These are my boys. No one knows their hearts, unless they know them. Without having ever met them, they are just two boys. Maybe just two, BLACK boys to some.
At any given time, you may catch my oldest listening to the latest rap song and accompanying it with a trendy dance that "everybody is doing". He will probably be wearing sneakers that cost a ridiculous amount, a hooded sweatshirt (R.I.P. Trayvon Martin) and jeans pulled, get this, ALL the way up on his backside...all while scrolling his fingers against the screen of his iPhone. He will easily fall under a category that identifies him as someone to watch, keep an eye on, maybe even target. Even though he look parallels those of different races (and his peers), he is viewed as a threat...because someone's mama didn't teach them better than that (Destiny's Child voice).
It saddens me that no one would ever know that the he has never NOT been on honor roll, is an avid reader and loves playing basketball. I bet you wouldn't know that he used to love soccer (and was good at it), but loss the desire to play after several racially-charged incidents crippled his confidence.
He just didn't fit the mold.
He was too aggressive (so says the numerous penalty scards only he received).
He was always competitive.
He. Was. Black.
To me, he is the future.
Raised by both of his parents.
Surrounded by a great foundation of family support.
Driven by a vivid imagination.
Laced with quick wit.
Loud with a quiet confidence.
And while this comparison to Mike Brown's case (or the other hundreds occurring each day) is a bit of a reach, the message in right in front of our faces: there is a value system in this country, placed on a person based on their appearance. We are suppose to teach our children to love one another, despite the visible differences that we may have.
The beauty in diversity is just that – beautiful!
I am in no way disregarding the fact that there are PEOPLE (not a particular race) that destroy the perception we have of a group because of their actions. PEOPLE break the law. PEOPLE are unruly. PEOPLE disrespect authority. RACE should take a backseat when it comes to the destruction of ANY aspect of life.
And yes, experience is the greatest factor in determining how we relate and react. However, we are all in control of our actions and how we choose to respond. Choice is a freedom. Use it wisely (as in, don't shoot now because someone LOOKS suspicious, then ask questions).
I feel a bit of selfishness for bringing another child into this world. It's almost like I wrapped up a box of trash, in the prettiest paper and presented it to him as the world we live in. "Here, son. It looks like the best gift ever. However, you're gonna have to make the best of out the ugly that you're going face. Good luck." It's true that we are afforded several liberties and freedoms that most will never experience in their lifetime...but at what cost?!
We talk to our oldest son about race all the time. He has to know that while his life means everything to us, it means little to others. "If you ever encounter a police officer, be yourself...just a little bit, depending on the situation." I tear up just thinking about this reality.
Forget teaching your child(ren) those fancy S.A.T. words. There is one word that every PERSON should know, learn and figure out what side of it that they are on. It's called, "privilege"...and not everyone has it, realizes its power or owns up to the idea that their precious life is protected by it.
And for the love of God, please stop saying, "This isn't about race!" Every f'in thing is about race in the "land of the free".
Ask the President (whose speech I could have done without last night...stale, blah, by the book, no heart...repeat).
Ask that tiny box you check on an application.
Read a got damn history book (well, the two pages that are devoted to us).
Watch the news (or as I call it, "what negative story can be reported in place of the excellence that is taking place").
Be a fly on the wall (or hell, read a social wall) of your "Facebook Friend" as they sit around and offer advice on how a situation should be handled.
Some of you aren't even aware that you will never understand this topic. You are usually the ones who speak the loudest and has a bestfriend that is black. It's okay for you to go off when someone messes up your latte at Starbucks, your child isn't chosen as the lead for the school play or your luggage is lost during your fifth vacation in one year. But let a town riot over the mistreatment and unjust conditions blanketing their everyday lives. Oh, hell no! Not those "animals" GTFOH!
Violence is not the answer. However, it seems to be thee ONLY answer particular officers of the law have for questions they never bothered to ask.
These are my boys. No one knows their hearts, unless they know them. Without having ever met them, they are just two boys. Maybe just two, BLACK boys to some. That is terrifying.
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