What Do Kids Learn?

I attended the “Support the Police” rally in Springfield on Monday evening (6-22). While true democracy depends on exercising our citizenship — i.e., our right to free speech — as an educator, I worry that verbal exchanges were most often hurtful, untruthful and unproductive.

What kind of communication is it when people carry the American flag, brandish automatic weapons over their private parts and hurl odious insults at counter protesters without masks during a pandemic? I saw adults using intimidation, as police officers stood by, and I wondered as I watched some children’s faces, what are they learning here? They looked confused.

What was the lesson they were learning? If “we reap what we sow” is true, then now is the perfect time to sow a more just future. We must dismantle the white supremacist system that has disastrously oppressed Black, Indigenous, people of color since colonizers set foot on this continent, a system that traps us all. Let’s teach the next generation how to solve this problem with respect and empathy. Evolution is still possible, you know?

Deb McGee