Another outbreak of race-related violence has struck our country and all that I can think is, “Is this where my kids are going to grow up?” But, I have one simple luxury that lots of moms do not have – my kids are white… as the driven snow.
My sons won’t be pulled over for no reason, shot at for absurd reasons, or treated like “thugs” simply for walking through a store. My sons won’t deal with what a lot of Black men have to go through.
And, that makes me think about all of the African American mamas out there. You send your boys into the store, loan them your car to head to the movies, or give them some money to buy Skittles at the gas station… and, you have to stop and think – What if they don’t come back?
You have to teach them to be upstanding and kind, but also wary and cautious. You have to help them muddle through the stereotypes and hatred that this country will throw at them.
You go to bed each night, just like me, hoping that you have done enough, been enough and talked to them enough. You worry, you lay awake wondering what will become of them. You have every mama bear feeling that I do. You love your children.
But, you can’t trust that they are safe when they walk out into the world. You can’t know what evil lurks just around the corner. Motherhood is hard enough without having to equip your kids with the tools to be safe in a world that may want to hurt them, or kill them.
And, I don’t even know how to express to you how sorry I am that you have to face this evil alongside your sons, nephews, husbands and neighbors. I cannot and will not apologize for the white race, or cops, because I am not a representative of either. But, I’m sorry (beyond sorry – the word “sorry” seems to trivialize it) that these things keep happening and I wish I knew of a solution.
But, I will say this:
Your children are beautiful and special. They are every bit as valuable as my children. And, when and where I can, I will help you to protect them. If I see them being mistreated, or hear hate speech, I promise I will say something. When your sons do well, I will celebrate their victories, as well. When your boys become men, I will look them straight in the eye – every single time. I will never cross the street to avoid them. I will not lock my doors when they walk by my car. You will never see me giving your men dirty looks, or uncomfortable glances.
I may not have a solution but I promise NEVER to be a part of the problem… and I promise to teach my sons to respect and value their neighbors and peers, friends and associates – regardless of their color.
It’s a small promise from one person. I know it won’t change the world. But, I want you to know that mothers everywhere feel your pain and empathize with your fear. You are not alone. You are one of us. And, your babies are important.