White Privilege Means My Daughter Can Count on the World to Keep Her Safe


Not too long ago I was at a park with my daughter when a fellow mom had a bad accident coming down the slide with her two boys. Her leg snapped and she was immobilized on the ground, crying out in pain.

I ran over to her and called the paramedics. As we waited for them to arrive, I kept an eye on her sons. The younger boy was about two and I held him on my lap and reassured him that help was on the way. The older boy—maybe 5 or 6–hung back and played on the structure a few feet away.

After a period of waiting, the paramedics arrived. In an instant, five or six men in uniforms circled around the mom, taking her vitals, dosing her with pain relief, asking her questions, and preparing a stretcher to transport her.

It was in that instant that the woman’s older son, who had been playing for the past several minutes, ran to me in tears.

“Is my mom in trouble?” he wanted to know, and it took me a second. It took me a second to realize that he saw his mother surrounded by what he thought were police, and as a black child, that scared him. That scared him more than seeing her leg twisted and hearing her moan in agony. Cops meant that something bad was happening.

I thought about this for a while after everything had cleared. I thought about how when my white daughter sees a police officer, she waves and expects a sticker. If she’s ever separated from the adult who is caring for her, she will look for a police man and ask him for help. She sees the cops as people who protect us, and keep us safe.

The boy in the park clearly didn’t share this perspective.

My daughter will grow up trusting the systems in which we live. If she ever finds herself in an emergency, she won’t fear that maybe calling for help will make things worse. She will be helped.

White privilege means my daughter can count on the world she lives in to keep her safe. Doesn’t every child deserve that?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here