Photos from my hometown newspaper make we want to cry. Officers in riot gear are marching through Spokane, Washington's downtown, like storm troopers. People run through a cloud of tear gas alongside a park famous for its clock tower and hand-carved carousel. These scenes have happened in a place I love, where my children were born.
Across America, incidents like this are being replicated, like a grim Choose Your Own Adventure where some people pick peaceful protest, others throw rocks, burn buildings and loot, and no one chooses to get shot with rubber bullets, blasted with noxious gas or to die.
Protests have been rolling out across the United States as people seek to call attention to police violence. It comes after George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, died late last month after a white officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
It was the latest in a string of police killings of unarmed black men - and sometimes, women - in America.
The mistreatment of black and brown people by law enforcement officers is well-documented in the US. It's built on 400 years of slavery, segregation, inequality and injustice. Black and brown people have always known this. Pale people have always had agency to pretend racism doesn't exist.
The problem of raising children in a racially unjust world is universal. And many African American parents caution kids that skin colour makes them instantly suspicious. It puts them at higher risk for violence and even death by cop.
Here in New Zealand, data released in February by JustSpeak shows police are almost twice as likely to send a first-time Māori offender to court than a Pākehā. More than half Aotearoa's prison population is Māori, despite Māori making up only 15 per cent of the general population.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says New Zealand's police has no issues with systemic racism and the organisation is addressing unconscious bias. But professor Khylee Quince, of Auckland University of Technology's School of Law, told Radio NZ earlier this week: "I think we can refute any claims of there not being racism in the New Zealand police with their own data."
Quince says data shows Māori are almost nine times more likely to have a dog set upon them, or to have an armed response in relation to policing.
No matter where we live, our institutions - governments, healthcare systems and our police forces - reflect society. Director Taika Waititi said in 2018 New Zealand was "racist as f**k". Does it not stand to reason some of those attitudes permeate every profession, including law enforcement?
Back across the pond, a white woman in New York City named Amy Cooper was recently recorded confronting a black man who had asked her to comply with the law by leashing her dog.
"I'm going to call the police and say an African American man threatened my life." Then, she did it. Cooper tried to weaponise police against a birdwatching black man.
Author and professor of religion Jennifer Harvey wrote a piece for CNN called, "How Do I Make Sure I'm Not Raising The Next Amy Cooper?" She said most white parents today grew up in families where silence was the norm. These same parents are passing silence to their kids. Harvey says this enables us and our offspring to remain blind to racial inequality. We tell our kids to be colour blind, even to embrace diversity. "...but we say this while failing to notice we're expecting children to be magically immune from the same racism-induced tensions that get in the way of white adults successfully navigating diversity and sustaining interracial relationships."
We let silence speak. Often, it reinforces racism, when Harvey says we should instead teach what equality means and model anti-racism. "...in white families, we cannot wait to talk about it with our children, because segregation is so deep that if we just wait, it will never come up."
Unless you have teens with an Instagram account. The issue of police brutality against black people became a hot topic after my 14-year-old saw the video of George Floyd's death. I won't watch that scene, and I wish my son hadn't witnessed it.
"That officer should get the death penalty," he said. "So should the [three] other cops who watched the guy die. This makes me hate police."
"No. No, no, no…" I say. I tell my son every profession has bad apples, though most jobs do not involve balancing vulnerable people's lives on a knife-edge.
"It's not right. The other officers should be prosecuted, too,'' I say.
As I write, the charge against Derek Chauvin has been elevated to second-degree murder, and the other three former officers have been charged with aiding and abetting. The fact they did nothing to prevent Floyd's death is an indictment not only of them but of a culture that talks about racial equality while perpetuating racial discrimination. What kind of society incubates attitudes that would allow such deplorable behaviour: a knee on another man's neck while that human pleads for his life?
We are more than autonomous individuals, squawking about rights, acting purely from self-interest. We are part of something greater. A community. When one of us hurts, we all hurt.
Demanding change from institutions is possible only after we've had a good look in the mirror. Change happens when we decline to laugh at a racist joke and question stereotypes. We'll do this because our families, friends and especially - our children - are paying attention. Even if we can't see a difference in others' attitudes, we can bolster belief in our own.
I look again at news from Spokane to try to find reason for hope. There's a photo of a police officer wearing a helmet and face shield. He kneels while shaking a black man's hand. His gesture is a reminder it's never enough to simply say, "I'm not racist."
Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who perpetuates it".
Our loved ones and our descendants will consider our actions - and our failure to act - rather than remember our words.