As a mother, one of your main responsibilities is to protect your children at all costs. You teach your children manners, the difference between right and wrong, and how to be respectful of others. What do you do when the color of your child’s skin puts them in harm’s way? With the senseless shootings, violence and general racist sentiments ramping up I’m forced to confront a deep seated fear, that my child could be harmed. It will not matter that he comes from a respectable family, that he’s well mannered, Christian or any of the other self-ascriptions that I give him. He’ll simply be seen as black and dangerous.
He’s above average in height, one could describe him as a man child already at the age of 6. He’s extremely goofy. He believes that farts and belches are funny, loves super heroes and is mischievous like a normal 6 year old. He holds my hands when we cross the street and kisses me goodnight. He has no understanding of violent culture.
If people are cursing or fighting he says, “OOOOh Mommy, they said a bad word.” He’s focused on trying not to lie because he’s been taught that God does not like lying. He knows stealing is bad and that you should always ask first and say thank you. He also knows that people should keep their hands to themselves. But what happens if my child is somewhere and someone is threatened because he looks bigger and older than he really is? Add to that being black and you have a dangerous mix brewing that will eventually lead to horrible consequences for someone.
I watched the video of the pool party in Texas where the police were cursing and swearing at the black kids, “Get your asses’ home.” but the white kids were told “Get your butts home.” Now this may not seem like a big deal, but if you respect a population then you’ll treat them with a modicum of decency. This was definitely not the case in the interaction with the black kids. When the young girl is thrown to the ground and made to lay on her face while she’s in a bikini with the officer’s knees in her back, my blood boiled. What if that was my child? Where was the adult supervision? Who’s advocating for these children?
That’s my big concern in relation to this incident like so many others that we see and hear about on a daily basis. If my kid is at your house then there should be supervision. Even in the supposed gated communities stuff still happens. Remember, Trayvon Martin. An adult should’ve made sure that the kids stayed contained in a specific area. From the video, it looked like there was a lot of chaos. I’m not sure how much adult control was directed, but I do know that as a parent it is my job to protect my children as well as, any guests that may be over for a visit. Long gone are the days when a child can be dismissed to walk home alone, in some places that’s considered child neglect.
A Fla. Couple was investigated for allowing their teenage son to stay at home by himself because he was locked out. He had access to water, played basketball in his own yard, but the authorities were summoned because the young man was outside playing alone for 90 minutes. It’s absurd. What’s even more disturbing is the trend of free range parents, where children are allowed to roam to parks, playgrounds, etc. without supervision.
Each and every parent has the right to decide how to parent. But unfortunately for parents of black children our rights are limited because of the stereotypes associated with our children. I don’t have the luxury to be a free range parent. I have to know where he is and who he’s with all the time. I have to instruct my sons on behavior that although is normal for everyone, the same behavior will get them killed, wearing a hoodie, running with a group of kids or being in a car with three other boys. It saddens me that the simple joys of being silly and goofy have to be measured by surroundings and attitudes. My sons are my joy and life. No one has the right to harm them, but I have to prepare them for the day when something might happen. Although this saddens me—it is necessary so that he can survive.