‘Sometimes people think I look like a criminal, so I must smile more often.’ That’s what I had to tell my daughter.’: Dad says ‘I must build a better world for our girls, and better girls for our world’

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“‘Sometimes people think I look like a criminal.’

That’s what I told my daughter the other day.

We had The Race Talk and I said, ‘I don’t look like a criminal to everybody. Just to some people. And it’s usually if I don’t smile.’

I told her, ‘I wish this was a world where people didn’t judge us by the color of our skin. But right now, it isn’t… So I smile more often.’

The Race Talk wasn’t just about racism. It was teaching her how to become an authentic leader in 2020.

We’re teaching her that even though people may be suspicious of her, she needs to learn not to rush to judge others.

We’re teaching her that she won’t always be treated fairly, because of her gender and her race, so she needs to learn to forgive.

We’re teaching her that she has privileges that others don’t have. The system may work for her, but it does not work for everyone. So she needs to learn to empathize with others, and fight for people less privileged.

We’re teaching her that she will have black and white people in her life who are amazing and loving. These same people may also say inexcusably stupid things sometimes. She must learn to confront ignorance with candor… without destroying relationships.

We’re teaching her that because her mom is white, and her dad is black, she can identify with whichever race she wants to. But she must learn that her identity goes beyond race and rests in her status as a child of God.

We’re teaching her that police officers are there to protect and serve her, and most do a terrific job, but some don’t do a great job. And a few are racist, and should lose their job. She should learn to love all the racist cops anyway.

Above all, we’re teaching her to keep her focus on Jesus. That she is strong, and should work to help as many people as possible. That some days her country, her neighbors, her friends, and even her family will let her down. But Jesus never will.

We will do our part to address injustice. Vote. March. Serve. But our goal isn’t just to build a better world for our girls.

It’s to build better girls for our world.”

Courtesy of Dan Owolabi
Courtesy of Dan Owolabi

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Dan Owolabi. You can follow his journey on Facebook and  Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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