Ekow N. Yankah, a professor of law at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law in New York City, says he plans to teach his children to distrust people of certain races. Titled, “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?” the Sunday New York Times op-ed expresses the authors’ “profound doubt” about whether his kids can be friends with white people.
“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,” Yankah wrote in the piece.
“Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with white people.”
According to Yankah, true friendship is based on trust and in caring for one another’s needs. He says that kind of communion is not possible when it comes to “White Trump supporters and people of color” because those supporters have a “desire to create, maintain or wield power over others” and that this propensity for power “destroys the possibility of friendship.”
He does not wish to have these conversations with his children, nor does he approach these ruminations with any pleasure. Instead, Yankah says his “heart is unbearably heavy when I assure you we cannot be friends.”
“I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible,” he concluded. “When they ask, I will teach my sons that their beautiful hue is a fault line.”
A year later, I remain heartbroken with Trump’s election. His victory reminded us of a constant and ominous American lesson; that dangers to people of color are all too often ignored or not seen at all by those not endangered. My heartbreak in print: https://t.co/k13vlFaayB
— Ekow N. Yankah (@ekownyankah) November 11, 2017
A review of his social media account revealed a tweet from May in which Yankah is pictured with his arms around two “white people.”
— Ekow N. Yankah (@ekownyankah) May 17, 2017
On social media, many users reacted negatively to the op-ed, while fewer offered support, saying the article was “thoughtful,” that his “statements resonate,” and that some people can’t be friends with Trump supporters.
— A-Jay (@ajay6144) November 13, 2017
I asked my 12 year old son who hosted his 12 year old white best friend your question and he thinks you are so wrong. He just hosted his white best friend and his white friend invited another black friend. Stop ruining their future with your hate by your bias.
— Awurabena (@Awurabena2) November 13, 2017
Exactly. My 5 year old has a “twin” at school. My boy is white, his friend is African American. They don’t see the color. They see the friend. We live in the south, my kids have friends of all colors and we’re all better because we see ppl for who they are on the inside
— Melfromthe520 (@mkecnrsmom1221) November 13, 2017
“I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible”
You’ve already doomed them to a life of hate. So why bother even asking the question now @ekownyankah ?
— Crash O’Lantern (@Boognish12) November 12, 2017
— Meditative Monkey (@MeditativePower) November 12, 2017
— Philadelphia Globe📰 (@PhillyGlobe) November 12, 2017
It’s important to teach our children to be suspicious and distrust black people. Thank you @ekownyankah & #newyorktimes for reminding us to be #racist. Love to see some real racism in a great paper. https://t.co/DPhtL83uD0 pic.twitter.com/zPUpwLJNDK
— Melting Snowflakes (@Bitcoin3D) November 13, 2017
I respect your honesty and the thoughtfulness of your words but I implore you not to teach your children to be distrustful and suspicious of their white classmates. Racism in the guise of harsh wisdom is still racism. It’s a lesson that will hinder your sons, not help them. #love
— Gary L. Printy, Jr. (@garyprinty) November 13, 2017
As a man of Native and Latin extraction I must vehemently disagree with your position of not trusting white people. An utterly ridiculous position that promotes hate and violence. Good people come in all colors.
— Dario Lizarraga (@azfamdoc) November 12, 2017
My brain will only allow me to read this as satirical.
— Bradley Knotts (@radleyBTV) November 13, 2017
Beautifu thoughtful challenging essay @ekownyankah! And missing seeing you…
— mns (@elsenorrocket) November 13, 2017
I am so sorry for your pain. Thank you for bravely trying to express it in words. How do you have deep soul relationships with those that refuse to empathize or even acknowledge your struggles?
— Lauren Chastain (@theapologista) November 12, 2017
— Areva Martin, Esq. (@ArevaMartin) November 12, 2017
we cant be Friends with trump voters.
— ∆∆anonymous∆∆ (@______An0nYm0u5) November 13, 2017