With all the drama that comes with puberty, friends, and school, it isn't easy being 12. Sadly, some kids have it worse than others, simply due to the color of their skin.
WNYC has produced a short film as part of the Being 12 series that asks 12-year-old New Yorkers with diverse backgrounds how they perceive race. These kids easily demonstrated that even though they're young, they have a firm grasp on race relations in the world around them.
"There's a kind of anxiety that comes with being biracial that kind of eats away at you."
"When I was younger, I went with my family to a restaurant, and they made us pay in advance just in case we didn't pay afterwards."
It's clear that these kids don't just know about racial prejudice in the abstract, it is actually a real and present part of their everyday lives.
For some, it already has them fearing for their safety.
"I feel a little scared if I just walk down the street, cops might just think I'm doing something bad, and if I try to explain to them, they won't listen and they'll just start beating me up and they'll do terrible things to me."
It's pretty disturbing that a 12 year old would feel this way about simply walking down the street from someone who is being paid to protect them. Unfortunately, his fears aren't exactly unfounded.
However, another boy understands the problem and has already started thinking of ways to remedy it in the future.
"If I was ever the mayor or something that controls the policemen, I would want to go out and look in the neighborhoods where there are people that's very friendly so you can pick them. [...] It's better to pick people that's more minded with the community."
Though it sounds idealistic, many police departments are trying to get a more diverse recruits that better represent the community in which they serve. This kid's forward thinking skills will take him far in life.
What about the rest of the kids?