Copyright © While They Sleep

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is not a White or Black thing...

Yesterday, I was really angry, on top of being sad. 

I have a son. 
He isn't Black, but he is a minority. 
He is also half Muslim. 

He is a feisty, fun-loving, stubborn little boy. And I want to give him the world. I want to teach him all that I can. Which I realize will include teaching him about the country and world we live in. A country and world that we love dearly, but that encompasses an evil hateful side full of ignorance, where racism is still very much alive, to this day. A country and world that will tell him he isn’t good enough, that he doesn’t belong, that he if dresses like a ‘thug’ he can be shot and killed and the murderer will get away with it. A country where he will, without a doubt, be told “go back home” although he is a first generation California born American citizen. This is the country we live in. Where systematic racism is still very much alive. I know I will have to have an open and honest dialogue about this country and world with him. And while parents with White children should do the same, the conversation will be very different. Yesterday, a White male ‘friend’ said to me “I used to get harassed by the police also – probably because I dressed like a thug, probably because I have a lot of Black friends. I know what it feels like…”

While I believe he has struggled, while I believe White people face hardships, what he didn’t hear me say was…

You can change your clothes. You can take off your "thuggish" hoodies, put on a polo shirt, khakis and tie a sweater around your neck and the way you are treated will significantly change.

I can’t change my skin.

Neither can my son.
Neither could Trayvon Martin.

Many people may not know that my views on race and racism are based on my educational background and my understanding that issues of race are systematic and as my friend Marie stated “live in even the most benign comments and statements.”

And as my beautiful son gets older, I will have to explain this to him. I will have to explain to him that he IS good enough. That he DOES belong and that no matter how he chooses to dress, he is a human being and deserves to be treated as such. And to never settle for anything less.

This will be one of my greatest feats in life.

I love you son. More than you will ever know.


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