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How to talk to your kids about race amid another shooting in Minnesota

A local counselor explains why, "I don't see color" may sound well-intentioned and anti-racist, but it's problematic

GREEN, Ohio — The fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a Black man, after being pulled over by police in Minnesota, along with the newly release video of a Black Army officer, held at gunpoint and pepper-sprayed by police, are raising tensions in the Minneapolis area as former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial, accused of murdering George Floyd.

"My oldest daughter just brought up, 'Did you see the latest one.?'" said Dr. Yvonne Glass, a licensed family counselor from Green and a mother of four. Glass, who is Black, said her heart sank when her 15-year-old daughter asked that question.

"I think a big thing is not to be in denial," she said. "For us, it's 2021, and to hear that we are still teaching the same things that my grandparents taught my parents -- It's heart-wrenching." She said she occasionally reminds her older children, "You need to remain calm. You need to do what they say. You need to follow the instructions, so that ultimately you get to come home, even though I know that's not a guarantee, either."

Driving while Black -- is the sardonic phrase to describe racial profiling of American-American drivers, and is also the subject of a recent PBS documentary that chronicles the long road of racism in America. The documentary is based on the book, "Driving While Black: African-American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights, by Dr. Gretchen Sorin. The author will host a virtual forum about her book at Oberlin College Tuesday at 7:00pm. 

Having uncomfortable, but honest conversations is what Glass hopes all parents have with their kids, and advises parents not to teach their children to be "color blind."

She believes that saying, "I don't see color," is problematic.

"Of course we see color," she explained. "When you say you don't see color, you just discounted a major portion of who I am and my story. So yes, I want us to teach our kids to see color. That is not a bad thing."

Anyone interested in attending the Oberlin College forum is required to register in advance for the free Zoom program at: http://bit.ly/2No73FD. Registrants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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