Parenthood is full of things that cause fear and worry. It begins with in utero concerns and moves to possible birth trauma. Then you worry about SIDS, formula vs. breastmilk, organic vs. traditional foods, speech development, childhood diseases, fatal childhood trauma, kidnapping, pedophiles, etc.
Parents then turn their concerns over to things like bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, premarital sex, suicide, and whether your child will graduate high school, go to college, get a successful job.
Do you worry about your child?
Do you worry about any of the things listed above?
If you are a White parent of a White child, I am sure the answer is, undoubtedly, yes.
But if you are a Black parent, or a White parent, of a Black child, there is so much more on your plate. Oh, yes, we worry about the things above. But do you know what else we worry about?
Racism is alive and well in the United States of America today. Don’t believe me? Google any news story about Trayvon Martin, or the baby shot and killed south of Atlanta this week, and read the comments. Listen to people in Indianapolis or Chicago and their horrendous thoughts on the almost hourly violent crimes being committed. The “n” word is tossed around like candy during a parade.
Here is what I worry about:
My son being shot by police “by accident.”
My son being shot by some racist because “he looked guilty,” or he is in a neighborhood where he “doesn’t belong.”
My son not being able to go to prom with your daughter, because you or your husband, while you might love my son now, don’t want your daughter involved in an interracial relationship.
My son being pulled over while driving the family car because he is Black.
My son being accused of a crime he did not commit and no one believing him, because he is Black.
My son walking by and White women locking their car doors, gripping their purses tighter, or crossing the street to avoid him.
My son meeting and falling in love with a beautiful, strong Black woman, and her family denying him because he isn’t “Black” enough or because his parents are White.
Everyone currently loves our son. He is a gorgeous three year old boy with lovely brown skin, pretty eyes, eyelashes everyone envies, and such a wonderful personality. Everyone wants to hug him, give him high fives, and listening to his singing.
But he is growing. In just the blink of an eye, he will be a six foot Black man. He will be gorgeous, I am sure. But will everyone still love him? How many people won’t even give him a chance, because of the color of his skin?
How many of our current friends will stop being such, because he is no longer a cute little boy, but a Black teenager?
And he is now old enough to ask why. Why does my friend hit me on the head? Why does he say our house stinks? Why did that little girl at the mall kick me? Why didn’t her daddy do anything about it?
One of these days, all too soon, I am going to have to answer questions like these: Why did that boy call me a “n”? Why do people avoid me in the parking lot? Why do people follow me around that store? Why do I have to keep the receipt of every little thing I purchase? Why do the security guards follow me around the mall?
Why do people treat me differently because I have dark skin?
Those are the things that make me cry in the shower and fall to my knees begging Jesus to protect my little boy, my son, and to teach me how to teach him what he needs to know.
So if you are the Mama of a beautiful Black boy…whatever his age…we are in this together. You are not alone.