I know this is supposed to be a blog about weight loss, life, the new “me”, etc. But, it’s also about parenting. Parenting of two teenaged boys. And right now, with the events of the past few days, that’s something that’s been weighing heavily on my mind. I needed to get my thoughts out, so here it goes.
What if one of my boys had been shot and killed on the street while coming home from the store after buying an iced tea and a pack of Skittles? What if something about one of my boys caused someone to be afraid of them or see them as a risk? What if my son laid cold in the ground, while the man who did it got off free and was actually given back the weapon used to gun down my son? What if my son had been born black in America?
I have read a few posts lately by African-American mothers and fathers and they tear a knife in my chest. They write about how scared they are for their sons after the Trayvon Martin verdict. They worry about them going merely out the door to the neighborhood store. Yes, I know. Things happen every day. Bad things. Murder, rape, etc. I know Trayvon’s face is only one face in the sea of beautiful faces lost too soon by acts of violence. But, when….WHEN…do we say enough is enough? I sit and I look at my boys and I wonder how would I feel, if I was an African-American mom and my sons were held in less regards than someone else’s merely because of the color of their skin. My eldest is 6 foot 9 with bright red hair. What if someone saw his size as a threat? What if his red hair was still considered the sign of the Devil. What if my youngest’s speech problem was deemed a threat to someone who couldn’t understand what he was saying? I realize how hyperbolic these statements are, but why should something as meaningless as a person’s skin color be an issue? It’s so sad to me as a mom in 2013 that I have to raise my sons in a time where it is even a thought. I was hoping, when I was a kid, that by the time the next generation came along, it wouldn’t even be an issue. But, lately it seems to be getting worse. I thought it got a bit better with the election of Barack Obama, but that only seems to have opened a new, acceptable type of racism…one that is blanketed in something that looks far less sinister than the outright racism of previous generations.
It infuriates me that people rush to the side of some outright racist like Paula Deen and say how she was targeted unfairly, but say nothing in defense of a young black teenager who was gunned down by a vigilante. I cannot believe the lack of outrage over, not the verdict, but the laws that ALLOW this verdict to happen. People get more outraged over football scandals and who is being traded to another team. I weep for my country, as I weep for Trayvon Martin and his family. Where is the America I love? And if this is the “New American” way. I want no part of it. And don’t even begin to tell me, if I don’t like it, leave. I HATE that comment. No, you leave. I love my country and I want it to be the great nation it is claimed to be. But, this isn’t it. I want to stay and fight to make it better for my grandchildren and their grandchildren.
So, I don’t worry if my son goes out in a hoodie or asks to walk to the store to grab some candy. But, what if I had to? I saw a cartoon of a mom hugging her hoodie wearing son and the son says “What’s wrong, Mom, I’m only going to the store.” It made me cry. I worry about my sons, like all moms do. I worry about bullying, teen driving, going off the college, their safety, etc. But, I don’t worry about them simply being white. What if I had to?