You are probably wondering why I would give this title to my blog post. I usually publish a new article on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but this Tuesday I was still trying to process all of the senseless acts of racism that have been flooding the news. It left me thinking that there are people out there who will hurt me simply because of the skin I’m in. Knowing this, it leads me to wonder about my kids. Are they also in harm’s way.?
How could anyone hurt these little gems, right? Who would hurt an innocent child who knows no hatred and comes into the world full of hope, love, and optimism?
When I found out I was having a son, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Though we had a brief scare, I spent most of my time anticipating the birth of my little prince. I always wanted a son and I was excited about this new addition to our little unit.
I kept thinking to myself that God saw fit for me to raise a Black King and I was going to make him proud.
I promised myself to teach my son to be proud of who he is and where he came from. I would teach him to take pride in his appearance and always look his absolute best. I would raise him to be an educated, respectful, ambitious, entrepreneurial, and God-fearing.
Fast forward to just a few weeks out from his 2nd birthday, that promise still stands, but my desire is now also wrapped with fear. While all mothers worry about predators lurking around their children, my concern is a bit different. The predators that I worry about want to hurt my children simply because of the skin they are in.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DREAM?
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
I worry that my children will not be given a fair chance and will have to shed blood for a seat at the table. – Civil Rights Movement
I worry that my children will not be able to go for a stroll without being looked at as a potential robber. – Ahmaud Arbery
I worry that my children will not be able to plead their innocence without having a knee placed on their necks. – George Floyd
I am a mom who worries about whether my kids will make it back into my arms when they leave my presence simply because they are BLACK. – Trayvon Martin
Over the past month or so we have heard and seen the news headlines. I thought Ahmaud Arbery’s death threw me for a loop, but George Floyd’s death has left me in tears. While I was loving up on my children on Memorial Day, someone else’s son was gasping for air because a Minneapolis Police Officer felt that it was ok to press his knee against another human being’s neck.
As I sat there reading the account of George Floyd’s death, I felt cold and hot all at the same time. Cold because fear took over at that moment and suddenly, raising a black king and queen didn’t feel like a blessing. When I look at my kids, I see amazing things. However, I have to come to terms with the reality that when others see them. They see a threat. They see them as PREY!
Sadly, it is not just our young kings that are getting murdered, it is our young queens as well i.e. Breonna Taylor
My daughter will also have to come to terms with being a black woman in America. These are not the conversations I want to have with my kids. However, if I don’t proactively address what they are seeing and hearing in the news and just shelter them from reality, I run the risk of raising children who are oblivious to their surroundings and that does more harm than good.
Mommy, they hate me because of the skin I’m in?
One day the cuteness with fade. They will no longer be just adorable little kids. They will grow into young men and women.
How can I prepare them for the cruel world we live in?
How can I tell them that they WILL face HATE because of the skin their in?
I haven’t allowed my kids to watch the news this week because I don’t want them to be inundated with the footage or images. However, the conversation still needs to be had. We need to make our children aware of what is going on while also empowering them to know that they should be treated with respect and vice versa.
I want my kids to remain kids and enjoy their childhood. However, I want them to know what they may come in contact with and how to deal with it. No, I will not teach them to hate others because that will make them no different than the predators. However, I will make sure that they are aware that this world is not perfect while also instilling in them that they should remain hopeful for and demand change.
I don’t just fear for my children. I also fear for my husband, my brothers, my uncles, my dad, and EVERY black man and woman in my life. I fear that they will come in contact with racism and that it can end their life. Why should I be forced to live with this reality?
The recent killings of black men and women across this country are a reminder that racism never went away. It didn’t die. It is only now being captured on phones, shared on social media, and causing an uproar. It is not just news headlines or something we read about in history books. It is our current reality and one we and our children will have to face head-on.
We are all moms whether White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The loss of a child would bring any one of us to tears. No mother should lose her child because of the color of the skin they’re in.
As I prepare to speak with my daughter about this week’s events, I take comfort in knowing that we are all in this fight together and that if we continue to make our voices heard, the change will eventually take place. Because of Breonna Taylor’s death, CNN reports that the Louisville Metro Police Department will change its policy to require body cameras and change search warrant sign-offs.
It is my prayer that Armaud Arbery and George Floyd’s case will also bring about much-needed reform not just in local law enforcement but in our society as a whole.