Letter to my daughter #2: Life Isn’t Fair

“It’s not fair”, you’ll eventually declare one day when things don’t go your way. And you’ll hear me say. “Life isn’t fair, sweetheart.”  You’ll go away mad and convinced that I’m only saying that to hurt you. But how can I blame you?  Our sense of right, wrong and fair is very balanced throughout childhood.


These days, I want to scream, “It’s not fair” more often than not.  My heart aches because there are too many mothers burying the sons, wives morning the husbands and raising their kids alone and children who are now fatherless.  All of this due to violence. And not street violence, but the violence of individuals sworn to protect us. And because the images of people who look like us are violent and show our humanity in the worst light.


What I fear most is that our humanity has been damaged in recent years. Our country is engaged in civil unrest and intolerance, much like it was in before and during the civil rights movement. Many of us still back and watch as the racial divide grows wider.  The learned tolerant behavior has given way to our biases.


The riots in Oakland, Ferguson and Baltimore highlight our flaws. This is what happens when the voiceless attempt to gain power because their frustrations have boiled over. There are people have forgotten that those men killed by police officers have families. They have forgotten that there were people who loved them because it is easier to call them thugs and criminals. By doing so, makes it easier to dismiss the actions of the police force as self-defense or protection of the public good.  Dehumanizing humans is a tactic that has worked effectively throughout human history. But sometimes, baby, the police are just wrong.  Our system is not only flawed but broken. It penalizes people for the color of their skin and the biases deeply ingrained in our society.


I write this believing that human goodness still exists. I still believe that there are good members of the police force. My sincerest hope is that this time our country gets it right. That we are able to rid ourselves of the dehumanization of  others.  That we can teach those who protect and serve to do just that. I hope that you, my love, will never remember this time in history as something you lived through, but something that was part of history that you and your generation choose not to repeat.


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