When my husband and I first found out we were expecting, we hoped for a girl. Some say that no matter what, you just want a healthy child, and while that was true, we still longed for a girl. At 20 weeks into my pregnancy, we found out we would be having a boy. Immediately, the concern surfaced in my mind. Especially raising a Black male in this society - a society where love doesn’t always conquer hate. A society where he will still be judged by the color of his skin and not the content of his character. A society where people cannot see past the negative media images that filter through our televisions, computers, tablets and phones.
When the doctor delivered and presented us with our son on March 1, I pushed away all those worries and just reveled in the love for this young beautiful bundle. Each day as he grew and reached milestones, I wanted to protect him more and more. As parents, we all want to shelter our children from the evils of this world. Unfortunately you get to the point where you cannot. Our son is so lovable – always hugging people and concerned for everyone, regardless of their background. During his kindergarten screening at a private school, there was a little boy of a different race who was hesitant about following the Admissions Director and other young children into the classroom. Our son walked back towards this child, took him by the hand and said, “Come on, let’s go” and walked hand in hand down the hall with him. When we came to pick him up, we were told by the Admissions Director that all morning long our son encouraged this young child of another race to come and join the others. Our son refused to leave this child behind. I love the innocence of children and how they truly look at a person’s heart to build relationships.
I know there will come a time where my son’s heart will be broken by the ugliness of hatred. I know that one day he will come home crying and confused because someone will exclude him from an activity based on gender, economic background and/or race. I know there will come a time where the names that others choose to call him will hurt him. I know there will come a time where he will wonder why he has be singled out for walking down the street, driving a car or being on the wrong side of town. It hurts me that I cannot protect him from these things. The only thing I can do is, with the help of God and my husband, to raise him to be the best person he can be, and still love others as God loves us, even though some hate. The best thing I can do for him is to continue to lift him up and others and this nation every day for peace and understanding. While it is hard to see now past the pain that my people have gone through since being brought to this country like mere cattle, which has manifested itself into our institutions and systems everywhere, I have to stand on the premise and keep my faith in God. If all of us truly “… love the Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength and truly love our neighbor as ourselves”, we would be in a better place, as a person, group and society. Yes it is frustrating, humiliating and sickening to witness the outpouring of the lack of healing and love and disregard for life taking place right now, but we can make a difference. And it starts with each one of us.