. I mean, I took self defense classes and own a gun for a reason. I don't trust the police, and hope to never have to get involved with the police (whether because I'm breaking the law or because the police is protecting me).

I'm from eastern Europe, originally, and I think, at this point, it's genetic in my generation to distrust authority figures, the government, the police. Poland hasn't had a good history with police.

So, I know that's where part of my fear comes from. The other part - I'm an anarcho-capitalist. Self explanatory, I think.

I've never had any experience with the police - except one traffic ticket. But, for me, it's a distrust born out of my country's history and my own values.

However, at age 3, I don't think I'd be saying anything to my child. I think that type of information would come up in a more natural way at a later age.
post #39 of 71


honestly I just read through this thread, and while I have *heard* of this kind of profiling stuff.....I'm Caucasian in a small Midwest city and have never experienced anything like that or known anyone who has, honestly.

This is one of those moments where I wonder what I've done, how *ellish life is going to be on my sweet, innocent, beautiful...and yes, biracial, dark-skinned children. (2 boys, 1 girl)

That said...I would think teaching them to be generally decent/respectful if they do have an encounter with police---at the age where it might happen!--would be sufficient. (I agree with a couple previous posts that say nothing will make them think you're guilty, or treat you badly, faster than saying things like "Why the 'f' did you pull me over?" or running.)

I'd *hope* anyway that would go a *long* way toward the officer treating them decently...

Maybe I live in la-la land but I hope I don't.........
post #40 of 71
Quote:
One thing we do is that we are teaching DS to have good self-control. If he is stopped by the police (or faces some other equally-and-potentially-tinged-with-racism situation), he will have to have good control over his behavior and reactions to the officers. It is way too easy for a situation with law enforcement to become deadly. Whether he is "respecting" them or not doesn't really matter. His immediate reactions DO matter.
I agree with this and several of the other posters who said similarly.

My sons are growing up and i have been thinking about things like this. Although, it seems that because of perspective, encouraging respect towards officers isn't as scary for us as for some. Dh comes from a place where corruption reigns. He was surprised and gratified by the positivity of his experiences with the police here in the US. I know that's hard to believe for some, but even the time he was pulled over when they were looking for an armed robber, and it was clear the only reason was that he was a tall black male, as was the suspect, he didn't feel he was mistreated. Yes, I know that this is not the experience of the majority of POC here, but it does go to show that our experience has a huge impact on our beliefs and biases. And while we obviously do not think they are all evil, the experiences of others show us that this isn't an issue that we can just blithely ignore. It is true that our sons may not be as fortunate as my dh has been in this regard.

I think that with toddlers is is just too early to start filling them with fears. But as they get older, I think it would be appropriate to share with your son the bad experiences you've had, and why that has colored your view of the police, and why that means you want him to be wary of them. I think combined with that conversation should be a conversation on what situations to try to avoid if one is wanting to avoid cops, and what to do/how to behave if there is no avoiding officers for some reason.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Multicultural Families
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › teaching boys the realities of the police