I cannot blame today’s youth completely. I believe we parents did not prepare them. We were so busy making it better for them, because we could. Our parents and grandparents fought long, hard, deadly struggles. We forgot, the pain, the long talks, the faces of disappointment, anger and fear. We did NOT want our children to see that in us. We forgot to remind them that trouble is always waiting for an opportunity. What happened it bypassed us and went straight for our jugular vein. It knew we would not let it slip up on us, but our children, weak vulnerable that was the target. While they slept, while we were away from them to far to fight for them, it pounced.
I recall hearing time and again, “It’s a jungle out there”. As a child, I dismissed it as one more thing adults say that children don’t understand, but they are not talking to us anyway. The older I got it made more sense, it became relevant to my life it addressed the competition involved in staying alive. Now I could relate. Once my kids were born it took on a whole new meaning.
As the mother of two sons, I remember the days they were born respectively. Back in those days you did not really know what you were having until the child was born or if the ultra-sound tech got a “lucky” shot. I remember wanting girls both times. I told my boys as young adults, not to hurt them but for information. I did keep a deep dark secret from them and that secret was I did NOT want to face the challenges and likely heart break having a son who was black could bring. I knew in spite of everything one can do to prepare that man-child, a predator waits for him. I also knew that I faced having to tell my innocent boys about this treachery or leave them helpless and clueless. I was afraid for them. Hell of a choice AND one that I had less than a decade to decide which one was the right one.
The right choice was for us to take them away from the element. We moved them into a predominately white environment complete with a public school system that ranked among the scores private schools in Southern California. Whew, now I could breathe. There we were defeating the odds, so we thought. They were from a two parent household, above average income, educated parents and an area that was “safe”. Remember that decision I had only a decade for? The first came in the form of them being ostracized by people they were entrusted with. Fortunately we were always present, always watching over, always apt to pop in. However, didn’t we take them to this place so we would NOT have to do all of that?
My eldest son did not experience this unyielding ugly and potential danger first, it was my youngest. I always wondered about that. My eldest is dark and clearly black. The “baby” had his own grandparents laughing at his fair characteristics, but that happens in our families more often than NOT. I remember the day we took him from a beautiful little church school on the peninsula, because no one would play with him; they were afraid of him because he was a big boy. I thought how could ADULTS allow that to go on? Furthermore not bother to tell us. He went to that little church school two weeks before we found a more diverse environment. If my husband, who was ever-present (as I was), had NOT happened along to bring him a surprise lunch, we may have never known. He was a big, tall kid, he has big tall parents so that did not phase us, but being told the other children were afraid of him. Remember he was also a fair-skinned child.
In the wake of so many ugly police related wrongful deaths I wonder if the fear began for these same policemen as early as preschool? If so did an insensitive teacher, like the one at my son’s former school, ignore the behavior. I cannot say enough times I do not believe all policemen are bad, I do believe all police departments could benefit from addition training. Clearly something is being missed.