There has been an outcry in the media and on social media in recent weeks about police getting called on black people for doing nothing more than living their lives. The San Francisco Police were called on an 8-year-old girl in June who was selling bottled water in front of the apartment building where she lives. That same month, an Ohio couple called police because a 12-year-old boy mowed part of their lawn while he was mowing a yard next door that he was hired to do. On July 3, sheriff’s deputies in Clackamas County, Oregon, were called when a resident thought a black woman going door-to-door taking notes looked suspicious. Turns out that the woman, Janelle Bynum, is an Oregon State representative who was canvassing the area, talking to her constituents. And, on the Fourth of July, a North Carolina man called police on a black woman for swimming in her neighborhood pool with her son. When asked for her address, she gave it. She also had a key card that allowed access to pool area. But because the woman refused to show the man her ID — because no one else at the pool was being asked to do the same — the police were called. Eventually, after the video went viral on social media, the man lost his job. The hashstag #livingwhileblack has become common on Twitter, bringing attention to racism and the fact that day-to-day life for people of color is often very different from whites. As a mom, I’ve struggled with teaching my kids about race. Early on, I didn’t want them to see the color of skin and think that meant anything. Over time, I realized I was doing them a disservice, and I needed to be honest with my children, but also teach them to be empathetic, to treat others like they want to be treated. I’ve strived to put my kids in diverse schools, to be friends with kids of all different races, and to think about others before themselves, to fight racism. But I’ve failed, sometimes, acknowledging my own white privilege. I’m guilty, because I’ve called the cops, too. A couple years ago, I was pulling into my driveway around 11 p.m., when I saw a tall black man pushing a stroller. It was dark, I couldn’t see the baby — but I thought it was weird for him to be walking a child so late. Our neighborhood had had a rash of car break-ins at the time, and police had told residents to call if they saw anything strange or unusual. Our small neighborhood is also tight-knit, a place where everybody knows everybody, including people’s kids and their pets. I knew the man didn’t live in the neighborhood — which happens to be all white. It was only after the police responded and talked to the man that I found out that he lived in nearby apartment complex and that he was walking his fussy child, trying to get the baby to sleep. Our small neighborhood was a safe place to walk. And I had called the cops. Two years later, I still feel awful about it. Not just for jumping to conclusions and for calling the police, but for not reaching out to the man afterward and apologizing. He deserved that at least. I should have reached out to him, long before calling the police. People in our neighborhood wave, say hello, even when walking at night in the dark. I couldn’t help but think that, if the man had looked more like others in the neighborhood — if he had been white — would I have even noticed? I’m embarrassed to say it, but maybe not. Sometimes recognizing your own internal prejudice is a hard pill to swallow. It was an embarrassing lesson for me to learn, but a necessary one. Let’s hope that the recent media attention wakes others up to the issue, as well. — Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.