And why that needs to change!
By now, unless you conveniently live under a boulder, you have heard about the case of 18 year old Mike Brown that was unarmed and gunned down in Ferguson, MO. While I am not discussing the details of how the case unfolded, though I do encourage you to head over to a news site and read up, I do feel saddened, hurt, and overall frustrated. The only way that I can let that out is by talking to other mothers because I foolishly assumed that the love for our children would be able to cross color lines and the frustration of a child being gunned down would evoke some sort of emotion. I was terribly wrong. Now, before I continue, let me just say that I do have a good friend that is a mother of 2 who is white that totally gets what is going on, gets the crisis, understands the problems in our society, sees clearly that racism is alive and well. She is the exception in this case as we all may have one.
1. Because white moms think that this situation doesn’t apply to their children-While it is true that this is a black and white issue, there are areas of grey. No, I do not think that we would be talking about this if Mike Brown were white but I do think that this situation should shake every mother in their boots because this is the America ALL of our kids will grow up in.
2. They think this has nothing to do with race- To be frank, this is a black and white situation. Because he is a black male, his past has to be dug up, his name dragged through the mud. His skin color strips him of childhood innocence. This, of course, would not be the case for a white 18 year old. No, that would be a tragedy.
3. They think this is a post racist America- While it is a novel idea to believe we live in a post racist America, we certainly do not. And I have to think it is white privelage that leads white mothers to think so. While it may not effect you directly, it is happening. It has happened to me, so I know very well the racist America we live in.
4. We are all moms but not equal- I know of a few white mothers that see us all as moms but I am the poor, black, single mother as my lineage has set me up to be. “Well it’s just you and Miles” or “Well you are single so…” and the like are little unsolicited reminders that we are not the same.
5. It is just another news story- Between coloring sessions and story time, Mike Brown’s murder is just another sad news story that will be forgotten in due time. If we ignore it enough, we can keep coloring and keep reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
6. Blame the parents- I have this lingering feeling that some white mothers think that Mike Brown did something to bring this upon himself and that his parents failed him. His home life is not on trial, well neither is the cop so.
Putting your head down when Mike Brown’s story comes on the news is not going to make the situation go away. It is not going to make the situation better. While you can’t change the world by yourself, as a mother, show solidarity. Understand that someone’s baby was murdered for nothing more than he is seen as expendable because of the color of his skin. Realize that slavery, the civil rights movement, and how we came to be in this country matters. We are not so far removed from that and once you realize that, we as mothers can stand together in the progression against racism. Putting your head down during the times when you need to be shouting against outrage, even if it isn’t the popular move, is necessary; required even. Just think, is this racist America, where black men are criminalized, murdered, and imprisoned based mostly on the color of their skin, the one you want your children to grow up in?