This New York Times article about recent hate crimes in Long Island disturbed me on many levels. Yes, I experienced the common emotions of sympathy for the victim’s family and anger towards the aggressors. But as a parent who believes in the family systems approach (i.e., kids aren’t simply born with a set of traits; parents also contribute to how kids function in the world), I have attempted to move beyond simplistic anger and think about (and lament) what in the aggressors’ growing up fostered this behavior. This article also brought back troubling images from my own childhood. I grew up in Belmont, an affluent suburb of Boston (believe me, I have no idea what the hell we were doing there… we were a shopkeeper family amidst lawyers and doctors) and Belmont kids in the 70’s and 80’s did not check their cruelty at the picket white fence, as it were. I remember being out for a walk with my mother and sister and having a group of teens throw soda cans (and nasty comments) out their car window at us. My brother also recently shared memories of being a little kid surrounded by teens that threw racial slurs and lit matches at him.
My chest tightens at the mere thoughts of Laurel ever holding such vitriol in her heart, or being the target of an attack due to her bi-racial status.