In my bio for this website, I express that “I am vocal about my passions which include my beliefs, social justice, and fashion. Jesus, Justice, and Jeans are my priorities.” If I were to remain silent during this time of social injustice, I would be a grave disappointment to every person who has bled and labored for this country. For every strange fruit that hanged from a poplar tree. For every foot that marched. For every hand that was raised in protest or in surrender. My silence would kill Michael Brown over and over again. My silence would celebrate Darren Wilson.
I refuse to be silent.
Last night, I wrote a letter to my unborn son and published it on my personal website. As you all know, I’m a divorced 20something navigating through a very real quarter life crisis. I do not have children and I am afraid to have children–especially a son. Because if my son has a brief lapse in judgment, instead of being disciplined, reprimanded or reformed in jail, he will be justifiably murdered and possibly left dead and uncovered in the streets for 4.5 hours. It seems that this is normal instead of inhumane.
Since we’re in the midst of the Thanksgiving season, my initial post for this week was going to be a cheeky blog about why I’m thankful for being a Millenial. When Officer Darren Wilson walked free on Monday night, my blog shifted. Instead of tickling you with light hearted jokes about my quarter life crisis, I want to make you think about America’s constant stance of injustice.
Here are 5 reasons why I’m glad I do not have a Black son
I do not have to worry about whether or not my son will return home: The actuality of all of this is that every black boy that you see whether in the streets or in the classroom is Michael Brown. As a former military spouse, I understand worry. I understand not knowing whether your loved one will return home safe. I have lived that, but my former spouse was protecting and serving this country. He was putting his life on the line so that I can live in the Un-united States of America. My ex-husband’s life was in danger for a purpose. Michael Brown’s life was in danger because of his skin color.
I do not have to explain why being black is threatening: When people speak of Caucasian victims I rarely hear them described as “it” or “demons”. This is probably because Caucasians are valued as humans in America while I am still looked upon as 3/5 human, but I digress. I’m tall. I hope to marry a tall man one day. If we have children, our offspring will probably take after us and be tall. Being black and being tall will get you shot in the streets. I don’t want to have to explain this to my child. I don’t want to sit him down and tell him that his innocence does not matter because it is overshadowed by his dark skin and intimidating presence.
I do not have to watch my son be vilified in the media: It’s a very real reality that if I were to have a son and he were to be unjustifiably murdered by a cop all in the name of “service and protection,” I would have to sit and watch the media slander my son. If he were to make a mistake and post a suspicious picture of himself, he’ll be a thug. If he were to be a young, dumb teenager who happened to get drunk or high, he’ll be a menace to society. We’ve all done it, but black boys can’t.
I do not have to explain respectability politics: I won’t have to answer the questions “Why do I have to have my hands in my pockets, mommy?” “Why can’t I wear a hood on my head when it rains?” “Why do women clutch their purses when I walk by them? What did I do? I don’t want to rob them.” These questions can go unanswered because not having a son means that I can focus on my own respectability.
I do not have to explain why the system will not protect him: If I were to have a son, he might attend public/private school. If he does, he will recite “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” daily. Not having a son means that I won’t have to explain why he is not included in that “all.” I won’t have to tell him that the system won’t protect him because it wasn’t built with him in mind.
I have worked for years as a tutor. I have helped children read. I have sat with black girls and black boys and encouraged them to be whatever they want. While our children are being told that if they are not always respectful, they will be justifiably shot, I’m teaching them to overcome. I’m telling our children that they’re valuable. I’m telling our sons that though the world might not love them, me and God do. At this point in my life, I’m glad that I do not have a son. If I am ever blessed with a child, I will apologize for birthing him into oppression. I will apologize that he will have to work harder and be smarter just to come close to being seen as an equal. I will apologize for change not happening prior to his arrival. However, my son will know that I stood up for his justice before he was in my womb. My son will know that he will be born into a lineage of strength. He will know that his roots are planted in power, pride, and prayer. I will do my best to keep my son alive. I will do everything in my power to make sure that he grows up to be a successful black man in America. Actually, I will do everything in my power to make sure that he actually grows up. Many before him died before they had this chance. If I fail my son, their deaths are in vain.