You jump on Facebook and what do you see? Another name with a hashtag in front of it. As I write this two more names have been added to an already too long list within five days. Clearly there is a problem. I am not anti-cop, anti-American or anti-military. As a matter of fact I have police officers and servicemen in my immediate family. I have seen their sacrifice and I know their hearts. I believe firmly that most cops that are well trained, take pride in their occupation and are very very good and even heroic people. I am none of the things that I hear people mention as arguments when minorities take a stand on racism. What I am is a mom. A mom of three two boys and a girl. I’m a mother who loves my children and cherishes their innocent beautiful lives for the priceless treasures they are.
I would love to skate around the topic and look the other way or excuse it as just another sad situation, but I cannot. You see I don’t have that luxury. The news stories I see of young boys (young black boys in particular) being shot in parks and on playgrounds for having toy guns or the like disturbs me. I am afraid to send my 13-year-old to the local park with friends by himself. And it’s not gang violence or drug activity in the park I’m afraid of (these would be normal fears.). It is the fear that something else will happen. He may be mistaken for someone else or perceived at the tender age of 13 as being non-compliant. Now my child is not particularly combative (I mean he’s a teenager). He like anyone else could be caught up in an escalated situation. This terrifies me. I actually cry. I have gained a few more gray hairs. There is this fear that he is being deprived of normal childhood activities because of this horrible climate in our country.
I am not an expert on racism just because I am black, but please believe I have experienced it because of my skin color. Growing up I remember fearing for my brother’s life because of police. We had healthy fear of crime, gangs, drugs absolutely; but to fear the very people we were taught to trust?
I see people say it’s not the events that have changed it’s the video that is present. I can’t tell you if that is true or not. All I know is as moms we have enough to worry about in the world when it comes to our children to not add this. If I seem angry, I’ll admit sometimes I am. I wasn’t raised in a family where race was an issue. We accept and love all people. This topic is way out of our comfort zone, but I can’t ignore the impact it is having on me and my kids.
The men that we have seen in the media that have been shot and killed in these situations are from all walks of life. They each responded in different ways. What they all have in common is that they are black and now dead after being involved in a police situation. We cannot keep leaning on just our own ideals and expect any change to happen. When I address these issues in the company of my white counterparts, I am often met with anti-police accusations or defensive attitudes. I would love for my friends to see this situation from my point of view — to attempt to at least understand that our realities could be very different. That this is a serious problem for me and my family and that it has to stop! I send my sons out into the world hoping that all people will see them as people and not just as black boys. As I send them out into the world, the fear of whether they’ll be next, is very real.