I hurt for my son some days. He is tall. He receives the same question all of the time: Do you play basketball? I hate that….A LOT. He does, but no one ever seems to ask or discuss his academics. He is quite intelligent. He is an entrepreneur (offrtm.com). He is a good-hearted person. He is a Type 1 diabetic, and anyone who knows about this disease, knows that this disease is very difficult to manage. His doctors compliment him for doing so well. He rarely gets mad. I have never dealt with him disrespecting me. He always smiles. He is truly my sunshine!
My son is Black. My son looks you in the eye when he speaks. My Black son is almost 6’2. My Black son who is almost 6’2 has experienced micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions. My Black son who is almost 6’2 and has experienced micro- aggressions and macro-aggressions has been co-parented for most of his life. He has lived an extremely good life (I am pretty biased), but with lots of challenges. He impresses us because he still sees the good in humanity, even when he has witnessed racism, hurt, and wrong doing.
I hate having conversations with my son about my fear for him. I hate having to share recent stories about racial issues that he needs to hear. You know…that story about that White girl that lies about her BIG, BLACK boyfriend who intimidated her during a verbal fight. Or, that story about the BIG, BLACK boyfriend who had sex with his White girlfriend who lied to her parents because he was found in the house, because she didn’t want to get into “trouble” ….SHIT……Rape??? What??? Naw, that was consensual, but because he is an almost 6’2 Black male, he is now charged and his life is potentially over. I hate having to tell my Black son that: “Baby, your dad is a cop and your mom is a lawyer, but you are still a Black male.” Oh, how I hate having to do this.
I hated seeing him forced to deal with students who he could not be himself with. I was able to have him in my class this year and I pushed him more than anyone. Many do not even realize that he always had the lowest grade. He shared a macro-aggression from one of his White male classmates: “Anthony what is your grade in the class?” He shared his passive response, but I could see and feel his irritation. He has to be passive because he is a Black male. If he were to say something to defend his irritation, he would have been found to be….a target for trouble.
I have seen it with other Black males in the classroom, in the world. I wish I could take away the target that he has on him (This makes me think of Todgi’s painting …check her out: http://www.theblackonion.com (Born Targets)), but no one can. Well, society could if they stop FU&….(I shouldn’t curse in this blog, because it might seem too aggressive…and although I have a right to be upset…we cannot be upset or feel hurt because…#ThisThingCalledLife…doesn’t allow Blacks to feel sorry for themselves and are still finding ways to penalize our Black males). But hell, I should be able to curse and be me, but then my blog and my attitude would be deemed as ….never mind because I know the truth; a person who cares so much about the fate of our Black males.
We sent Anthony to a juvenile detention center a couple of years ago to talk with the employees there. He was not in trouble. We just wanted him to be exposed to what could happen. I prepare him for talks with cops as he dad does too. He has witnessed several direct racial moments; to include being pulled over by cop… while Black…We have sent him to camps. We have sent him to complete community services. I have traveled with him to over 14 states, 14 countries, and although he has been exposed, I still fear…for…MY…16…YEAR…OLD…BLACK…ALMOST…6’2…SON.
We watched “When They See Us” together (Netflix documentary). I watched him as he watched the tv. I texted his dad while I watched him watch the tv. We had several conversations about the show. His dad had a conversation with him about the show. There is so much that I want to remind him. Like, I want to give him a cheat sheet…but…that cheat sheet will not work, because racism is…real. Those macro-aggressions that he deals with are hard for me to watch as a mom. Those White males and White females, or even students who might identify as one of the above do not have to deal with that in the in life. I had first hand experience this year seeing it. He was bullied, but it went unheard; however, if he would have laid his hands on someone…HE would have been….yeah…wrong.
I get on his nerves, I am certain. He hung out with friends and I had to remind him, “Baby, we live in Kentucky.” A few months ago in the town we are close-by, a Black woman was run off the road and it was found that it was racial (https://www.wave3.com/2019/04/10/fort-knox-leaders-stand-by-sergeant-charged-stabbing-our-soldier-was-attacked/). Covert racism is seen here. Too many are afraid to stand up for what is right because of fear of losing their jobs, so….my Black son has not really met too many strong Blacks here….I fear for him, but then I realize that he has a strong circle, although they do not live near us. He will be ok, because he knows that:
- If cops stops him, he just needs to obey.
- If he dates a White girl and decides to have sex with her and they are caught and she cries rape, he will be ok because his parents can help him.
- Being Black is an excuse.
All of those are bogus as hell…..I’m having a hard time even coming up with responses to that final statement, because there is NO truth to this. The United States that we live in condemns, and judges our young males, and fail to protect our BLACK sons. They take them from us. They place them in jails, create slaves out of them, and “if” they are returned, they come back broken, scared, and …no more good….
They take away their spirits. They make them feel as if they are dumb as hell. They make them feel that being “White is right.” They make our boys feel as if they cannot be themselves; wearing the clothes and hairstyles that they like. They cannot embrace their natural hairstyles and speak loud, or even walk around with headphones. They cannot be comfortable walking around with “du-rags” because of fear of those macro-aggressions. They have to conform…and when they do conform comments are made “Anthony is such a well-mannered, well-spoken young male and a good basket-ball player.” I prefer, “Anthony is an intelligent young man and I know that he will succeed at anything he puts his mind to.”
I keep all of the cards and letters that he gives to me, and I sit and re-read them all of the time. He knows how words are meaningful to me and sometimes he surprises me with random notes of love. He recently shared, “I’m happy you are my mom…” in a birthday letter he wrote to me. I actually shed tears because I am happy he is my son, but I just wish I had more power to protect him…I wish I had more power to protect my kind, considerate, humble young man in this racist world that fails to see this young man for who he is; he has a very good gpa, but is never treated with the respect that he deserves.
Anthony and I share our personal conversation about race, with hopes that other parents are continuously holding these conversations with their sons. We are also interested in other suggestions that could potential protect him. We are hopeful that those outside of our race will also take time to be culturally aware….
PART I: Meet Anthony: In my opinion, my son is silly, loving, and full of positivity.
Mom: Without using a racial adjective, who are you?
Anthony: I would describe myself as an outgoing, intelligent, and open person in my opinion. I am not afraid to journey, but I feel like I am more courageous and I see how to handle situations now.
Mom: What positive images do you see in the Black males that we have placed in your life?
Anthony: I have had the opportunity to see Black males succeed. I have seen them do incredible and admirable things; like create companies as well as helping those in the lower-socio-economic communities where they have come from.
I have seen multiple stories that have taught me to be mindful of being a Black male. I have even read The Sport of the Gods, To Kill a Mockingbird, and cases such as T. Martin to show me the detriments of being a Black male. I have also watched the recent documentary of the Central Park Five and mom and dad has shown me other cases to help me understand challenges.
Stay tuned for Part 2….