Life Motherhood

Raising Black Boys in America

Raising Black Boys

Interrupting the regularly scheduled programming to get real. It seems weird that just yesterday I was posting about things like salad and today I’m struggling to find the words to express how it feels to be a black person, a black mother, with black sons, in America. I almost didn’t write this. Seemed out of place in a space where I’m dedicated to inspiring but, this place is also one to share my story. And this is part of it. This is part of my reality and others who look like me. So here we are. What a difference a day can make.

Just a couple days ago we were “celebrating” Independence Day. A day that I’ve been celebrating my whole life without much thought but in recent years, in recent “wokeness”, the day has lost what little significance it had on me. Today, the truth that we weren’t free on July 4, 1776 and we aren’t free now, isn’t just a thought provoking tweet, it’s the cold, hard truth.

As children, and especially black children that are now black millenial adults, we grew up in a time where, for lack of better words, black people were sleep. We were the children of post civil rights era kids. Black people on a whole were gaining more access to spaces and places and the word “progress” was like a real thing that people believed. As toddlers we had no knowledge of tragic attacks on our communities like the MOVE bombing in Philly. As  school-age kids we experienced from afar with little/no understanding, through the same lens I suppose my boys have today, uprisings like the Rodney King riots. By time we were preteens and teens unless you were raised in a conscious black household, “equality” was this imaginary idea that seemed pretty legit. By our young adult years, we even had a black president.

All of this led to a period of time in the black community, speaking from my own experience, where we were comfortably sleeping, resting in our “progress”. I can’t say when it happened for sure, but for me, in 2012 my place, my reality got real clear. That year my husband and I marched with our black babies wearing hoodies, eating skittles, reluctantly waking from our slumber #trayvonmartin. In 2014, I scrolled my Twitter timeline in horror as I saw the lifeless body of a black teenager on the ground for hours #mikebrown. And shortly thereafter, watching in terror the murder of a black boy, just a year older than my son is now, by police #tamirrice. In 2015, it became clear that not only were my black husband, black father, and black sons targets in this country, but myself, a black woman as well #sandrabland. And in 2016, I saw the horrific video of a black father’s execution play in a neverending loop on social media #altonsterling.

With each of these hashtags (and the countless others between them #ericgarner #freddiegray #rekiaboyd #oscargrant the list goes on) I grow more and more terrified. Not for myself, although, #natashamckenna. But, for my black sons. For my black husband. For my black sons who need their black father. I look at my boys and to me, I see nothing but greatness. My oldest with the kindest spirit I have ever encountered. My middle son who has plans to change this world. My youngest full of vibrance and shine. I look at my husband and see a role model. A stark contrast to the images the media loves to portray regarding black fathers. I see promise, I see potential…I see black skin, which I know means they see a target, and that shakes me to my core.

When I dreamt of having children, and even as I embarked on this journey of motherhood, I knew challenges would await me. However, nothing could have prepared me for this. Raising black boys in a country where the very people who are tasked to protect them, see them as nothing. People who have no regard for black lives, black children, black men, or black women but have the authority and power to take those very same lives. Usually without any regard or consequence.

To put it in simpler terms the message you’re sending here America is that it’s okay, black lives don’t matter, to you…

You can’t prepare for that. You can’t handle that on a daily basis. But yet, that’s my reality. I wish I had the answers. Some comforting words. Some plan of action. I don’t. I just have my prayers. From my lips to His ears. For my black sons and yours. Their black fathers and our black husbands. #BLACKLIVESMATTER.

With blessings and love. ~ xoxo

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    James McFarland
    July 26, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Who would have thought that the tiny, shy, quiet little girl of mine would have grown up and turned into to this strong, black, passionate, articulate soulful, powerful woman. I always joke about how I had no brothers, just sisters, no sons, JUST daughters. Make no mistake, now I know, there is NO WAY any son could have made me more proud of my baby girl.

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