I have lots to share from events this past week and this week, but I’m going to start with this:
This week I’ve hugged, kissed, cuddled, and nurtured my son more than in past weeks. I’m feeling ultra protective. Now that I am a mom I understand that need/desire to protect your child from all harm in whatever way it takes to do so. My heart feels so heavy and broken for Trayvon Martin’s family. I’ve been watching and listening to all the news about this incident and I’m trying to maintain a sense of calm and sanity. But as a mother of black boy in America it is difficult to not have all kinds of irrational thoughts and feelings.
I grew up in a diverse household (Black, White, Latino) and neighborhood. My parents (a mixed race couple) never mentioned race relations and when I encountered a situation that seemed rift with any kind of ism (race, sex, etc.) we talked about it. But prejudice, discrimination, oppression were not part of my vocabulary until I went off to college. I was pretty sheltered and naïve. In college I learned what it meant to be a minority in America. Students of African descent made up almost 3% of the population at UCSB. It was possible that I could be the only face of color in a lecture hall of 300. I didn’t think twice about it. Then there was this incident that I will never forget. The short version: a good friend (African American) got into a fight with a Caucasian boy at a club and my friend ended up in jail. It was probably the 1st time in my life that “being black in America” really hit me. After that my awareness was up and I noticed many things that I may not have noticed before.
Living in Atlanta I felt comforted by the number of people of color and especially the number of people of color in positions of authority and power. AND living in Atlanta I also got to see lots of racism and prejudice – after all it is the south and despite growth, population change, etc., etc., etc. there’s still plenty of racial tension
So now I’m a mom of a boy of African descent. I’m a worrier by nature although I’ve tried to quell my worrisome thoughts – they just interfere with reality. But the shooting of Trayvon Martin has me in worry-mode again. I can’t for the life of me begin to understand how an individual can shoot another one and not be arrested. I’m not a lawyer nor do I pretend to understand the intricacies of laws in different states, etc. But it just seems to be that murder is murder and requires some action.
I feel helpless, somewhat hopeless, scared for the future my son will live, worried that I cannot truly protect him from harm, and angry that authorities are slow to act. As a social worker and educator I teach justice, in my own life try to live a just life and create that type of world, but incidents like this leave me often speechless and wondering if what I (we) do is making a difference. If it were your child who had been shot by a man as he walked home from the store, would you not want someone to take action?All moms have these thoughts I’m sure, but only moms of black boys need worry that a white vigilante will shoot her son because….why?…