My black son turned 10

My oldest boy turned 10 this month. If you know him, you’ve probably told me or noticed how handsome he is…how kind, how smart, what a leader he’s becoming. You’ve noticed how much he’s grown and how much older he’s beginning to look. I smile, but my anxiety grows. He is all those things. But his feet are bigger than mine and he’ll be taller than I am in 2 or 3 years. He is silly, and oblivious and naive. He plays basketball and wears hoodies and plays with darts guns. He looks guilty when he hasn’t done anything wrong and mumbles when he’s nervous and he’s often foolish…because he’s 10. And as he grows, and you ask me if my boy can come to your house and play, I’ll pause for a good long while before answering. I’ll be wondering where you live, and if there are boys that look like mine living in your neighborhood. I’ll wonder how likely it is that your neighbors are armed. I’ll wonder if there will be girls in the house and if they’ll pull on my boys arms and refuse to stop when he asks them too. I’ll imagine a hundred scenarios and wonder if I’ve prepared my boy for them…if he’s ready. I’ll think about you…and wonder how naive you are, and if you call yourself “colorblind” and if you believe “good guys always finish first”. I’ll have a hundred wonders before I answer you. I’ll loathe this process. I’ll hate that I can’t reply with a chipper “Totally!” Sometimes I’ll say yes, and sometimes I won’t. I won’t likely be able to communicate the logic…sometime it won’t be logic, but just a deep unsettled feeling that I can’t shake. It will break my heart to see my boy confused about why he’s missing out sometimes so I’ll invite your children to my house, where the neighbors and the police officers know my boy. You need to know that while you see my kind, gentle boy, the rest of the world will soon perceive him as a man…long, long before he is one and long before yours will be. So if you continue to look away, you are not loving my boy that you tell me you so admire. You are not protecting him. You do not value his life. I need you to know this. I need you to hear me. I need you to wake up. ‪#‎mytruth‬ ‪#‎donotlookaway‬ ‪#‎tamirrice‬

Sabrine Rhodes

 

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