Saturday, November 29, 2014

don't you see my babies? a post in the aftermath of ferguson.

i went back and forth about writing this,
and then, after my fingers screamed it onto the keys
i went back and forth about posting it - perhaps more than any other post i've written.

it's snowing now, and i sit in my parents house with babies sleeping in the guest rooms.
we celebrated thanksgiving, together as a family, with warmth and friendship.
my boys laughed and ate, watched the snow. kissed the puppies.

in the pit of my stomach sat the poisoned reality of life outside of these safe walls.
each day now, for days, my eyes have brimmed with burning tears -
can i tell you what they mean to me? i whisper, as the world ebbs and flows with hatred.

maybe you are sick and tired of it - but maybe not,
as so many of the ones who are unfriended me this week.
do you understand this - what this means? chose not to be friends with me anymore.

it made some angry - a picture i posted of my little boys,
with a caption underneath of a truth i've been reminded of so often now -
of how i pray each day that my babies will be safe as they grow up.

don't make this about them some said.
didn't you see the rioting thugs?  said others.
you can't deny the cop's innocence more told me.

i watched as people simultaneously "liked" pictures of my black boys on facebook,
seconds after they "liked" a story with comments so viciously racist that my stomach churned.
i will remember these days, as my boys grow up - i will remember not to bring them to those homes.

the clock ticks loudly, i can hear it now that everything is so quiet -
and i beg for it to slow, not simply because they grow up so fast,
but no... because they grow up still black.

i am madly in love with my sons - their dark skin, their spunky personalities,
but God, how i've lain in bed these last nights with a fear so deep it pulls me,
and finally i let the tears spill from the corners of my eyes and soak into my hair. 

it is a world gone mad when the thought crosses your mind:
 maybe their growth was stunted enough during their hard beginning,
maybe they won't be tall... maybe they will be small and look less threatening to you.

how can i do it, i wonder. how can i nurture them as children,
wide-eyed with imagination and joyous over adventure,
how can i nurture them and tell them the truth, both here and now?

my oldest one - he is stubborn, and oh how i've laughed at his maddening strong will before.
but now? at just two years old... i can feel the terror rise when he disobeys me with his silly grin.
be good i tell him, though in my heart i'm begging, always listen. don't be naughty.

i want to choke it out all at once - throw it up and be rid of it forever,
so i never have to think about it again, so i can know for sure i've done my job.
these are the rules you must follow, sweet boys, for one day you will be more handsome than cute, and how i weep over, even now amidst my excitement in seeing who you are becoming.

always listen.
dress nicely.
speak clearly.
take your hood off.
leave your hat home.
if your friends are playing cops and robbers, call me and come home.
if your friends are playing paint ball, call me and come home.
if your friends are feeling adventurous, call me and come home.
if a policeman is talking to you, keep your voice down.
if he is wrongly accusing you, keep your voice down.
if he is embarrassing you in front of your friends, keep your mouth shut,
please sweet boy, listen to me.
put your hands up - right away. don't reach in your pocket for the candy bar receipt.
go with him nicely, i will come for you - i will always come for you -
your small, pale white mother.

i want to protect them. i want to scream it out - DON'T YOU SEE THEM?
DON'T YOU SEE MY BABIES?
and then slowly they grow up, and people don't see them anymore.

i want to be with them every moment, forever, 
so when the man at the park starts questioning them,
or i can see the woman clutching her purse, i can just jump out and save them -
don't worry!! i shout it and my voice cracks, don't worry! I'M THEIR MOTHER.
the man would nod and let them be.
the woman breathes a sigh of relief and loosens her grip.

i want to be right there, so when they are pulled over for no reason -
or maybe even FOR A REASON. maybe they were speeding? maybe they DID steal a candy bar?
let me be with you, i want to wish it in to truth, so if you get pulled over
i can fly out of that car - please, i would say, please. we're so sorry. he's with me.

and i hang my head in shame - because this? these thoughts?
they prove the reason for the madness.
they prove the undeniable inequality.
please believe me. i am a mother to black boys. 

i want to stand in solidarity - with someone, anyone.
i want to hug those dead boy's mamas and tell them i'm so sorry -
that i understand.

but i don't.
because i'm white, i will never fully understand.
but i want to. 

if you're trying, too, I'm with you.
we can be better. we can help this world be better.

for the sake of my boys - my sweet black boys who will be young black men soon,
i want to try to understand.
and i want you to try, too.

I want to scream it.
Whisper it.
Curl up in a ball and bleed it.




11 comments:

  1. Thank you for having the courage to write this and post it. We need your voice. We need your voice to remember the humanity in this. As I white woman, I know it's impossible to truly understand how the black community feels. What I can do is acknowledge the inequalities--YES they exist, YES I hear you, YES you matter...and do my best to have more love and empathy.

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  2. Wow. Thanks. I'm sharing, and I hope this is widely read.

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  3. with tears in my eyes, i'm with you. [but, i know you know that.] thank you for writing your heart. it felt like i was reading mine.
    with much love and many prayers for us all.

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  4. That was Beautiful. Had me in Tears!!! But we Serve an Awesome God!!! My grandma Always said that there is something special about a praying Women. Its like God hears our hearts. I stand with you that God Shield their innocience from time. Amen

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  5. my heart is with you in this and in prayer for children no matter the colour who will one day be grown~ may the world see our kids with God's eyes ~ I have four beautiful black grand babies. I am the little white gramma who wants to always be there for them... I understand

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  6. I understand, I hang my head when I say, "I'm so glad my adopted child is a girl", though, will it even be safe for her?

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  7. As a mom to twin boys from Ethiopia who are four and still doted on by strangers, I completely understand where you're coming from.

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  8. Thank you for posting! I LOVE you AND your boys! It's horribly true that their life is different than a white boy's... still, after all these years. We are out there that want it to be different! I hope our voices will be heard!

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  9. There are many of us who parent children that are of color. My daughter is now 9. She is becoming a woman early. There are always fears. Fears for many reasons. Please remember, that all children are at risk when they become adults. For all our growth, there are divisions, double standards, and circumstances you cannot predict or avoid. We virtual school now since we live in a not-so-understanding area. We have our adopted biracial daughter and 3 biological (very white) sons. We get looks. All sorts. She will grow up not understanding it, no matter how hard we try to explain. All we can do is pray, teach, and comfort. Do not worry for your boys because of these days. Worry for those people that do not understand, that judge without reason, live without love and compassion. I know it is easier said than done. Much love and support to you.

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  10. I was introduced to you and your blog through a friend about a year ago. I've been following it since. In this post, you are courage. You are grace. You are humility. You are honesty. You are God's heart and hands here on this Earth. Thank you for the raw fear, emotion, and honesty you shared in this post. Your words would be a blessing to all who would read them. Saying a prayer for your family and for the hearts of our country tonight.

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