It’s common for little kids to idolize police officers and my son at age seven was no different. In our neighbourhood, he’d stroll right up to them, hand outstretched, ready to shake theirs. If we pulled up to a police car in traffic, he’d ask me to roll down the window so he could wave. He didn’t notice that I would always roll mine down first, to avoid any misinterpretation of what was happening.
We tried to preserve his innocence as much as we could, because we knew there would come a day when his love of police officers would come to a crashing halt. When that day did come, I was not prepared.
The nightly news was on TV and he overheard that the police had killed an unarmed Black man. His questions came fast and furious. “Why did the police shoot someone? Why are they shooting Black people? Are police bad? Will they shoot me?”