I just celebrated America’s independence with my in-laws who live in America’s south. You know, the same south will deep-rooted histories of ill happenings. And before the Friday of that week could arrive 3 black men in America were in the news for their deaths. 2 of those deaths were at the hands of police officers.
So what do I do?
I have a 3 year old son, not far in age from #PhilandaCastile’s daughter, who I’d like to see to grow up to be the age of #AltonSterling’s son. In a perfect world he could even live to the age of Alton Sterling and Philanda Castile. I’d like to think he will live to be President Obama’s age. Or even the age of his great grandfather at passing, 95.
But for now he’s 3. And the sirens of police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances excite him. His face lights up whenever one rushes past us in the car.
What do I do for his sake? Do I raise him to trust the same cops that see him as a threat before they see him as a citizen? Do I crush his innocence and awe of police? What do I do for him? Nothing? What can I do? Nothing.
I have a black husband that drives a nice car, a car that most cops wouldn’t expect him to afford. In my sincerest honesty, I’ve never worried about him until today. Until this week when police killed 2 men and another was found hanging from a tree in a park in the city where we live.
What do I do? What can I do for him?
I worry that he could get pulled over and pulled from our lives. I constantly pray for his safety, like Diamond Reynolds prayed for the life of her lover. She even prayed for forgiveness for the cops.
My husband remains cautious of his surroundings. He remains aware that we live in the south, and the south is not always friendly to “our kind.” He avoids certain areas at night, some even in the day. Me, a product of the Los Angeles suburbs, I prefer to move.
I refuse to bow to whomever feels superior in race to me. I refuse to be intimidated into staying away from certain areas. I was raised in a place and era that taught me I have a right to be here, and no one else’s right is above mine. I refuse to teach my son to be extra accommodating to racist individuals and communities. He is a KING. And while I raise him to treat and conduct himself as a King, I want him to learn how to receive kingly respect. I want him to be able to command it, and not have to demand it.
So what do I do?
I avoid the deadly rebellion and uprising that’s nearing the horizon. I avoid it to spare our lives. I’m ready to live in a place that notices our color (because how can you not?) and appreciates its difference. A place that respects us as and for the human beings that we are.
What do I do…to find that place?