This morning my heart is heavy and I find myself overcome with emotions as another black man was killed because of the color of his skin. The secondary trauma that comes with getting this kind of news is difficult to explain but you literally go through the cycles of grief in a matter of hours. From disbelief, to anger and sadness but acceptance… this one is increasingly difficult for me each time this happens.
I keep asking myself how can we stop this from happening? How can we help government officials and police officers see the values in black lives. The sad truth is that in not sure that we can. Most of them grew up in a time where racism was the norm and those habits won’t die until they do.
However, I do believe we can help future generations understand that black and brown lives do indeed matter… and that’s what lead me to you. With a broken heart and eyes filled with tears, I’m asking you to please:
Unfortunately, the new racism is denying that racism exist. If you don’t think that you should talk to your children about racism, then you are part of the problem. I know, I know… they’re just children and you can’t fathom discussing such a heavy topic with them but future lives depend on it.
Yes, it will be a tough conversation but it’s one that needs to happen. If you it gives you anxiety to think about telling your children that they should never mistreat or harm someone because of the color of your skin, just pause for a moment…. Imagine how I feel telling my children that one day someone WILL mistreat them because of the color of skin. For my oldest, someone already has. It’s a heartbreaking experience, it literally destroys the innocence of childhood but that is our reality. Teach them that it is not okay.
The truth of the matter is that racism is learned behavior. Have you ever seen how a group of children just play and love on one another? That’s because all they know is love; racist individuals are children who became tainted along the way.
Make sure you aren’t speaking negatively about other races, treating people poorly in front of them or watching/listening to things that support mistreating minorities. Use kind words when you are speaking of how others may be/look different from you, help them understand that someone being different is not a bad thing.
Make black friends and invite them and their children into your home. While there treat them with the same kindness and respect that you white counterparts and their children. Use the same flat wear, don’t hide valuables ,etc …your children see you and will take notes.
We can all put on a mask at school event or during play dates but all of those layers are peeled away when we are at home. At lot of people tend to think that using racial slurs and making negative statements at home are okay because “no one” will find out about it, but its NEVER okay. There should be zero comfort in doing so, not even in the privacy of your own home.
They need to see that you can interact with people of color on a personal level, they need to see that black people existing among them is NORMAL. This will help them to see black children as their peers and help them embrace their differences instead of poking fun at them.
As mothers we are the same. My children are my world and I’d move heaven and earth for them or die trying… and I’m sure you share that sentiment. My boys have an adorable innocence about them no, so it’s probably hard for you to look at their pictures and think that anyone could hate them. The truth is everyone loves them everywhere we go… but these cute little black boys will grow up. These sweet faces will mature and they will become young black men. My greatest fear is sending them out into a world that will judge them on their appearance instead of their character.
To know my boys is to know how respectful, kind, and intelligent they are. That won’t suddenly change but the way the world sees them will. This is why I need your help. I can’t change the minds and hearts of current gov’t officials, state leaders and law enforcement who mistreat young men of color everyday and then turn a blind eye. However, the change can and should start with our children because they are indeed our future.
It’s not enough to say that you don’t see color because that’s actually the opposite of what you should be doing. See color. See different traditions. See different hair types and treat them with the respect that every human deserves.
I know this may seem like a great deal of responsibility but we don’t have to change our world, we just have to start at home. From this mothers heart to yours! 🖤