I Am Scared

I’m scared. That’s right, I said it. I’m scared that my little boy will one day be a victim for just being black.  Being a parent is hard enough, but honestly, being a parent to a black boy is terrifying. My son is only four years old, and I already get chills when I think of my son growing up and becoming independent. One day, he will ask to borrow my car to meet friends at the mall or run an errand. That scares me. I think of the possibility that he will not come back because he looked at someone wrong, or fits the description of a wanted man simply because he’s black. Again, my son is only four, and this is the shit that keeps me up at night.

As I type this, I can’t help but cry for Trayvon Martin’s mother who has to live in eternal hell because her son was stolen from her for being black.  Last week was the 50th “anniversary” of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King; I can’t help but shake my head in disappointment because here we are 50 years later and we are STILL being gunned down, viewed as animals in cages, and still walking around with targets on our backs. As a mother, I walk around with that burden every day. I. AM. SCARED.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. King’s daughter, Dr. Bernice King, speak to an arena full of high school students at the InspireNOLA Rally for Excellence. She was powerful! As she spoke, I looked around the room at the students. They held on to her every word. She was relatable; they felt safe. Her life is some of those kids’ current reality. Her father was murdered when she was only five, a year later her uncle Alfred drowned in a pool, and six short years later her grandmother was killed by a mentally ill man while she sat in church.  Bernice spoke their language. I can only imagine how people felt when they were in the room with Dr. King. At one point she asked the room full of students if anyone has seen anyone get shot or lost a loved one from gun violence? If so, please stand up. The whole arena stood up. 

This is why we had people like Dr. King fighting for us. He was a symbol of hope. He showed us that yes it’s bad now, but it will get better, but has it? As I sat listening to Dr. Bernice King preach to these young kids, I was lost with emotion because this is our reality 50 years later. We are still preaching, teaching, and telling our black children they are good enough.  We have to constantly tell them that they are smart and teach them how they can change the narrative. Even with great examples like Dr. Martin Luther King, President Obama, Maya Angelou…hell Oprah, our kids have been programmed by society to think of themselves as less than.

So as I sat there listening to her tell these children how they are change agents, I couldn’t help think about my little boy and how one day he will be sitting in a room listening to someone tell him something I tell him every day. How despite the color of his skin, he is smart, inquisitive, creative. How he can be the next president one day. I look forward to the day when I. Am. NOT. Scared!

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