There is a running joke in my family about jury duty.
As my daughters have grown up, I have made it a special point to tell them that being in a democracy means you need to participate whenever it’s needed. Usually, that means voting and serving on juries when called.
The joke is that for all my civic-minded lectures, I have yet to be called to jury duty. My wife and my oldest have each been called, twice. It’s a great event when the letters come from the courthouse and they’re not for me. Lotsa yucks all around.
Lately, though, my faith in this democracy we live in has been very much shaken. I am struggling with what to tell my three daughters now.
What do I, a white father, tell my African daughter about the police and the justice system after the events of Ferguson, Cleveland, and Brooklyn?
What do I, as a father, say to them when sexual harassment and assaults go virtually unchecked on college campuses and in workplaces?
The answers to these questions are actually going to require a lot of work. A lot of discussions. And people asking more questions to our leaders, our law enforcement agencies, and to ourselves.
It’s time for answers. No one should live in fear because of their race or their gender. But people do.
And that’s the wrong answer.