NY Times Op-Ed: ‘Can My Children Be Friends With White People?’

This is the article currently causing a stir in the media. A Black professor published an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, posing this exact question “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?”

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I heard about the article while driving the other day listening to the D.L.Hughley show. The author, Ekow N. Yankah, is an African-American professor of Law at Cordozo. He has four sons, and the eldest, a four-year-old, was essentially a muse for this question. The article explains that while trying to explain to his four-year-old “the violence that took place” in Charlottesville, Yankah said to his son, “Some people hate others because they are different.” His son then responded with, “But I’m not different.”

Yankah says in his article, “Donald Trump’s election has made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.”

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D.L. Hughley’s perspective, with whom I agreed, basically said that past generations in the black community have always rightly cautioned their children about befriending, trusting and associating themselves with white people; solely because of racial tension, past and present.

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Most media outlets, such as Fox News (video below) have gotten a hold of this article, and have expressed their opinion.

So, it’s only right I give you mine, as well……

I can relate to Yankah in the sense, and I completely agree with D.L. Hughley’s perspective (which is why I knew I had to address this in the first place). I had a happy childhood. I grew up in a middle-class family. My grandmother was a teacher, and my grandfather worked corporate america alongside most people that were “white”. I also attended PWI private school for 2 years (where most of the kids didn’t look like me). All of that being said, the racial tension that existed in past history and the one’s that exist today were not as apparent during most of my adolescence and childhood.

I have and still to this day befriend, love and associate myself with people that are white.

But you know why the article poses such a relevant question? Because extrovert racism is real and Donald Trump, a bigot (with zero political background) is President. Yankah isn’t racist for asking a very real question in regards to his four-year-old son, who still has to associate one way or the other with white kids. White kids whose same parents are those extrovert racists, very impressionable and indeed voted for Trump.

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On a more personal tip, I get it. The same very liberal university I call my alma mater, suggests bringing the very Republican Donald Trump, Jr. as a speaker for the “Distinguished Speaker Series.”

So you tell me how to trust, let alone “befriend” someone who swears to me as a black person that they “get it”, but goes behind my back, votes and defends Trump as POTUS. If this same article were written by a white male/female, someone would try to find every way to justify, yet Yankah’s being called racist. 

This isn’t a “hate bash” Trump post. However, we cannot sit back and ignore the fact that since he’s been elected, these conversations have not lessened but grown. And that bigotry is so much more apparent than ever before. I’m grateful at this point in my life, Yankah and I don’t have one thing in common, children. I pray when that time does come, I’ll have more of a hopeful answer.


Author: Simone D. Roy

I am an aspiring TV Host, practicing blogger, and "thinker-outlouder". I love God, I love people, and I take an immense amount of pride in being able to tell people's stories deeper than surface level. I am a product of the Frank and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism, where I obtained a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism, with a minor in political science. I wouldn't change that for the world. Recently, I've decided to take my talents to the entertainment industry, on a larger, more global platform in order to have more of an impact. I thank you in advance for following along with me on my journey! God Bless!

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