My son is the center of my world. He is the very air I breathe. He is funny. He is intelligent. He is a phenomenal athlete. He is Black.
From the day I found out I was pregnant, I knew I was having a boy. I knew exactly what he would look like. I knew his skin tone would be right in the middle of his dad’s and mine. I knew his eyes would be the same shade of brown as mine. I knew he would have my hair color. I knew he would have his dad’s build and athletic ability. All those things are exactly as I pictured them. I was overjoyed to be pregnant and even more excited to be having a boy. There is however, a paralyzing fear that common place in the Black community. My son is a potential target both inside and outside of this community.
Racism is a mainstay in the United States. The atrocities of slavery will forever be a symbol of one of the ugliest characteristics of this country. Slavery existed for 245 years in this place. Even after it was abolished, the Black man was a moving target. He continues to be a target today. They are stereotyped as thugs and gangsters if they are the common man with dreadlocks and tattoos. They are automatically suspected of stealing on any given day, in any store in this country. My son and a few of his friends experienced this more than once in the city we moved from last year. People like to pretend it doesn’t exist but it does. Believe that. My son cut his dreadlocks because he wanted a different look and was absolutely amazed at how he was treated differently under some circumstances. He was the same dude but without the dreadlocks, and magically, a few more doors opened for him.
Unfortunately, there have been far too many stories about Black men dying at the hands of law enforcement recently. My child drives from Arkansas, where he is in college, to Louisiana to visit me and he also drives to the Dallas area to visit his daughter and his father. In addition to the normal parental fear of him driving and possibly having an accident, I am terrified of what could happen if he is stopped by the wrong cop. We utilize Apple’s “Send My Current Location” every time he is on the road.
The fear doesn’t stop with what could happen to him outside of the Black community. I’m just as fearful of what could happen to him in our own “backyard”. Black-on-Black crime is at a ridiculous high. There seems to be so little respect for human life. Black men are shooting each other every single day over stupid things like sneakers. They’re shot for “snitching”. Stupid, stupid things.
My consolation? Prayer. I know God will shield and protect my son, as well as my nephews, my cousins, and the sons of my friends and family. I have no choice but to believe His world. Although my faith tells me that He has this thing, I am not naive enough to know that things can and do happen. The prayer that I insist that my son says every single day is that God will act on his part to block any snares, to move the enemy and to protect him from dangers seen and unseen.