Today, in the car, my 6yo son asked me about Tamir Rice. He wanted to know what was going on. He said that he’d heard about Tamir at school. When he overheard my husband and I discussing the acquittal of Tamir’s killer yesterday, he must have mustered the bravery to ask me about it.
Here is the list of things I said to my white, 6yo son about Tamir Rice, guns, race, and police, as best I can remember.
(1) Tamir Rice was a young boy, the same age as [redacted name], the girl you like to play with in our neighborhood. Tamir’s last name is Rice, like Jerry Rice, the famous football player. Now you won’t ever forget his name. It’s important that we never forget his name.
(2) Tamir Rice was playing with a toy gun—not a real gun—in a park. Somebody saw him and thought it was a real gun and called the police.
(3) Sometimes the police are not the good guys.
6yo: “You’ve told me that already.”
To myself: Heh. So I have.
(4) The police came and shot Tamir, and he died. The police aren’t getting in trouble for it, but they should have. That’s why I’m sad today.