Why my kids are not participating in the debate about race in America

My kids’ school held some debates last week about police brutality and racial injustice in the US. My kids did not participate. Don’t get me wrong, these are events that need to be discussed. The killing of an innocent man at the hands of police, the culture of policing in the United States, the underlying social and economic issues. The fact that the way of life of the economically suffering has been criminalized to a substantial degree. All that and more needs to be discussed, just not by 11 year old kids in Peru.

I lived in the US for the better part of 15 years, came of age there really. Unlike most people outside looking in I have a pretty good idea of the realities in the US. I also have a good idea of the realities in Peru. Decades of institutional failure, corruption, incompetence and yes, racism. You could argue that the institutional failures in Peru are in no small part due to racism among Peruvians. Institutional failures that are now painfully evident in hospitals all around Peru.

If kids in Peru are to have debates on the big issues of our time, let’s start with the issues right here in our own back yard.

Another demonstration in Cusco

Since we live in front of the Ministery of Labor and around the corner from the Ministery of Agriculture we see occasional demonstrations and street protests in front of our house. I usually have a hard time understanding the slogans the protesters are shouting, but I believe this morning the issue was around zoning and land use.

Here in Peru there is only mild civil unrest, the demonstrations are usually mellow and good-natured. Typically the demonstrators are organized labor or indigenous peasants, while the current government in Peru is center-right. Not meaning to get into politics, I will say that in my observations there is a great disconnect between the middle class / establishment and the poorer / rural populations.

I usually don’t venture out too much while the crowds are in front of our house, since I obviously don’t fit in with either the crowd or the riot police who are 4ft outside of our house. The pictures were taken from our yard.

I’m happy to report that my humble presence here has not been the cause of any civil unrest ;).