A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? I had the hardest time concentrating on work this week. Same for the house renovation. I was completely distracted by current events. I find news weeks like this to be all consuming — I tend to keep myself glued to Twitter, clicking every link, reading every essay, trying to formulate thoughts and figure out what sort of positive actions I can take.

We’ve had long discussions with the kids about Amy Cooper and George Floyd. We asked them not to watch the George Floyd video (I didn’t watch it either — no one needs to watch someone be murdered on camera), and we all watched the Amy Cooper video together several times.

We discussed how she intentionally manipulates her voice, and changes it to sound panic-ed, even though she’s obviously safe. And how she threatens to call the cops and specify he’s an African American, and claim that he’s threatening her life — clearly understanding that police reacting with violence to black people is very common. You can see her making the mental calculations and it feels like pure evil.

Now we’re watching news about the protests, sharing thoughts on Twitter and in Instagram Stories, and I’m feeling even more worried about my country than I did on Monday. (Memorial Day feels like a month ago already.)

I mean how do I share links this week? There are hundreds and hundreds I should share with you. Here are a few things, and feel free to check out my retweets for many more links:

There was another way. So many of these deaths were preventable.

-At least seven people were shot as protesters in Louisville demonstrated against the killing of Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.

-A YouTuber with hundreds of thousands of followers who shared her family’s experience of adopting a toddler from China announced she had “rehomed” the child after unspecified behavioral issues. (I’ve never heard the term rehomed used for anything but dogs.)

-CEO pay just grew to $12.3M — that’s 169 times more than the median worker.

How To Be An Antiracist.

-A Utah company called Zagg made $6M in profit last year and put it in the Cayman Islands. It paid $0 in U.S. taxes and actually got a $3.3M refund. It just got a $9.4M taxpayer bailout. Other countries have banned this but it’s perfectly legal in the U.S..

-Minneapolis police officer at the center of George Floyd’s death had been with the department since 2001. During his career, he was the subject of a dozen police conduct complaints. Records show he was never disciplined.

Food nostalgia.

Here are some tweets I saved for you. (There are so many more! More of what I’ve retweeted lately.):

-Why would we ever expect these protests to be peaceful?

-What is calling for your empathy today?

-When do you find yourself using the word “riot”?

Good point.

-A thread of recommended books for this moment in time.

-When do we justify property damage?

-Are the good cops speaking up?

-What do you make of this video?

-As long as we’re talking about police headquarters, let’s quickly remind ourselves about the horrific backlog of untested rape kits in our country.

What kind of protests are acceptable?

-Tropical print shirts have become a thing in right wing protests. Here’s a fascinating thread on how this came to be. I think it does a really good job of showing the steps of how something like this happens.


Target will be fine.

-Again, Target will be fine.

-The officers responsible need to be arrested and charged with murder.

Definitely a disconnect.

Breathing as a right on many different levels.

-Imagine a world without police or prisons.

-A thread highlighting excuses white people use for rioting.

-If and when we ever get actual numbers, we will realize we passed 100,000 deaths weeks ago.

-In the middle of all the gut-wrenching news, Twitter still manages to make me laugh.

I hope we all have a weekend full of reading and listening and learning and empathizing. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


38 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. Did you read what Christian Cooper’s account of the incident before he started filming? That context leads me to think she was scared of a man who had threatened her and had tried to lure her dog away. He wrote about it on FB and that account is in many places.

    If you don’t know Central Park, the Ramble is remote (like being in the woods). She was their with her dog off leash early in the morning. That’s not uncommon–I live near the park and see this often.

    He then comes up to her and polices her actions, not by just reminding her about the leash law. He presses it (again, he’s not a ranger), and states, “If you’re going to do what you want to do, then I’ll do what I want to do, but you won’t like it.” By itself, that’s threatening language on top of really odd behavior.

    He then takes a dog treat out of his coat and tries to lure her dog away and give it to the dog. That escalates the situation and threatens the dog (who knows what he is giving her, who knows if the dog will then run off?). Imagine if a stranger did this to your animal or your kid. That he does this regularly (he states that he and friends do this to dog owners in the Ramble) has really been lost in the narrative,

    After all this, he turns on the camera, escalating this further. If I were a woman alone in a remote part of the park early in the morning, I would be scared. Here’s a stranger who won’t let a minor thing go and keeps escalating matters when I won’t do what he says. I would be frightened for myself and my dog.

    1. From a distance, (I’m french, in France), it really seems like this man reminds this woman of the law (I am terrified of dogs, even small dogs, I just go in parks where dogs have to be on a leash), it’s not that minor. He has a right to do that and she should have accepted that she made a mistake. From the distance it looks like such a racist situation. But as I understand it, it is so systemic in the US that most people don’t see it anymore. Why would she threaten him to call the police and that she will say “an afroamerican man, etc”, that sounds crazy to me.

      1. Americans do not have a monopoly on racism. In many other societies including France, there are minority racial or ethnic groups who experience racism, and majority groups who perpetuate it.

      2. Agnes— thousands of dogs are in Central Park on any given morning. Before 9 am, they are allowed to be unleashed in most of the park. They are not allowed to be unleashed in certain parts of the park, but even that’s not followed often. Many owners will unleash in an area, clean up after their dog and no one cares.

        I agree that he could remind her that the dog should be on a leash and why. That’s about the limit. Instead, he keeps at her and verbally threatens her and then takes a threatening action toward her animal. Then he starts the video.

        The narrative in the public seems to be: guy asks a woman to leash her dog, she goes crazy and calls the police. Instead, a truer narrative is: a guy asks a woman to leash her dog, she doesn’t, he presses her, she says she has a reason she’s not in the dog run, he threatens her because she isn’t doing what she says, he takes an aggressive act toward her dog to frighten her, she says she will call the police, he starts recording, she calls the police.

        IN the US, you also give a description to the police that involves descriptive such as perceived ethnic group. I’m not saying the call was great, but he did really aggressive and uncalled for stuff prior.

        I also laugh, given how little the French seem to like rules. If a Parisian is told to pick up their dog’s waste, you get a long argument on why they won’t and why it is not fair.

        1. “I also laugh, given how little the French seem to like rules. If a Parisian is told to pick up their dog’s waste, you get a long argument on why they won’t and why it is not fair.” Yes you’re right, no one would ever call the police for that kind of matter. That seems so crazy to me.

      3. Another point to note about the leashing… He was birdwatching. I believe he is the head of the NYC Audubon Society, who take quarterly counts of the different species in the area (not saying he was doing that at the time but possibly). He wasn’t just being a stickler about the leash law. Her dog was scaring away the birds so he asked her to leash her dog. I think that’s a reasonable request of any dog owner if the dog is infringing on the activities or frightening another human.

        In addition to the racial component, what really upsets me is the disservice Cooper did to women who call 911 for real potential assault calls. I watched the video and it’s clear she amped up the panic factor in her voice while on 911. The man was at a safe distance away from her and Amy Cooper actually approached him very closely. I believe he even asked her to step back. That’s not the body language of someone in true fear for her life. So now doubters of the frequency of female assault will pull the “Amy Cooper” card stating that women lie and overstate their danger.

        1. “what really upsets me is the disservice Cooper did to women who call 911 for real potential assault calls”

          Jeanne, I agree it’s very upsetting.

      4. Dogs are SUPPOSED to be leashed in the Ramble. That is an area for birders. The fact that this woman didn’t do this and felt it was her right to have the dog unleashed was the cause of the entire incident. In addition, WHY would she need to say over and over AN AFRICAN AMERICAN man was threatening her? Again, please look at what you are saying and where you are saying it from. America is breaking apart because too many people feel as if they are not the cause and everyone else is the problem.

    2. As a woman who is terrified of being assaulted first of all I don’t run in remote wooded areas (my own personal choice but I get that it’s not an option for everyone). If a man in a park asked me to leash my dog, I would leash my dog then run the opposite direction. I have a dog and I recognize that my dog’s appearance disturbs some people and other pets even though she is obedient and extremely friendly, and I leash her every single time we see a person approaching. I would make every effort not to provoke by being disagreeable or trying to be “right” about having my dog off leash. When I’m in an on-leash area and I get called out for having my dog off leash, I leash my dog and don’t get defensive. She was also a stranger escalating matters when she chose not to leash her dog in a leashed area and then said “i’m going to call the police and tell them you’re threatening my life” (yes, she said “my life” which she may have FELT to be true but that does not make it true). She may have been scared for herself and for her dog, I would be too. The dialogue description is concerning on his part, yes. But if you watch the video, you can still see and hear her weaponizing her whiteness and his blackness. It’s still racist. She still emphasized his blackness and exaggerated the situation to her benefit (instead of trying to escape- which she could have easily done. Which is what most people legitimately afraid for their actual lives would try to do).

    3. Random question: Does all of this affect your Americanism? I have lived abroad for the last 14 years (first in the Caribbean and now in Europe-the bulk of my life as a full-fledged adult). These murders of black men always make me feel so far away from the place. I am wholeheartedly and undeniably Midwestern but the more we learn about how POC are treated as disposable in the US it makes it seem more and more foreign to me. (I also feel more and more helpless.). I have been talking about moving back to the states a lot in the past year, but I’m so repulsed following these events (which happen all too often)that it changes my feelings about what I want to be/who I am/where I want to raise my children. I vascillaye between having great affection for the place (especially the Midwest) and being horrified by it. Now that you are living/investing/building a life overseas, do you still feel fully engaged with America? Obviously, there is no shortage of racism in France or anywhere else in Europe, but you also don’t see people being executed by cops regularly either.

      1. Kate, are you asking me?

        The answer is that I feel as strongly about what is happening in America as I did when we lived in Oakland a few months ago. I admit, I watch the news there much more closely than I watch it in France (partly because of my poor French-language skills). I have children still living the in the U.S.. My businesses and employees and income are all U.S. based. I do not have dual citizenship. I hold an American passport, and American citizenship, and I always vote, even when overseas. All my siblings and extended family are in the U.S.

        I just read that protesters shut down the Bay Bridge, and I was sad we weren’t there to support the protest.

        Perhaps I will feel differently if we live away for many years, but right now I still feel deeply connected and heartbroken about what’s happening in my country.

    4. Hi Andrea, the same thought crossed my mind when I read his account-“I’ll do something you don’t like” (not that that would excuse the issues with the call), but then when you watch the video she is coming towards him aggressively and he is the one asking her to step back. If you are physically afraid you don’t move towards the threat. She is scared that her privilege and her entitlement are being threatened, not her actual safety. I think the bigger issue is what she said on the call. It certainly didn’t sound like anyone had asked for his description and obviously made the confrontation sound much more violent than a man pulling out dog treats. I would recommend watching the video again as it is not hard to see her intention, which is clearly less about protecting herself and more about making trouble for a black man.

    5. Andrea, I think if you look at this situation without any context, it may seem as simple as you are portraying it. We live in a country where we hear stories DAILY of police abusing their power against African American men. Wouldn’t you, as a white person, recognize in that moment that in the eyes of the police you have more legitimacy than a black man does and think twice about involving law enforcement under those circumstances? Why wouldn’t you just walk away? Why threaten?
      Also, Mr. Cooper did not film the incident to escalate the situation but because, sadly, if the police had shown up, he would have had to prove that he had not harassed or harmed this woman in any way. He knew nobody would take his word for it. He knew he would be guilty automatically because her accusation would be enough.
      I think you are able to put yourself in this woman’s shoes because you are a woman yourself and you think you would have felt threatened under those circumstances. Now imagine for a moment that you are a black man. Imagine how threatened you must feel when you leave your house, when you rub someone the wrong way, when you look wrong (to them), when your actions and words have negative subtext that you didn’t intend. Imagine for a moment your fear in this situation.

    6. Andrea, I don’t think Christian Cooper’s actions are being lost in the narrative at all. I read Christian’s account early on as the story was coming out. I think most people have. He sounds completely reasonable to me. If he was a white woman and did the exact same thing — insisted Amy Cooper put her dog on a leash and offered the dog a treat when she wouldn’t — there is zero chance Amy would have threatened to call the police and say her life was being threatened.

      1. I think anyone threatening and luring your animal away would provoke. He did it and does it because it threatens people. He does it so people will do what he wants. He’s not the police and his policing of the Ramble turned out very badly, if not predictably this time.

        A man telling a lone woman that he’s going to do what he wants and she won’t like it? Yep, every alarm bell would be triggered from that. That is what’s being overlooked. Her response is not out of nowhere.

        1. I just don’t buy it Andrea. If a cute-nerdy bird-watching White man had insisted she leash her dog and offered it a treat, she might have been irritated or even angry, but it would never have occurred to her to call the police or say her life was being threatened. She was weaponizing her whiteness and his blackness. You can see in the video she is not fearful of him. She approaches him without hesitation. So we can assume his words were said in a very non-threatening tone, because clearly they didn’t intimidate her at all.

          And remember, we only know what Christian Cooper said before the filming began because he openly shared the whole conversation. If he had done something he was embarrassed of or knew to be out of line, would he have been so quick to share and so transparent?

          You seem to be focused on what we can’t see, so much so that you are willing to ignore what is plain to see.

          1. Andrea- I agree with Pam and Gabby. Also, Christian didn’t start filming until the situation escalated. Why didn’t Amy either leash her dog (it’s well known dogs should be leashes there) or just walk away and shrug or ignore him? You’re trying to convince yourself that racism wasn’t part of the situation

        2. Andrea, if she was so threatened, why did she charge toward him with the leash and her phone held high? I honestly thought she was going to strike him. And the fake hysteria when she called 911? She knew what she was doing, amping up the situation and coloring it for effect. If she was so scared, she should have run instead of inflaming the situation. She had her dog off leash in an area where its not allowed so she had no leg to stand on and she got caught.

          1. I think it shows how terrified she is, how she’s trying to ward him off and his threat. If you think this man may be trying to do you harm, you do what you can to counter threaten.

  2. I agree this short week has had so much happen that it feels like a year’s worth of bad news. I’m overwhelmed and still processing it all. One thing that I’d like to comment out is the “rehoming” of the child with autism. As a mother of a special needs child myself, this story causes me a lot of grief. As much as I cannot imagine giving up my child and the thought of anyone else doing such a thing causes me great heartbreak, I feel like the judgment of this couple is rooted in a lack of understanding of how unbelievably difficult a special needs child with behavioral issues can be. Not every child with autism or ADHD has severe behavioral issues, but those who do can be a major safety risk to themselves and everyone around them. Not only can their behaviors be violent and physically harmful, they can also disrupt sleep, family dynamics and cause extreme stress. These kids do not respond to discipline and extinguishing these behaviors can be incredibly difficult and require lots of professional intervention, patience, money, and time. I worry that people who have not lived through this experience assume the difficulties are somehow equivalent to challenges of raising neurotypical kids or special needs kids without these behavioral issues. They are not. Added to that is a lack of consistent educational and social services available to support these children and their families. Instead of judgment, I wish the discussion was more about “What do we need to do as a society to make it easier for families to raise these kids?”

    1. I believe that they tried hard and meant well when they decided to adopt their son, but I think getting rid of him is morally reprehensible. Rehoming a 4-year-old does not guarantee him access to the services he needs to reach his potential. Rather, it further traumatizes him and very well sends him to a situation with even worse resources. And if it was so hard to raise him, why did they keep having more babies after bringing him home? I am sure many parents of 5 young kids feel overwhelmed even when all 5 are healthy and neurotypical.

      I also find it particularly gross that they used him for YouTube sponsored content. I think the least they could do now is take it all down. Yesterday I watched the video from last fall celebrating the two-year anniversary of his adoption, and it made my stomach turn. The mom gushes on and on about his progress and how much she loves him and is thankful to have him and knows she is meant to be his mom. To know she dumped him just months later is so heartbreaking.

    2. I am so torn between my reaction that this is an utterly despicable, unthinkable, inhuman thing for a family to have done to this child, and my reaction that if it was so bad they wanted to get rid of him, at least they did it safely and didn’t abuse or kill him. I think the term “rehome” is really triggering because until now most people (if not all) have never heard that term for anything other than finding a pet a new home, and so the language automatically creates the idea that these people are equating a child with a pet. But many cities have also established safe abandonment laws for babies and children, in an effort to avoid the tragic consequences of people feeling completely overwhelmed at at the point of violence or unsafe abandonment of a child. These people did a despicable thing, but perhaps in doing so, prevented an abusive situation.

      1. I feel both emotions, too–horrified at the idea that adoptive parents can give up a child AND compassion for their struggles that led them to this choice. I think it’s ok to see both sides. Above all, I pray for this boy and his new family; I hope he is in a loving, safe home where he can thrive.

  3. Michelle, this is such a great comment. I worked at a residential school for kids that were neurologically atypical and there was an unusually large population of adopted children. These were kids (teens) who were high functioning but often violent. The facility is wonderful and a great relief to these families. It’s also tens of thousands of dollars per year. I don’t know anything about this YouTube family, but the judgement here worries me as well. Often with international adoption certain details are withheld. There is so much room for improvement, it is staggering. And as far as supporting families who have an atypical child, we are so far behind. I agree with you so much. I hope this heartbreaking story brings some changes.

    1. Julie, thank you for your comment and for working at a residential school for these kiddos. I’m sure you made a huge difference in many of those kids’ and their families’ lives! As you pointed out, these places are extremely expensive and often not available for young kids either. We need to do so much more for all of these kids–not just the wealthy ones. More research, better treatments, more specialists and trained professionals to treat these kids (waitlists for autism professionals can be years long), more support at home and at school, more frequent respite care–the list goes on. Like you, I know nothing about this YouTube family, but I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to validate the difficulties these families face.

  4. I had watched this YouTube family in the past. Their China adoption drew me to the channel. After a while I noticed that the mother was treating her adopted son different from her other children. What put me off was the fact that they wanted a Chinese boy to act as a “twin” for their young son. This adoption was sorely misjudged by her. It’s not all sunshine and unicorns. They were in over their heads. I saw this coming from a mile away. I quit watching. I wonder if he was “rehomed” due to neglect and an unwillingness to provide the appropriate care that the boy is entitled to. It was so easy for them to wash their hands of of the whole situation. Hire a few lawyers and it’s all good.

  5. The idea of finding a better home for a special needs adopted child seems really icky, especially so with the monetary element in the case you highlighted. I will say that I have a friend who did this and it drastically changes my opinion. She adopted three children, over a decade, the last two from China. The last child was a Chinese boy and after about two years was told by the myriad of counselors and therapists it was in his best interest to find a new home. She was heartbroken and it made me realize in some cases, it’s the loving thing to do. Of course I don’t actually know what happened in this highly publicized case. I just wanted to say that bringing a child from an orphanage and then loving them enough to give them a different home isn’t an evil act.

    1. I appreciate your perspective, Kim, and hearing about your friend. I can’t help but wonder what the therapists and professionals would have told your friend if it was her biological child who looked like her, that was having difficulties…would they have told her to rehome them? It also shows that a lot more education needs to be done in the adoption process- Courtney Ellen Brown (CEO of Cents of Style) mentions this in her Stories today on Insta- she’s an adoptive mom.

  6. Did you know that the first ad on your site with this blog post is for Trump for America? *shudder*

    I don’t even know what to say about the events of the week. I darn sure am not criticizing people for protesting the killing of another unarmed black man and literal centuries of racism and oppression.

  7. So much heavy and heart breaking stuff, but my poor dad will be heartbroken to know that there is some crazy extreme right-wing plot involving his beloved Hawaiian Shirts. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  8. I am stunned to learn that US police train for only 8 weeks to be ‘qualified’. It feels like it explains some of the terrible stories we hear. Details would differ a bit in different states in Australia, but in New South Wales, for example, police study for 38 weeks full-time and then have to complete another 42 weeks part-time online study while they are probationary constables. (This doesn’t prevent some of them mistreating people of colour, but maybe reduces it.)

  9. I have been reading your instagram post and your responses to the comment are so clear, firm and strong. I’m learning a lot from your calm.

  10. My son became a police officer in December. He has a college degree in criminal justice, is an officer in the National Guard and spent 6 months at the police academy. He then had 4 months of training, riding along with other officers, before he was given his own car. He also attends extra training at the end of some shifts. I realize every state is different, but please be aware that 8 weeks of training is not the norm. He is as upset as everyone else over police brutality and abuse of power.

  11. Seems like you anyway do an amazing job with your time management – 5 kids AND a job AND a husband AND a house renovation AND other big and small stuff. Would love to see a post where you talk about how you manage your time, what apps/tools/services/humans help you, and how you learnt how to do this better over time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top