Cops Go Overboard in 'Protecting' Black Girl From Her White Grandfather

Rant 121

racePicture this: you're walking down the street, and you spot a middle-aged white man strolling down the sidewalk. Beside him is a black girl, about 5 years old, bouncing and chattering on as 5-year-olds do. Now for the pop quiz portion of our day: would you A) smile and keep walking, or B) call the cops?

Unfortunately for Scott Henson, a blogger from Austin, Texas, people in his 'hood believe "B" is the proper response. For the second time in five years, the grandpa was recently detained by police for doing what grandfathers do: hanging out with his granddaughter Ty. So much for progress, huh, America?

As it goes national, the story of little Ty insisting Henson was her Grandpa, only to watch police take him away in handcuffs (he was later released when they realized their racial profiling was ridiculous), is being treated as one that aptly illustrates the racial divide that remains in America, even in a post-Obama world. It certainly does; the racial issues cannot be ignored here.

But I'm going to take it one step further. This isn't simply a story of race. It's a story of gender too.

Because Henson isn't simply a white person with a black child. He was a white male with a small girl, in a world where anyone with a penis is still treated as an inherent threat to anyone under the age of majority. And before you protest, allow me to proffer a few examples.

The Free-Range Kids blog recently unearthed a little gem from a parenting advice column wherein parents expressed abject terror over having to send their child to a sleepover where, gasp, the only responsible adult on the premises was a divorced DAD! Oh my horrors, an involved parent trying to let his kid actually have a normal social life!

And did you know that men only account for 16 percent of the ranks of elementary school teachers in America? Perhaps it's because of attitudes like the one I noted on a parenting message board recently, where moms were gathering their pitchforks to support a fellow mom who was angry that her school district would not allow her to have her child's kindergarten assignment changed from the male teacher to a female.

Something as simple as hiring a male babysitter can get the pearls a clanking in the mommy circles as they all clutch them to their chests and cluck at you. Forget that he's the kid's uncle and would throw himself in front of a bus to protect her, he's not to be trusted because he's got a dangler between those legs!

The problem with any of these assumptions based solely on gender is that they don't take into account character. A divorced mom could be a chain smoking floozy parading men in and out while your kid is chilling at her brothel, er, house. A female teacher could be a raging bi-otch. A girl babysitter could lock your kid in a closet. But hey, you just assumed she was the better choice because she was ... a SHE.

What about all the wonderful dads, uncles, cousins, sons, nephews, and grandfathers out there? Guys like Scott Henson, like my dad, who actually enjoy hanging out with their granddaughters so their daughter and son-in-law can have a night off, are one of the world's great gifts to kids. But they're lost in a society that has abandoned reason in favor of fear.

As much as the race issue seems to have played a role in the Henson case in Austin, I can't help but wonder if someone had stepped back and looked at him and his granddaughter simply as people -- not black and white, not male and female -- what they would have seen. An adult with a child? A person responsible enough to grab the child's hand when they crossed the street and a child who was on top of the world to have the sole attention of said adult?

Who's the man in your life who has given so much to your child?


Image via Pink Moose/Flickr

family, racial issues


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MamaY... MamaYankee

Maybe the guy just fits the profile of a "creeper" jajaja. Sorry but there are stereotypes for creepy dudes . Example: middle aged white guy that is half bald, mustache, pedophile glasses ( you know- the 1970's frames with the brown tint) drives a big ass "scooby doo" van although he has NO kids. I might call the cops regardless if the kid looks like his clone. I am not a fan of the police (due to the 900.00 ticket I got last month) but I must say they probably saw something a liiitttlle "wierdo" about him if they actually detained him.

Zyva Zyva

DS = Dear Son

DH = Dear Husband

DD = Dear Daughter 


Etc.. they are pretty prevalent on other parenting communities and some forums prefer you use those acronyms (But then you get into the TTC, and various others that get a bit much, personally I prefer to type things out). 

Regardless, I think it's depressing how gender is discriminated upon. We recently stopped being friends with a woman who accused my husband of being a pedophile because he was helping our daughter wash her hair after playing all day in the sand at the beach. A lot of my male friends are afraid to be around women with children or help out kids due to the fact they don't want to be considered a pedophile, and that to me is sad, eventually my son is going to grow up, right now he loves watching his baby sister, he's so good with her, and he enjoys being around kids, I hope that doesn't change as he gets older and the gender biases start. 

To MrsSimonsen  - You seem to be a troll, all you do is tell people to shut up, shut the **** up, go away, and do what you say. It's terribly annoying, I am not sure how to ignore you, or I would. 

nonmember avatar BBJames

I only bump my stuff because I don't like seeing it on pages other than the 1st one, or it'll feel like its being left behind. Just bump. Some people who haven't seen it might press it.

Erin Sites Golden

My husband has been the 2 daughters & son from previous relationships are not his step-children, they are his children and have been so for 12 yrs now! He has never treated them as anything less. 

Mrs Simonsen isn't it kind of stupid or lazy that you couldn't stay on topic? I mean at least her post was on topic and fairly long. Her DH DS & DD abbreviations were used appropriately IMO. 


Whitney Losh-Johnson

My mixed-raced boyfriend has two mixed-race nieces, and he's gotten looks and even had awful words thrown at him when he just tried to be a normal uncle. When people see an enormous white-Mexican guy with two young white-black girls, they assume he must be a racist instead of entertaining the thought that his family just happens to be a little different.

antfa... antfarmer101

My husband is part Hispanic and our daughter looks like the stereotypical Swedish miss...blond hair and huge BLUE eyes, pale skin. They look nothing alike. We joke all the time that when she gets a little older and shows her butt in public, people are going to think he's kidnapping her. It's really not that funny, because it could totally happen. If it does, I guess we will just have to deal with it, but he carries pictures of the two of them together everywhere he goes.

As for the author's question, my FIL is the other man who has the most to do with her. He has made me feel a smidge uncomfortable in the past, but that is because of issues I have that he knows nothing about. He has never been even borderline inappropriate with my daughter. God bless him, he won't even take her to the bathroom (although he did change diapers). That's just the way it works, I think. Even though women can and do abuse children too, it falls on the men's shoulders to protect themselves from suspicion. It's sad, but I don't see that changing ever.

Momma... MommaGreenhalge

My husband has been saying this for years.  Only recently have I come to realize how true it is.  Right now, we are witnessing a situation where a little girl being taken from her father because the system has decided that a single father with little education and less money is not fit to be her parent.  He's made a couple of mistakes, including allowing her to be around someone who brought harm to her.  But if he were a single mother in the same situation, the state would bend over backwards to help make sure the family stayed intact. 

libby261 libby261

MsSimonsen, Nonmember from Q and Nonmember from Elisa... if the acronyms DD, DS and DH are just too much for your poor little brains to comprehend, GO ELSE WHERE FOR ENTERTAINMENT!!  No one else has a problem with it.

Kristy Wiewel-Doellman

I very rarely trust ANYONE I don't know male or female to be alone with my kids. There is CRAZY STUFF  happening all over the world. I don't know if I would be so upset about people just taking a double check on my kids cuz you never know. I would hope that if someone saw something to do with  my kids that they felt in there gut was not right they would just stop them and whoever and ask questions. I would rather that then everyone turn their head and ignore it. As long as they were doing it as a good samaritan and not to be cruel. 

runne... runnergirl888

I enjoyed this article, but my comment is for Q, whining about the acronyms...why didn't you type out laugh out loud 3 times if they annoy you so much?

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