What it would be like to be in their skin

EDITOR:

In regards to Grace Davey’s letter from Gladstone: I know I probably won’t convince her or many others regarding their dislike for the NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem, but I would like her to just try and walk in their shoes. No, not their $1,000 Nikes, but perhaps better yet, think about what it would be like to be in their skin…a person of color.

Imagine having to tell your son upon receiving his drivers’ license that there are certain unspoken rules you must follow now…such as avoiding certain neighborhoods when driving, don’t ride around with a group of friends in a car; if pulled over by a policeman that you must keep your hands on the steering wheel and make no attempt to move unless told to. Knowing that you could be pulled over at anytime perhaps just for a simple reason of “driving too close to the car in front of you, and be patted down, drug dogs brought in because you look suspicious then given a warning and told to have a nice day.

Now you have to tell your teenage daughter that when she shops at the mall, she will probably be followed by security staff and if publicly shamed and innocently accused of shoplifting, to stay calm and be respectful through it all and when it’s all over pretend it didn’t bother you because it will probably happen again and again. Imagine having to tell your teenager not to wear a hooded sweatshirt at night when they walk home from a friend’s house because that could be grounds for suspicion and you want to be able to see them grow into adulthood.

As a white person, we don’t ever have to think of the double standards that play out every single day for a person of color. The athletes trying to heighten an awareness to this systemic problem is really no different than the defiant Rosa Parks trying to gain some respect on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Denise Young

Escanaba