Talking To Kids About Caitlyn Jenner, Ninja Cops And Rachel Dolezal
Out of nowhere my daughter asks me: “Who is Caitlyn Jenner? Is that Bruce Jenner as a woman?”
Just a few days before, she didn’t know who Caitlyn Jenner was, but the furor apparently isn’t over. Then she proceeds to offer her opinions on the whole Kardashian Clan, including Kanye. Now, I am not about to turn this into a talking to kids about Caitlyn Jenner post, because there are a number of resources if you need to have those deeper conversations about transgender people. It is not that time and I, personally, am not ready.
Now I am prepared to talk about race and discrimination to my daughter. Talk. That’s easy generally, however Eric Casebolt turned it up several notches recently when she imposed his brute tactics on suburban Black teenagers. The captain in the McKinney police department forced yet another conversation about race and police brutality between my kid and I. Seeing a police man manhandle a girl a few years older than she is and pull a gun out on boys trying to help her, was jarring. The images did the talking for me.
On the low, we got a laugh out of his insane barrel roll while in hot pursuit of kids. But, I digress.
My kid is a lot more advanced than I was at her age and that also translates into exposure to much more as well. It would be nice and appreciated if some of the hysterics could subside for a bit as the sensationalism in media is pushing the issue.
As I wrote this, we come across another topic: a woman faked being Black and went on to lead the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. I admit, my daughter didn’t come to me with this one, but I couldn’t hold in my horror at Rachel Dolezal. Who fakes being Black in the era of #BlackLivesMatter? (At press time, Dolezal maintains she’s Black even though her mother says she was born Caucasian.)
Rachel Dolezal! My daughter was just confused at this one. She’s seen Kylie Jenner give some lip challenge, even as her original lips are like bologna. She’s got a clue about Bruce. Still, a white woman completely faking…being Black? This is the world we live in and we have to have these conversations or our kids are food for the fishes.
Basically, if you don’t know, educate yourself on a topic before you go spreading something potentially ignorant to your child. Don’t give them information that they cannot process. For example, I kept it light with Caitlyn, but talked at length about the McKinney cop. Share your experiences. I sure did, as I have had numerous experiences with racism.
Lastly, listen. Ask questions. Your kids know more than you know, most likely. If the kid had a phone, he’s conversing with friends. If they watch TV/listen to music, they are taking in information that you cannot always check. The best bet in these times is to keep the conversation open so you can steer them properly without seeming like mom or dad.
I can’t lie, entering this era of less and less innocence is a bit daunting. At the same time, its refreshing to talk to a kid clearly smarter and more perceptive than I was as a pre-teen.