Here’s what media isn’t saying about black and brown boys.
Suit and Tie in the 217
I’m mad as hell about the treatment of black and brown children in this country and I’m not gonna take it anymore. And just what am I planning to do? …Lie down!
I am angry. Not because I’m black and woman. I’m angry because my son is three and sometimes I walk outside feeling like he has a bullseye on his back. On the bad days, it feels like it could be smack in the center of his forehead.
My son should be enjoying his childhood but instead, on top of teaching him about stranger danger, I have to covertly educate him about “the ways of this world”.
If you’ve met my son you know he’s no ordinary child, and that’s no accident. Though everything is a game (for now) my son understands things like self-defense, kill zones (deadly pressure points) and emergency evacuation procedure.
And I’m angry. Angry because too many young people of color are losing their innocence, and nearly as many seem to be losing their lives nowadays. Angry because these topics (coded in play or not) shouldn’t even be on the table…at least not yet.
And I’ll be the last one to tell you I’m shocked and appalled because, after all, “we live in a post-racist society where America has a Black president.” Um, no.
We have a long way to go before we truly achieve any sense of reasonable race relations in this country, abd I know that. But…he’s three!
My son should be free to enjoy his childhood without the cloud of negativity that looms over it. He doesn’t know it now, but in the future he’ll understand what mommy was teaching him and realize that all his fun and games weren’t fun and games at all, but I pray he’ll thank God for them, and that he’ll have an early era NAACP response to their role in his life, “It’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.”
Fact: my son is an emerging black man in America. An intelligent, already highly educated emerging black man. Fact: I only know two black men without a record and who’ve never had issues with the law. While I know others without records, I don’t know any more who’ve never had legal issues. And I know dozens who have records. Even my son’s father had a record.
Fact: His father is not in the home (or in his life).
Fact: Statistically, that makes my son 3x more likely to break the law, land in jail or worse before he turns 18.
Fact: I don’t think so! The hell you say!
Even if I take my last breath, it’s not going down like that over here. And it’s not because of me.
I serve a God who’s done awesome, wonderful and amazing things. I serve a God who’s able to do above and beyond what I might think or ask.
I serve a God who’s “’bout that life.” He’s as present in the streets of Ferguson as the streets of Marina del Rey.
But I’m poised, I’m angry. I’m livid to think that my ancestors sweated, bled and died to make this country what it is without credit, only to have their 21st century progenies gunned down unarmed (much like they were all those years ago). Fifty and sixty years after Civil Rights, and we’re back to fighting for our inalienable right to “life”?!
When did we revert back to liberty and justice for all who look like those who signed the document back in 1776?
I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take out anymore. I won’t stand for it any longer. So I’m lying down.
I’m lying prostrate on my face before God to get my heart right before anything else. Unrestrained, unchanneled anger will solve nothing – believe me I know first-hand.
Unbridled anger is destructive and counterproductive. I have to channel my anger through positive, constructive channels if I’m going to get anything done. I’m going to have to listen to my heart box (once it’s calmed down a little) and follow its direction.
Then, I’m going to be loud…or quiet (again, that heart box is in charge), but I won’t be silent. Whether it’s a whisper campaign or shouting from the rooftops, I don’t know yet.
But I do know me, I know what I’m good at – what I’m created for. I’ll have to say something; do something; encourage someone.
I’ll have to poke, pry, prod, excavate and inform. I’ll have to get others looking at things differently…then doing things differently. I have to and I will.
I’ll Have to remind people that it’s my boots today, but it could be yours tomorrow. Today out might be the kid with the nasty pants in the ghetto, but tomorrow it could be the kid wearing the emo pants and touting a skateboard. Don’t think you or your children are safe because it’s not you….yet. Because the targets don’t look like you…yet. Or it’s not your neighborhood…yet.
I believe Shakespeare said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If we don’t check ourselves and then check our surroundings, those who’ve been permitted to get away with it will grow bolder and more brash. What we felt was brutal before will look tame. It’s time to get started, but first…
I need to lay down on the job and prepare myself for this war. Here’s hoping you’ll join me, and land on your face.