Update June 4, 2020: Though I wrote this post four years ago. Four years before #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd became the new tragic hashtag. Unfortunately this post still painfully relevant today. I’ve chosen to keep this article dated as is for history sake, but feel free to head to my homepage and my Instagram profile for my most recent thoughts on current events. I also wrote this post 5 years ago.
“Wow, he’s almost as dark as me!” I pointed to our son as my husband and I sat with the kids at the pool.
Our little 3-year-old is like so many other little boys. He’s happy, and fearless and finally getting the hang of pooping in the potty.
Right now you can’t help but look at him and see anything but an adorable little boy with a head of curls and eyelashes women envy. But how will you look at him in 10 years?
I love his brown skin. But I hate how it makes people feel.
I know some people want to say they don’t see color and that they see everyone the same. I’m not asking you to ignore who we are. I’m asking you (“you” could be you, your grandma, your aunt, neighbor etc etc) to see us as normal human beings.
When you subconsciously put more space between yourself and a black person, or lock your car door when we walk by, or tell me I’m ‘so articulate’, when really you mean “wow, you don’t sound ghetto” that’s ignorant. I almost said racist, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.
When you see more black people on TV than you do in real life–Rich actors playing gangsters and thugs, what are you to believe?
When your only experience with different socio-economical communities is the violence you see on the 9 o’clock news, what are you to think?
Don’t let that completely skewed image of “reality” paint a picture of an entire race.
In countless shoot, don’t shoot scenarios participants are put in an officer’s shoes and put to the test to see how they would handle a realistic situation. People are quicker to pull the trigger on a black life. Oh, but don’t think you’re immune if you’re black. These results were across the board. Even with civilians, preachers, and race advocates.
This is why it’s so terrifying. This is why wives and mothers are fearful for their black husbands and sons. This is why we agree that our son will not have toy guns. We don’t want him to live in fear, but we also don’t want anyone to feel like they have the justification to harm our son. It’s not a risk we’re willing to take.
Part of the problem is people are more fearful of blacks. You wouldn’t believe the calls officers get to respond to a “suspicious person” that is nothing more than a black salesman going door to door. This isn’t just a police problem. This is society’s problem.
You may look at a news story about an officer involved shooting and say you’re waiting for more facts, but the fact of the matter is, had Alton Sterling, or Philando Castile been white, the officers may never have pulled the trigger. Had 12-year-old Tamir Rice been white, he probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt. Actually I’d wager a lot of money that he would still be alive.
And that is why I’m scared for my son. I’m worried society won’t give him the benefit of the doubt. That people will make their own judgements based on the color of his skin and react according to fear. Fear that should not even exist.
If you don’t think this is a real issue then you’re at risk of becoming a part of the problem.
And that is why people are saying #BlackLivesMatter. Because black lives matter TOO. Changing the message to #AllLivesMatter is like going to a Save The Rainforest meeting and shouting “But ALL forests matter!!” Or going to a Cancer Sucks event and saying “ALL diseases suck!” It’s just not cool.
Do blue lives matter? Why yes, of course. But we already know that. That was harshly evident this morning in my timeline when countless silent voices before suddenly spoke up about the violence and terror. Violence and fear I’ve been seeing all week.
My black friends who had been crying with me all week about Sterling and Castile deaths were also crying out about the deaths of the officers. Why is it that we can care about “all life”, but others don’t care about ours?
My husband kissed me goodbye this morning before he left to start his watch. All day I prayed that some wacko wanting to retaliate against police wouldn’t shoot my husband for no reason, or out of fear.
“It would suck if I died and then BYU won the national championship,” my husband joked as I fought back more tears this afternoon. He was trying to lighten the mood and be funny, but it’s not fun to have conversations that start with “If I die today…” which has been happening a lot more than usual lately. As scared as I am for my son’s life, I believe my husband’s is in much more immediate danger.
Tensions are tight, emotions are running wild, and I am absolutely terrified he may get caught in the crossfire. I pray morning and night that never ever happens.
If my husband were killed in the line of duty I KNOW I’d have your support. And I’m so thankful for that.
But if my son was killed at the hands of police would I still have your love and support? Or would you assume he was somehow threatening?
I love and appreciate your support for blue lives. I want more of it. Most of the time it feels like everyone is either afraid or hates police. But you know what? From the middle of the road, where I’m standing, it seems like people fear and hate black people even more. I need more love for my black community. And guess what? You don’t have to switch sides, you can do both.
Trevor Noah from The Daily Show stated my feelings precisely. We shouldn’t be choosing sides. If you’re pro-#blacklivesmatter you’re assumed to be anti-police. And if you’re pro-police, you’re assumed to hate black people. It’s seems it’s either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop when in reality you can be pro cop AND pro-black which is what we should all be.
I promise you, it’s possible to love and support both. Go on, give it a try.
Will you stand with me, for my cop husband and my black son?
I’m terrified what will happen if we do not.
Tags: biracial children