Two weeks ago I left my home and my two small children to join my community in protest because I am not okay. As a Black Working Mom living in America, I have personally experienced racial bias. I have sat in conference rooms where my thoughts and ideas were overlooked but then celebrated when shared by another with the right complexion.
My husband and I have been pulled over numerous times with flashlights pointed to our windows, just to be sent on our way when they noticed that we had an infant and a toddler in the back seat. As a matter of fact, on one occasion when my husband asked why he was being pulled over. He was told — “ You’re lucky you have her here with you.”
What exactly is that supposed to mean?
What would have happened if he were alone?
Then, there was the time that I was heckled on an N.Y.C. train. For my entire ride, I had to endure hearing a white woman go on a rant about how I was trying to be like “them” because I was well dressed. It took everything in me not to retaliate, but it did leave an impression. What made this woman think that pride in one’s appearance can only be associated with her race?
Sadly, my husband and I were not the only ones affected by racial bias. My daughter scored in the 99th percentile on the NYC Gifted and Talented exam. As a result, she was placed at a local school which is very diverse. She was one of 5 black children in a class of 32. Unfortunately, I soon noticed that she and a few of the black students were being singled out. After realizing that this was not a one-time incident and was quickly becoming a disturbing trend, my husband and I transferred her out of the school and never looked back.
Racial Bias goes beyond the Criminal Justice System
Racial biases exist not only in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. It is rampant in our workforce, in our schools, in government agencies, in our churches, and in our communities. I am sure that many can relate to some of my experiences and can even share a few of their own.
For far too long we have allowed these racial biases to become the norm, but the time has come for us to acknowledge its existence, take the steps needed to change the narrative, and set things into motion so that racism becomes a thing of the past.
Just last week I had to sit my 7-year-old daughter down and talk to her about racism. The conversation came up because she walked into the living room and saw cops on TV kneeling on a BLACK MAN’s neck. I had to explain what happened, why it happened, and why we had to protest. I also had to explain to her that some people will not like her simply because of the color of her skin.
I wish this was not the conversation that I had to have with my daughter. Sadly, I will need to have the same conversation with my son even earlier because he is a BLACK BOY GROWING UP IN AMERICA. This is why I am not OKAY and I will NOT be okay until my husband leaving the house doesn’t give me anxiety. I will NOT be okay until both of my kids can live in a world where they are not judged by their ethnicity or race.
When George Floyd called out for his Mama, he summoned every mother in the world. All of our hearts were broken and tears were flowing from our eyes. We all saw our children laying on the ground with a knee on their necks. As a mom to a black princess and a black prince, it pains me to think that this is the world that I have brought them into. However, I refuse to accept it as my reality.
We, as a nation, are facing a crisis that requires more than just blanket statements from brands, companies, and government officials. The Black community wants to see real change and we want to see it across the board. Show us your diversity by actively adding black professionals to your advisory boards and executive leadership. We want to see reformation in our criminal justice system. We want to be able to seek the American dream of homeownership without having to worry about the area’s demographics and whether we will be welcome there. We want to see the same advanced curriculums, stem programs, and teaching standards mandated across ALL of our schools.
Until these changes take place, we will continue to protest. We will continue to make our voices heard. We will continue to mobilize, organize, and strategize. Change must happen and it needs to happen not tomorrow, not someday, but NOW.
Until change comes, I march for my babies! I march for my husband, and I march for me. #blacklivesmatter
(also published on my MEDIUM profile.)