Holding Our Sons Closer.....2:28 PM
I write today with a heavy heart. My disgust, rage and sadness over the Zimmerman verdict hasn't lessened over night. However, I am preoccupied with other thoughts. I'm burdened with how insanely difficult it still is to raise black children, especially boys, right now in 2013.
My family and friends and I waited with baited breath for the verdict, hopeful but wary. Abused, neglected and disregarded so many times by the court system, we dared to hope for Lady Justice's blind objectivity even while being resigned to the fact that the color of our skin always lowers our chance for truth, justice and that is the American way. So no I wasn't shocked or surprised.
My children were shocked. They didn't understand. At only 11 and 14 years old they are old enough and smart to understand most of the evidence and facts of the case. Their outrage is not about racism. Their shock and sadness isn't about racial profiling. It's about innocence and guilt, It's about right and wrong. And even good and evil.They don't understand how the bad guys can win.
And now as a parent it's up to me to explain what I myself cannot fathom. It's my job to make reasonable what can't possibly be reasonable, and I confess, I do not know how.
As a black mother my parenting worries and woes are unique to moms of other races. I have the same concerns about my children's basic health and well being, about their education and future. I worry about their character, their moral being, their very souls. And even if god-willing, they stay illness free, they get straight A's in school, and regularly help old ladies across the street, their chances of making it to adulthood are way lower than their white counter parts. The situations that cause me to pause would never cross the mind of other moms not of color. I am afraid of letting my sons and nephew play with their water pistols in front of the house less someone think the plastic toy gun is real and shoot them. I am nervous when I see police parked outside of the neighborhood park where they play basketball. And now I am terrified to let them walk to the corner store for some skittles.
So how can I encourage my sons to reach for the stars when I know they aren't safe in their own neighborhoods. I want to teach them that they can be anything in this world. That they have the same chances for success as anyone, but the truth is they don't. How can I expect them to go far in a world that sees them as thugs, menaces, threats? How can they find their place in a society that hunts them with no consequences and no remorse? How can I tell them to respect a law that doesn't protect or serve them?
I don't have the answers today for my children or for myself. I can only hold them a bit closer, and pray that my little boys are the exception and not the rule in a world that doesn't appreciate their value and worth.
My heart goes out to Tracy Martin and Sabrina Fulton. I cannot imagine the heartbreak they've suffered so far and how much more they have to face in their near future.
Rest In Peace Trayvon
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