A Moment of Transparency: This Black Mother’s Perspective on Motherhood in America.
To date, I have not watched the recordings of either the Amaud Arbery or George Floyd murders, and in the spirit of being totally honest I do not have any plans to do so. Not because I do not care or I am not angry, but solely because I am afraid of simply becoming desensitized to the cultural climate that surrounds me. This morning my son woke up at the crack of dawn and climbed into my bed. Instead of walking him back to his room as I normally do, I held him in my arms perhaps tighter than usual which prompted him to turn to me and ask, “Mom you okay?”. Of course I said yes because my emotions are not his burden to bear. However, just like he sensed, I was not okay. What I feel is a myriad of unpleasant emotions that I should not be experiencing during such a precious time in my child’s upbringing.
The day will come where I will no longer be able to protect my son from the monsters, nightmares, and wounds he will face as they will come in a somewhat unfamiliar and less predictable form...a form that at times I feel ill-equipped to adequately explain or even prepare him to handle on his own. This for me is a hard pill to swallow. Think about it, how do you explain to a child that there are people in this world who will hate you because you are black, and that hate may prompt them to deny you one of your basic human rights, life. How do I further explain that the justice system we were taught to believe in, or the local law enforcement that was designed to serve and protect may not always do so because of the color of your skin. Essentially, how do I have a conversation with my child that makes sense contextually but simultaneously strips him of his innocence and makes it seem like it is okay.
I am the mother of a little black boy in America. A little black boy who is a ball of energy, a social butterfly, and who has a heart filled with
love and a smile that is guaranteed to make your darkest days bright. Sadly, someday, those things will not matter. As his parents, his father and I are responsible for conveying that information to him and because of that I am not okay. I am however, terrified, anxious, perturbed, concerned, apprehensive, irritated, overly cautious, mentally and emotionally exhausted, and undeniably heartbroken for myself and other mothers who are trying to do the best to raise sons in this world. A world that treats our desire to see our children live a full life as if it is a privilege or luxury rather than a parental right. Until our nation begins to hold individuals fully accountable for their actions instead of making it this week’s headlines and uttering the misnomer that “this too shall past”, we will continue to see generations of black men and women fall prey to racist and prejudice ideologies. My hope for the future is that mothers of beautiful black children will be afforded the opportunity to raise them in a social climate that accepts diversity of all kinds, and one that genuinely believes and illustrates that black lives do matter.