In light of recent events, I’ve been thinking a lot.
I have two black sons. One has autism and even though he’s verbal, I still worry.
What happens if he gets pulled over? Will he react appropriately or will he act in a way that might get him killed?
Julian’s not a huge fan of rules, so this is one of my biggest worries. I don’t know how he may respond. There’s a few factors- is the police officer being kind or combative? Do they understand that my son doesn’t do eye contact well? Can they keep their composure should Julian react in a bad way?
When I say “in a bad way”, I mean being rude, argumentative, or even aggressive. I would love to think he would just be nervous, as many of us would, but I know that may not be what happens.
This may be three years away but I think ahead.
I plan on talking to both my boys about what to do if you’re pulled over. It’s a talk that I didn’t think would need to happen, but here we are. If it’s something that may mean the difference between my son coming home safe and me having to bury him, I will talk like there’s no tomorrow.
I watched some of the coverage from Minneapolis and it reminded me so much of the LA Riots. I was 10 when that occurred. I don’t remember anything from watching it unfold, but I’ve since learned about it.
Cameron would likely be nervous but I think he would comply. I still worry, because he’s a soft-spoken young man. He may ” look” white, but his hair and eyes say different. All three of my kids got my brown eyes and curly dark brown hair. (Mine is black, so the brown part is from Matthew.)
What about Lily? I have no idea when she would be able to drive because of various issues. I’m sure she would become very nervous and possibly cry. I worry about her too. Black women have been mistreated by the justice system, you just don’t hear about it as much.
My kids already know they “look” different, even in their own family. They’re the darkest kids on Matthew’s side and next to my mother, the lightest on mine. They have learned my reality of being stared at because of my skin tone. They’re not scared but they are aware.
My kids, however, have had it so much easier than I did growing up. That’s one thing I wanted so badly for them. I didn’t want them to be the only biracial kid in their class, one of a few in their grade. It’s basically the opposite for them.
Lily’s had friends whose families came from other countries. Cameron learned Spanish from a friend in middle school because he was born in Puerto Rico. They’ve been taught to accept people for who they are, not what they look like. They don’t even think of not being able to play at a friend’s house because they are biracial.
I did as a kid and it’s devastating. I was in the second grade and felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t black or white. My mom, being the badass that she’s always been, told me something along the lines of “that’s on them. You’re great the way you are.”
Both my boys can run pretty fast and well- we just watch Cameron closely. Julian is better at running and I hope he (or Cameron) never has to literally run for their lives.
I hurt for all the families that have lost someone to police violence. There’s no excuse for that, not should it be brushed off by the local government. Somehow this happens and riots can be a result. I’m not condoning the rioting, but sometimes people run out of better options.
The LA Riots started over anger after a period of police-related incidents, the most well known being the Rodney King case. Five days of rioting followed after not one of the four police officers involved in his beating were found guilty.
In case you haven’t realized it, I am proud to be black. All day and tomorrow, as Lil Wayne once said. I was raised in a home that celebrated blackness as much as possible. I can’t imagine being ashamed of this. I’ve raised my kids this way. It’s hard enough to be biracial without extra shame. I do realize that not everyone was raised this way and I feel awful for those who weren’t.
I chose to marry a white man. He’s who I love and want to share my life with. Some of the cousins on my dad’s side were mad and guess what? I don’t speak to them. One of Matthew’s uncles felt similarly and he wasn’t invited to the wedding. We haven’t seen him in years, both of these by Matthew’s choice. I wouldn’t dare force that.
My children are more than a hashtag. They are three different people that I am trying my best to guide to be good people. They are similar to millions of other kids- they just want to live.
Pics courtesy of pinterest
Another post on this topic: My Sons’ Future