By request elseweb, "how I talked to my two year old about Baltimore":
This is somewhat edited for continuity and clarity because conversations with two year olds can get a little dadaesque.
We were discussing some over-Morgan's-head stuff about Baltimore at dinner, and she was getting bored.
Me: "Morgan, do you want me to explain some of this to you?"
Me: "Okay." breathes deeply "There's a problem going on around the country right now - that's a lot of different places all over - where police are not being nice to people with a certain skin color. When someone has darker brown skin, often we would say that that person is black. Do you know anyone who is black?"
Me: "Remember watching President Obama with me on the video? He's black. And your friend Mateo and his dad are both black."
Morgan: "We have light skin. We have beige skin."
Me: "That's right. When someone has light skin, often we call them white. Mommy and Mama and Papa and you are all white. So what's happening right now is that there's a problem where people think some bad things about black people, like thinking that they're more likely to be angry or fighting. So then police are meaner and more violent to black people, because of what they think about black people. A lot of people have been hurt, and a lot of people are very angry."
Morgan: "I dropped my tofu!"
[Pause to retrieve tofu.]
Me: "So one thing you can do is you can notice how people treat your friends who have different color skin. Sometimes if people are being mean you can help stop it. Sometimes you can't. It may not come up. But it helps if you can notice it."
So, that's not perfect or complete or nuanced but it helped us establish some vocabulary and we'll build on that later. She's old enough that I feel like she should start understanding things going on in the world, and yet young enough that I wish I could protect her from all the bad things. But since I can't give her the world I wish I could, I guess I might as well prepare her for the one she's going to get.