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His name is Ekow N. Yankah and he’s a law professor at Yeshiva University in New York. He wrote a piece for the New York Times about how he’s raising his four-year-old son entitled “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?” that is, at best, disturbing:
My oldest son, wrestling with a 4-year-old’s happy struggles, is trying to clarify how many people can be his best friend. “My best friends are you and Mama and my brother and …” But even a child’s joy is not immune to this ominous political period…
It is impossible to convey the mixture of heartbreak and fear I feel for him. Donald Trump’s election has made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.
Meaningful friendship is not just a feeling. It is not simply being able to share a beer. Real friendship is impossible without the ability to trust others, without knowing that your well-being is important to them…
Imagining we can now be friends across this political line is asking us to ignore our safety and that of our children, to abandon personal regard and self-worth. Only white people can cordon off Mr. Trump’s political meaning, ignore the “unpleasantness” from a position of safety. His election and the year that has followed have fixed the awful thought in my mind too familiar to black Americans: “You can’t trust these people.”…
They protest: Have they ever said anything racist? Don’t they shovel the sidewalk of the new black neighbors? Surely, they say, politics — a single vote — does not mean we can’t be friends.
I do not write this with liberal condescension or glee. My heart is unbearably heavy when I assure you we cannot be friends.
And let’s to ahead and get the obvious out of the way: Yes, if a white father taught his son to be suspicious of all black people/not to trust them/they are a danger to you/don’t be their friends, that white father would be vilified and probably reported to the Department of Social Services. The answer from people who think like Professor Yankah is that such counterfactuals are irrelevant and ridiculous because America is run by white people who have all the power. (Don’t bother mentioning two-term POTUS Barack Hussein Obama. It just annoys people who think like this)
I’m more interested in the parenting aspect. People are free to think whatever idiocy they want, and if you are, say, one of the intellectually-challenged feminists who thinks America’s just one election cycle from the patriarchal theocracy of “A Handmaid’s Tale,” that’s on you. (Really–a country with universal access to porn, a 40 percent illegitimacy rate and a “p****-grabbing” POTUS whose third wife is a supermodel is about to turn into Oral Roberts University with weird hats? You gotta be kidding me.)
If Professor Yankah wants to believe that Americans have the same views on race today that they did in the era of Jim Crow; if he wants to believe he’s surrounded by racists who truly want to strip him of Constitutional rights because of his skin color; who wish him ill because his ancestors came from Africa instead of Europe–if he wants to be that immune to facts, logic, and reason–that’s a shame, but he’s an adult. He’s entitled to his own stupidity. I merely roll my eyes and move on.
But when he announces to the world that he’s teaching his son to be afraid, to be suspicious, to reject 60 percent of his fellow Americans as possible friends and instead declare them implacable (or in the best-case scenario, unintentional) foes–I stop moving and start glaring. What an awful, awful way to raise a child.
I don’t want the state to kick in his doors and take his son away–you know, the way some liberals want kids taken away from parents who teach them that homosexuality is a sin. Professor Yankah absolutely has the right as a parent to raise his kids with his values.
But Americans of all colors are entitled to be sickened by it.
Professor Yankah means his article to be a challenge. He’s trying to put a moral burden on white people, essentially saying: “See what you’ve made me do? See how awful you are? What are you going to do about this racist America of yours?”
In my opinion, he’s done the opposite. His reaction to the imperfections of America is to poison the mind of his own son against millions of people who, if they found him lost on a park or hurt at a playground, would gladly help him, protect him, keep him safe? It’s both ridiculous and obscene.
I say white people would protect his son, except we couldn’t because the poor boy would run away from us, having been brainwashed to believe we’re there to hurt him, that he can’t trust the white cop/nurse/crossing guard/soup-kitchen volunteer/pastor/whoever trying to help.
Yes, Professor Yankah is a bad person, but I have resigned myself to bad people. It’s the fact that he’s such an awful parent that still inspires my outrage.