As an interracial family in South Louisiana, I know and have experienced things that some people are shocked to hear. Stares at restaurants, ignorant questions about where my children came from, and women grabbing their purse a little closer when my husband walks by. These are all things that hurt me a little. Lately, I have been getting comments when discussing issues regarding social justice that hurt me a whole lot more.
I do my very best to be the “other” voice when I am having conversations that start with “Well they …” or “In that area of town, you should expect crime.” I know that I have a unique perspective on things that others don’t, and sometimes I may say things to others that may not be received the same way if I was in a different situation, so here are some things I want you to know.
I know my children are beautiful. I get it, they are – I mean who wouldn’t want their kids to be as cute as these two, but they will grow into adults. A strong, loving and kind young black man and a strong, loving and kind black woman who will be interviewing for jobs, applying for college, and one day marrying a spouse. My job as a mom of black children, is to do my best to create a world where people are loved and celebrated for who they are. Love my children for their brains, their caring hearts and their fantastic hugs. They are more than their gorgeous skin tone and pretty curls.
I want you to know that saying things about my son such as Micah is such a well-educated boy, this will never happen to him. No, you are lying. You see, you know my child and have a relationship with him, therefore, he looks a certain way in your eyes. When he is walking home from his bus stop with his earphones in listening to his favorite song, that man standing there at the end of his drive way – he thinks he is a thug. The issue is not that my son is walking a certain way or listening to music. The issue is that man over there is afraid to build a relationship with my son and assumes Micah is out to hurt him. So yes, it COULD happen to Micah. My job as a mom of a black man is to build relationships with people and tell the stories so that maybe the next time you see an injustice happen, you will speak out.
I truly believe the only way we can move forward from the racial tension that is currently running rampant in our country is to listen and process. Know that your experiences are different than mine. I want to listen to your experiences. I do NOT; however, want to hear things you THINK happen to other people, but I want to know about YOU. How does this make you feel? From there, my hope is that you will listen to me. My perspective is as different as is yours – the only way we can move forward is by listening to each other. Reach out, let’s get coffee and talk. Real life talk, not behind a computer – I think we can all grow stronger together.