I was left dumbfounded by a letter to the editor last week in which the author opposes teaching police critical race theory, preferring instead that children simply be taught “police are not their enemy unless they are doing something illegal” [“Youths Need Education on Interacting With Police,” July 28, Xpress]. As someone who works with children, I would like to highlight some elements of human nature that prove such a solution to be myopic and ineffective.
All children are raised within a certain sphere of norms and thus imprinted with an acceptance that those norms encompass all reality. Many privileged children are raised learning that speeding is OK as long as you don’t go too fast or get caught. They have probably witnessed their parents check a text while driving or have one too many before getting behind a wheel. Yet still, the fear of police is beyond their scope.
Children of undocumented immigrants, on the other hand, witness a deep fear of the police in the adults in their lives and probably know from a very young age that the only option for them is to run if an officer enters their life for any reason.
Likewise, many underprivileged children live in homes where the presence of police only means bad news. Police take away their family members and friends. Sure, a law must have been broken, or money owed or a court date missed, but again, the events and actions leading to an arrest are all within