My handsome son B’Dazzle is 12 years-old.
The recent killings of several young black men has been a frightening wake-up call.
My son too can become a victim of driving whilst black, walking whilst black, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, whilst black, being educated, articulate, and confident….whilst black, but be wrongfully profiled as being someone else….
… a drug dealer…a thug…a rapist…a killer..a kid up to no good…or some other derelict deserving of police scrutiny or brutality.
I don’t like it, but I am just another mother of a black male who must have “the conversations” about how to dress and how to behave on the street, especially in the presence of the police.
Deny it all you want, it’s real! The black and minority men in my family and in my circle have too many stories of harassment by the police.
Take that hood off your head…
..is what I recently told my son. We were at the mall shopping. His hoodie was tightly covering his head.
My son: Why?
Me: Because black men who wear hoodies on the street are often profiled (by non blacks and sometimes other blacks) in a negative way.
As we walked through the stores, the dialogue continued and he intently listened. He understood my message and quickly snatched his hood off his head.
“The conversation” isn’t new or revolutionary to responsible black/minority parents who are active in their children lives. The conversations have taken place for centuries.
It’s just that more recently there may be more of an urgency to having the talk.
In just a few years, B’Dazzle will be driving and enjoying more independence and is scares the heck out of me. Ignorance about his locs will add another dimension of negativity to the profiling ish!
In my neighborhood, I can count the number of boys on one hand, who look like him. I hope for the best, but realistically know that one day while walking, he could be stopped by the local police…
Am I just another paranoid mother of a black male? No way! I’m just another black woman who has hopes, prayers, and dreams for her son to grow up and become a dynamic black man who makes his contribution to society. His life matters as all should.
“All Lives Matter” is the fundamental message of Nate Parker’s powerful film, #AmeriCAN. The video was created in response to the recent incidents surrounding the death of several black men.