Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hug Your Babies

I started this draft a while ago after witnessing a student having a seizure in my class. But after watching Fruitvale Station this weekend, I am compelled to finish it and take it in a new direction. Our children are so precious for so many reasons. This movie only further confirms for me that parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world.

First, my stomach ached the entire time I watched Fruitvale Station. I knew what was coming but I didn't know when. The fact that this was some one's son and father (not to mention he was murdered in my home state of California) was unsettling. I remembered this story from when it really happened but just reliving it from the beginning to the end was almost unbearable; especially knowing that the man that was responsible for Oscar Grant's death served only 11 months in jail.

All I can keep thinking about is that I have a son and something like that could happen to him. What am I suppose to do lock him up in a bubble to protect him? Oscar's mom thought she was keeping her child safe by encouraging him to not drink and drive and look what happened--he took the train and was murdered by a police officer who beat and shot him (while Oscar was handcuffed by the way) but then claimed he mistook his gun for a taser. What can we, mothers of black boys, do?  Feeding our son's organic foods, reading to them every night, and enrolling them in the right schools can only take them so far. What happens when they go off on their own and encounter the big bad wolf?

I am...My heart aches for Oscar's mother and all the mother's of black boys who have to teach them carefully because so many people don't view their life as having value. Oscar is only one of the countless examples of young black men who have died at the hands of police officers and senseless acts violence only to have their perpetrators walk away free.

The funny thing is kids are so oblivious to the racial hate that exists in this country.  I see this in all the different kids groups my son is in. Even in the movie, you can see Oscar having many lighthearted interactions with people of the opposite race. Everyone was just trying to celebrate New Year's. So when/where does the breakdown occur? Are other parents teaching this hate inside their homes? Do kids grow up mimicking what they have seen play out in the media so many times? Will racially charged behaviors go away as more and more generations pass? To be honest, I remember in about kindergarten or first grade when I realized that being black really in fact made me different. I guess it wasn't cool to talk about TV shows like A Different World or the Cosby Show with a kid who wasn't black. Her mama was not pleased.

This is what scares me about parenting.

At times, education is everything but you can't wear a degree on your forehead. Heck, I have definitely gotten the side-eye when I have mistakenly left my wedding ring at home and I am running around with my son. Police officers have been extra rude the few times I have encountered them. An older woman even told me to slow down once as I struggled to get my nephew and son in my car--they are very close in age. *insert shocked face* If this can happen to me as a Master's Degree--Career Having black woman, who knows what this world will serve up to my son.

*Takes a deep breath*

In the midst of all of these thoughts and frustrations, I ultimately am calmed because I know that my son is in God's hands.  Not all people will like him. People may even do and say mean things to him; but God's will for his life will be done. I will keep him in church and immerse him in the word so he will know who matters and that he matters irregardless of what others say. I will teach him to love and not hate. I will cover him in prayer each day because some of the cruelties that this world will serve him he will have to endure and learn from them.

Hug your babies, husbands, boo's,  mama's, aunties--hug everybody because tomorrow is not promised.

My prayer.
My kingdom does not belong to this world. -John 18:36

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