I am color blind #Blacklivesmatter

I am color blind.  I can’t see the color of a person, close up or from afar.  I am incapable of telling what color a person is without my color blind goggles.  That is why it is nonsense to focus on #blacklivesmatter.

This is why #alllivesmatter.  That is why racism doesn’t exist.  That is why those who rant about #blacklivesmatter are simply crazy.  There is no foundation to this #blacklivesmatter whatsoever.

Why would anyone even come up with such nonsense?  Why would we even be having this conversation when I, a Black man, am color blind.  How can I, a color blind, Black man tell anyone, beautiful human beings that #blacklivesmatter? 

For example, I see or I think I see that the background of this window is white.  I know that for sure because I think my mind is playing tricks on me.  The trick is that the ink printing on this window is black.  Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.

Let me get my backup color goggles. Shh, please don’t tell my kumbaya dance group that I kept it.  They told me to toss it out, but I kept it. 

I have no complaints about anything whatsoever because I can’t see my own color.  Most of my life to date, I have worked extra hard to get an education.  I have worked extra hard to make sure that I put food on my table and a roof over my head along with acquiring basic human needs.

That will never change because, in the color-blind world, there is an expectation that so long as I am in America, I have all the opportunities afforded those with White privilege in the color world. Mind you that the only way to understand the meaning of White privilege is to wear the color goggles.

The same rings true for racism.  Without the color goggles, one can not see racism or understand it.  To obtain a pair of color goggles, one must see a professional psychologist for testing because viewer discretion is advised.  Please take care to heed to this disclaimer, especially the psychologist part, which I believe is covered under the Affordable Care Act.

You see, I have never been discriminated against for any reason because of my color.  When I get pulled over for speeding, I get a ticket just like everyone else.  When I am driving down the street, almost home and get stopped, It has nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing to do with my skin color.

I mean who thinks about the color of any human being in this harmonious world where we are all getting along nicely?  Who even want to talk about #blacklivesmatter when each time you turn around we are all dancing in the streets and singing kumbaya like one big happy family?  Who would anyone even spew racism, injustice, and unfairness when all of us are rich, have access to wealth, and earthly abundance?

Oh, please don’t comment on this post with any bologna about me being crazy.  I only want to see comments from readers that agree with me 100% that #alllivesmatter.  I want my color blind friends to comment and give me support because I am color blind.

Anyone else commenting otherwise will not only be rebutting why #blacklivesmatter, but they will also be saying it’s true that #blacklivesmatter.

In my little color-blind world, the slave trade was not real because if it was real we would be having a different conversation – #alllivesmatter.  The conversation about slavery would not be guilt driven and would be a lot easier.  It would be easier because then we would acknowledge that slavery actually took place and everything that most of Black Americans are suffering is reflective of that.  Then, finally, #blacklivesmatter.

that would also mean an admission that #blacklivesmatter.  I don’t think admitting is a good idea when #alllivesmatter.  I think admission is a ludicrous concept in life because by admitting that we are not colorblind then #blacklivesmatter.

Right now, as a color-blind Black person, #alllivesmatter.  Of course, because it is defined in the United States Constitution.

Do you see color in the Constitution?  It is the most color blind document on the planet and I love it.  It gives me hope that as a color blind Black man, I got this.

I got this because #alllivesmatter.  I got this because when we say #blacklivesmatter, we are simply confusing issues.  Issues, historic in nature, that most of us were not even born to live and witness.  

Those issues for a color blind person like me usually get lost in the guilt translation.  The guilt translation is for those of us that see color because seeing color makes us uncomfortable.  When we get uncomfortable, we become defensive and shut down to any form of color related discussions, which inevitably leads to #Alllivesmatter.

Come on now, who wants to be told on a daily basis that their ancestors were slave owners?  Who wants to be reminded daily that being White is a privilege because their skin color is white?  Who wants to live among a people that continue to point out that a system, designed to remind them of their place, being White, superior to being Black or any other color is unfair and unjust?

Please take care to remember that us color blind folks have feelings too.  Try to remember that our feelings get hurt when we are reminded that during the dance of Kumbaya, My Lord – the harmony dance song.  While you are at it, don’t forget that we have White friends that believe because they have Black friends, #alllivesmatter.

I need help.  I have a serious color blind problem and I need help to see the errors of my ways.  I want to understand why #blacklivesmatter more than #alllivesmatter.  Where I live, we are all so happy with everything that I am afraid when one of my dance partner’s read this, they will be offended and I will have no one to tango with.

You see, aside from the kumbaya dances, we tango too.  That usually involves getting along every step of the process.  This is where I learned that at the end of the day, I am a color blind person because, during the tango I get everything in the same way that those with White privilege get.  That is how I came to the realization that I am color blind and tossed my color goggles (shh, I still have it).

That color goggles caused me a lot of pain.  It caused me to alienate several tango partners.  The reason is because they are color blind too and when I discussed what I saw with those expensive goggles, they felt guilty, offended, frustrated and blurted out – “but #alllivesmatter.”

They tried to tell me that they are White with privilege and color blind so #alllivesmatter.  When I pointed out that wasn’t true and that #blacklivesmatter, they asked me how I could call myself colorblind and see all that without my color goggles.  The following tango practice session, they brought me the color goggles to make sure I speak of White privilege next time and that what I wasn’t speaking gibberish. 

When I first tried it on.  I was so shocked that I almost, literally walked into a tree.  It was clear to me that all my life, my eyes has been playing tricks on me.

The trick as I finally figured was this, the first thing I saw with the color goggles was a person’s skin color.  When that happened a number of things began to happen in my mind for the first time.

When I saw the White person’s color, I thought she was hearing.  Then I went up to her and ask for her name.  She indicated that she was Deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL).  To my credit, I know ASL so I conversed with her and learned more about #blacklivesmatter.  After my conversation, I left in shock. 

I was shocked because when I saw the White skin color, my mind told me that she was hearing.  Why would my mind send this message to me?  Where did it come from?  I began to ask a lot more questions about my eyes and why it was playing those tricks on me.

I decided to take off the color goggles and return to my comfort zone – color blind zone. Whew.  While in my zone, I asked more question about why anyone would put those color goggles on.  I mean think about it.

I put on something to learn something only to learn that most of my indoctrinations about people with White skin and people of color are not always true.  I realized that most of the stereotypes are false.  I learned that everything I knew and taught me wasn’t necessarily true and that I am the one person who has to decide to hate and love based on the color goggles.

Fascinated in my color blind world and my new learning opportunity, I wanted to try it. Ah, yes, the color goggles again so I did.

This time I wanted to try it in different locations.  I started with the television.  That was very overwhelming.

It was overwhelming because for the first time I saw my reflection from the television screen that my own skin color is Black.  With this, I went to look in the mirror in the bathroom with my new color goggles.  Even at this time, I did not make the connection to #blacklivesmatter.

Back to the television screen with my color goggles is when I saw movies from the 1900s about slavery, where Blacks were getting water hosed by all-White police, and other disturbing images.  At first, I jumped off my couch because it felt like looking inside binoculars.  Whoa.  Overwhelming.

It took some getting used to. I continued this journey.  Then there was a clip from the news media about a Black man who was shot and killed by a White police officer.  Then another one, where a White man with a gun waving it around in a form like doing a robot dance, and the all-White police only used pepper spray on him.

Then another one where a little Black boy with mental illness at a park was playing with a toy gun. As soon as the police vehicle pulled up, not even stopping, the officers, all-White shot him, unloading several rounds of ammunition, dead.  The boy was left there, dead, for a while before paramedics arrived.

Then another one, a Black man, a father, was choke held to death.  The officers at the scene were all White again.  Then there was something else happening at Baltimore.

The more I watched, the more images of Black men and women in terrible situations come up.  There were images of Black men, women, and children hanging from a try.  Why didn’t I see this before?

I saw images of Black men in large numbers in jail.  I saw images for the first time of Black children who were dead after a church was bombed.  I could not believe my eyes.

I saw so many images where Blacks were in unequal positions to Whites.  Most of them did not look like Blacks were deserving to be in those positions.  I don’t recall that from my history classes.

I wanted to have fun too; like a kid in a candy store, I played with the goggles.  I took it on and off to make sure I wasn’t still in Kansas.

Overwhelmed, confused as to why I had not seen all these before, I took off the color goggles to return to my comfort color blind world.  A place where I lived like a White person with all the privilege #alllivesmatter.  A place where the guilt noise was less.  

A place of fun, music, and dances of kumbaya and tango.  A place where my other color blind friends, whom I tried to see with the color goggles also appeared to look White, and often uncomfortable with the color discussion. I was happy being color blind and still am.

My happiness with being color blind is that my color conscious friends are uncomfortable when I tried to get them to try on the color goggles. One of them tried it and told the rest of them to watch out for me.  That one told me that if I want to continue making them feel guilty for being a White person, they will look for a new kumbaya and tango partner.

To be completely honest, I am not sure if I can afford to lose my place in the kumbaya happy world.  The world where color blind people like me live a stress-free lifestyle.  A place where color blind people are free of guilt, related or unrelated.

So I want to close by letting my color blind friends know to keep the color goggles off.  Keep it off because that is the only way to push #alllivesmatter.  Otherwise, the one best way to see #blacklivesmatter is to keep color goggles on, which makes no sense to me.

It makes no sense because if the color goggles are kept on, guilt will kick in, stress will come, high blood pressure will take hold, and most importantly, singing and dancing kumbaya will not be fun.  I don’t think we want that.  I definitely don’t want to offend anyone who doesn’t want to put on the color goggles because they might finally see why #blacklivesmatter.
I don’t want them to blame me for seeing #blacklivesmatter and I love dancing around the issue just like them; it’s Kumbaya, My Lord.

Dancing elephant image credit: http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-baby-elephant-dancing-image16852215.

White privilege: How to use it to connect the world

Originally posted on kramissah:

I have been thinking about this blog for some time.  I decided to put some of my thoughts down after I spoke with a dear friend.  For the purpose of this title and discussion, I will use White and Black to identify the races.

I ask that, you, the reader, expand your mind and thinking.  I believe when a person thinks beyond their comfortable sphere, one is able to appreciate diversity for its beauty.  Additionally, I believe when one takes an introspective journey to recognize his or her own privilege, one becomes transcended and one’s soul is cleansed.

What is White privilege? I did some research. Looked all over. Sounds corny, but honestly, I Googled what is White Privilege.  I strongly suggest that each reader do their own homework and if there is something I missed, please add so I can learn.

I thought this writer did an…

View original 1,452 more words

White privilege: How to use it to connect the world

I have been thinking about this blog for some time.  I decided to put some of my thoughts down after I spoke with a dear friend.  For the purpose of this title and discussion, I will use White and Black to identify the races.

I ask that, you, the reader, expand your mind and thinking.  I believe when a person thinks beyond their comfortable sphere, one is able to appreciate diversity for its beauty.  Additionally, I believe when one takes an introspective journey to recognize his or her own privilege, one becomes transcended and one’s soul is cleansed.

What is White privilege? I did some research. Looked all over. Sounds corny, but honestly, I Googled what is White Privilege.  I strongly suggest that each reader do their own homework and if there is something I missed, please add so I can learn.

I thought this writer did an excellent job of providing some foundation to the understanding of white privilege. There are others.  Whichever source one uses, it seems to me that the most common understanding of White privilege is this definition.

            White privilege is a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people                       benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to all others. White privilege              can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence and it helps             to maintain the racial hierarchy in this country. Source.

I like that definition and most of the other definitions allude to the same conclusion.

During a recent conversation, a friend of mine, a white woman, acknowledged that she has a lot of privileges.  She went on to say that her children, all white, have no idea about how much privilege they have.  She indicated that she will teach them eventually and that she is so blessed to be privileged compared to what I have to go through on a daily basis.

This conversation with my friend struck a chord and I decided to share it with my readers.  I want some readers to take that internal trip.  Look inside your hearts and souls.  By doing so, I believe your disagreement will be well founded.  Looking within yourself might cause you to feel guilty and if you feel guilty, you might miss the point of this dialog.

I responded to my dear friend that she has every right to feel what she felt.  At the same time, I didn’t think she should feel this way because I know her to be one of the biggest allies on the planet.  As a White woman, she advocates for the weak, poor, and the not so fortunate, to have what she has.

I assured her that if most of those with White privilege did what she did, advocate for the poor and weak, give back to those communities in ways the offer them hope, and continue her life’s work, the world would be a better place.  Of course, being the modest friend that she is, she said “thank you, but…”

Consider these scenarios and questions:

Imagine if every time a Black person went to the store and was being followed, a White customer who notices that intervene and set the store clerk, another White person straight.  How do you think the shopping experience for all would be different?

Imagine you are a police officer and your partner profiles a Black driver and you disagree with your partner.  What do you think police killing of Black men would look like?

Imagine you are a White person at a bank applying for a loan and you overheard a Black person is turned down for a loan.  Clearly, from what you had been hearing, it is obvious to you that the Black person applying for the loan is more qualified than you are.  Imagine if, based on what you heard, you decided to talk to the bank manager about how disgusted you are that a Black man is denied a loan.  What do you think will happen to qualified Blacks who apply for loans for some of the same reasons Whites use loan funds for?

Imagine you are a manager and you have a White supervisor that tends to throw out applications that have names that sound Black, even though he or she is qualified.  Imagine you intervene to make sure that that applicant is interviewed?

Imagine in the same situation you overheard that the supervisor wanted to hire the Black applicant because they are Black, a token, and not because they are qualified.  But you, a White staff told your supervisor that is not right because you believe that Black person should be hired on merit.  Can you imagine working next to an intelligent Black person with skills as supposed to being hired based on their color?

Imagine if this whole idea, White privilege was non-existent.  Imagine a level playing field for all humans. Imagine if Black Wall Street was still standing today.

Imagine that every person with White privilege used their privilege to do the right thing.  Some of the right things such as ensuring that everything enjoyed within White privilege is enjoyed by all.  Just imagine using that power to make things right for others.

As someone with White privilege, I am asking you to take that internal road trip – it’s an attitude analysis.  Check your attitude about everything that is happening around you.  Try to see how it is impacting all of us psychologically and emotionally.

I don’t profess to say that it is an easy journey.  I am not pretending that it is simple.  I am not ignorant to the possible fear of seeing a certain uncomfortable truth.  I am sure of one thing, saying nothing, doing nothing, and watching the world around us fall apart because we chose to remain silent, impacts everyone, Whites, and Blacks.

Look at the economic crisis that is happening around the world.  Clearly Black people cannot be blamed for any of it.  To place blame on Blacks for the economic crisis in Puerto Rico and Greece, is to ignore the fact that our leadership, the ruling elite, are White, with privilege, access to wealth, and access to call out some bad apples within. Those same elite rulers have the ability to share and spread the wealth, potentially avoiding the crisis.

The short sighted idea is that we should not call out those with White privilege that can bring about positive change by sharing the privilege.  The long-term impact, is that families of the same White privileged folks that chose to remain silent, will feel the pain.

For example, I recently read a report about the lynching of Blacks. I am positive that some bystanders with White privilege could have said something to put a stop to those barbaric acts.  For whatever reason, they didn’t.  Some of those reasons may be comparable to reasons why Whites with privilege today are not stepping up to share the wealth.

Today, bystanders’ children are caught in a spiral of hate and we stand about wondering how that happened.  It happened because we failed to speak up to the injustice done to Blacks by those with White privilege.  The same failure to speak up now could be a sign that we have not really learned from our history.

I have read and continue to read much about White privilege, the history of ruling classes, the history of classism, elitism, oppression, slavery, and White privilege, and note that the continued pattern is our own doing.  As Pogo puts it, “we have met the enemy and it is us.”

At the end of the day, my dear friend is a White woman, she acknowledge her privilege, she realizes that her children, all young, may not know the world they will grow up into, and is willing to teach them about their privilege and how to use it for good cause.  I thought I would share this with the rest of the world and call out to leadership, White privileged leaders to sincerely look to history, use your privileges to make a difference, and bring about positive change.

I should let you know now that my dear friend is a Deaf White woman.  Take note and imagine how she acknowledged that even though she is Deaf, she is White and has privilege.  She said, “my children are privileged because they have access to communication that other Deaf and Hearing children do not.”  By this she means her children’s primary language is American Sign Language.

Her 2-year-old reads and writes at the 4th-grade level.  The kid is a whiz, like mom. The apple did not fall far from the tree.

My friend is an advocate of Deaf people.  She blogs about injustice toward Deaf people and people with Disabilities.  She fights for justice for people with Disabilities with a strong focus of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  She uses her privilege to teach others to take notice of attitudes toward Deaf people that hurt our population.

I am proud of her because she is using her acknowledgment of White privilege to connect Deaf and Hearing worlds.  I believe those with the same power, White privilege, can do the same, use their privilege to connect the world in a positive way to bring about positive change.

The real question is will they? Will you?

Correction: Her 2-year-old reads and writes at the 4th-grade level.

The correct age is 7-years old.  I apologize for this error.

I identify as Black and I am free

I read and saw in the news that someone with white skin identified as black.  In addition to this, this person lied on their job application to become a leader of an organization.

This is not to judge or belittle.  It is an opinion, a thought, something different than your own, maybe, and most important, please find your funny bone, smile, it’s okay.

That is not why I am sharing this smile with you.  I am here because I feel free.  I am so free that the word free is slipping off my lips, nearly drooling.  This is exciting for me as a Black man.

Let me why I am excited.

For the first time in my life, I feel free.  I feel beautiful.  I feel like, wow, my skin color is finally in the limelight as something to be celebrated as supposed to:

  • getting profiled as a criminal,
  • being followed at all the stores I shop,
  • some women clutching their purse when I walk pass them,
  • and getting all sorts of beautiful facial expressions when I accidentally get lost in a ruling class neighborhood.

It feels great, at last!

I identify as Black and handsome because did you hear about it?  Oh man, you missed it?

So let me tell you.

I identify as Black today with pride.  Yes, lots of pride.  You should see me walking down the street now, carefree, hand running on my bald head, smiling so big that it puts the Joker’s permanent smile (in Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson) to shame.

Really?

I think not.  I am concerned, deeply concerned.  In fact, my first response to a blog when the news broke was “white privilege taken to a new level.”  It’s a whole new conversation now isn’t it?  I mean think about it for a moment – don’t forget to smile silly. Move your legs into dancing mode, step right, step left, that it… keep going.

Blacks, especially Black men, we have been painted with different strokes.  Oh boy, here I go opening a can of worms.  Am I?

Here I go again complaining about what we already know. And? It’s all in my head and still, dance, dance, and smile.

Some readers might feel insulted, or even offended.  Please don’t feel guilty or offended.  I rather we celebrate together.  Just imagine you are me, right now, smiling and thinking… Oh, my!  Simply because finally a positive conversation is happening about your beautiful Black skin.

Once again, please don’t feel offended or guilty. If so, then maybe this conversation is not for you.  If so, then maybe it might be helpful to consult with the mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I identify?

Dance, dance, dance… smile.

The conversation has shifted and it is continuously shifting.  You will be amazed at how it shifts like moon walking across the dance floor – Smoove.  You will be amazed at how it all sounds so familiar that it has our ancestors dancing in their graves – Smoove.  I encourage you to dance along because I am now – please, smile it will keep your Blackness forever beautiful.

I encourage you to dance along. I am dancing now because my Blackness is beautiful. Identify with my Blackness.

To be clear, if someone wants to identify as Black, Blue, Green, Orange, and what have you, I would not care.  What I care about is this.  A lie on a job application (it’s okay for some to think its no big deal and misdirect – I humbly respect other divergent opinions).  That seems to be drowning in a web of transgender and cisgender conversations.

Are we saying that the new way to apply to a leadership position is to lie on our applications?  If so, then I identify as Black.  May I be kindly afforded all the privileges, rights, and liberty herein, please? Thank you.

Are we suggesting that Blacks should celebrate our skin color only when a White person declares that they feel Black?  If so, I identify as Black.  May I be kindly afforded all the privilege if any, herein, please?  Thank you.

What message does this send to our kids?  If it is that our kids, regardless of color, can get up in the morning “mirror, mirror on the wall, what color am I today? Response: O so handsome Blackness, you identify as Black.  Then I am free at last and look forward to tomorrow.May I be kindly afforded all the privilege if any, herein, please?  Thank you.Dance, dance, dance. Smile…

Dance, dance, dance. Smile…

Are Blacks free to identify as anything contrary to all the stereotypes now?  If so, Hallajeyah!  Let’s all do the dances all day long!  I feel free – join me for the dance, dance, dance.

Is the message to the world that we should dishonor our parents?  This one is a tough one for me to digest.  I can’t and I won’t even dare.  The thought gave me a headache.

I am sure I can ask a million questions to bore you.  Maybe my questions are not thought provoking enough for some readers.  Please come up with your own based on yours, family, and peer values.  Whatever you decision, I believe this conversation is very important. Smile, feel good, and identify.

Smile, feel good, and identify.  Then dance, dance, dance and smile.

I identify as Black and I am free.

No, I don’t feel any different.  I am a Black man and in my loving mood, smiling because positive conversations are happening about my Blackness.   Please don’t hate or scorn me for making it fun.

Please don’t hate or scorn me for making it fun.

I identify as black and I am free. Yes! Dance, dance, dance, and :-).

Getting smacked over the head: Lessons from police brutality and the past

The mother who beat his son over the head during the Baltimore on the receiving end of many different opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong. Really? So now everyone has an opinion about what it cost to keep a Black man safe in America.

I have a different take on it and it is coming from experiencing first hand what my own mother had to go through to keep me safe in America. Let’s not get all worked up about criticizing anyone, or the nation. Let’s focus our attention on the history behind the topic.

12 Years a Slave

I want to begin with a scene from the movie 12 Years A Slave. There is one scene where the slave owner rapes a slave who is also a mother. When the slave’s husband questioned him, he was shot on the spot in front of all the slaves. This is meant to set an example that no one should question the slave owner’s behavior. I want everyone reading this line to meditate on this image. I mean, sit down, do nothing, and meditate.

Think about the psycho-emotional impact on the mother who has just been raped and without a man to protect her. Think about it and put yourself in her shoes. Now think about how these same behaviors continue today in subtle ways. Think about the sons who have died before Freddie, Michael, Trayvon, and others to date.

A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis is my opinion and is not meant to advocate for one way or the other.  It is simply to get us to think about how we as a society continue to hypocritically set rules, inadvertently participate until it hits home and seek to blame, belittle others who do the same.  Then we go on a rant of nothingness that doesn’t solve anything instead of changing the system.

In 12 Years A Slave, the lesson is this, slaves are told not to question their master. This is made clear once, not twice but once. Once told, the master doesn’t want to repeat himself. Failure to heed results in some violent response and even death as we saw in the film.

The police are known to give commands similar to those from slave days. Most of us are familiar with these commands. Some examples are: “put your hands on your head, turn around, get on your knees, and lay down with your face down.” You can be sure that the police do not like to repeat. Repeating means one is uncooperative and the result, you guessed it, usually is some form of brutality or simply death.

Let’s take that further back. When the settlers arrived in what we call the United States of America, they met the Native Americans. I am sure the settlers tried to reason with them in a nice gentle way to get them to move out of the way. I am sure there were meetings where conversations were amicable and civil until it did not go the settlers’ way. Because these meetings and conversations did not go the way the settlers wanted, they took the land by force.

Now take this mom, who has probably told her son a million times over not to do something bad that could end his life. Why is it okay for the police and the settlers to respond the way they do when citizens they have sworn to protect are a little stubborn, but we are quick to judge this mom? Why do we oxymoronically advocate peace but resort to violence?

This is Pure Hypocrisy!

We, the human race, preach that violence, of any kind, is not okay. I get it and I understand it. So when is it okay for one but not the other? Let’s see if we can connect the dots here.

The slave master doesn’t like to tell the slaves more than once to NOT do something. Cooperation is expected at all times. Failure to comply results in brutality or death.

The police expect full cooperation from the people they have sworn to protect and serve. Failure to comply results in some form of brutality or death.

The settlers tried to reason with the natives to move out of their homes so that settlers could have the land. Failure to comply leads to the Native Americans being forcefully removed from their land, and if their deaths happen, it is rationalized that they failed to comply.

Now the mom violently smacks her own son over the head to keep him safe and bam … most of us have an opinion of what it means.

The usual psycho-emotional response from some is that this mom did more harm than good. I am curious if anyone has had the time to really think about this carefully from the Black woman with a son perspective. I mean actually live the life of a Black woman raising a son in America.

The Psychoemotional Perspective: Questions

Have you even had to raise a Black son knowing that he is prophesized to be nothing more than a piece of meat meant for target practice?

Have you ever had live with a Black son who is so stubborn because, in his mind, he is normal, doesn’t even think of his skin color, and wants to be like the privileged?

Have you ever had to raise a Black son who has dreams to be something bigger than life but all of the rules are stacked against him to ensure he fails?

Have you ever had to raise a Black son who is expected to spend time jail at some point in his life no matter how good he is, what good he does, and yet still expected to go to jail?

Have you ever raise a son, who at a certain age, wants to be a man and you tell him to take it slow because being a man means becoming a target for police brutality?

Have you even raised a Black son who, at the beginning of his life, ends up in some special education program in school because he doesn’t speak the King’s English?

Have you ever raised a Black son who has to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulders because he is a stigmatized criminal based on his gender and color?

Have you ever had to raise a Black son who believes in doing good because once upon a time Dr. Martin Luther King dreamt that the content of his character is what will be used to judge him, and yet his skin color and being male is what is used to judge him daily and a lifetime?

How do you keep the Black son safe?

What do you do to make sure that he comes home every night before you, the mom, go to bed?

What would you do if you were a Black woman and your only son is prophesized and destined to not live to adulthood?

Do you really know the psychoemotional cost of raising a Black son in America?

These are questions along with others that I think many who question Ms. Toya Graham’s behavior should answer before leaping to judgment about the right and wrong way to raise a Black son after watching her behavior in the media.

Sure we don’t advocate violence. Of course not! We don’t want to hurt our kids, let alone abuse them, violently hurt them, and most importantly, embarrass them. But the system to ensure this doesn’t happen could be doing the opposite of that.

The system of cooperation is set from the beginning and unless we are willing to address it from a systematic perspective, I think it’s hypocrisy to pass any form of judgment on, Ms. Graham. I think the lesson is that we’d rather see the police who have sworn to protect us beat our children or shoot them to death instead of mothers like Ms. Graham.

Possible Dialog and Solutions: Leadership Intervention

I think there are endless possibilities to turn things around. I am naive that way in my belief in the human race because I have lived long enough to see the good we can do when we are tested. Why we tend to wait until we are tested is another blog because it behooves me.

That said, I believe Ms. Graham should be commended for taking a leadership role, a mother that she is, to address this issue publicly. I commend her because her intent is justified and several examples abound to support that keeping her Black son safe is a priority over anything else. Additionally, she took accountability regardless of what anyone else says or feel.

Some of us leaders will wait until after the fact to react while Ms. Graham took a proactive stance. Her proactive stance begun a dialog. Most have read her story and having conversations about it. The dialog framework offers the opportunity to assess our biases, preconceived notions, stereotypes, and stigmas. By unpacking these, we can begin to see the psychoemotional impact on those we might be quick to judge.

Let’s try on different shoes. First, trying on different shoes can be fun. It can also allow us to see where our opinions might not fit.

Let’s look at the history of mistreatment of Black women. Their sons have ALWAYS been taken from them since slavery. Their sons have been made to bear criminal, up to no good, dangerous, angry, violent, loser, illiterate, deadbeat, and other stigmas. The burden to remove these stigmas rest on the mother, sad, but true, and no offense intended for Black fathers.

It might also be help to talk with Black mothers, and I mean various mothers, to get their perspective on the psychoemotional impact of raising a Black son and please hold all judgments. Because until one has walked in the shoes of another, this type, a Black woman, one might be completely off base to judge Ms. Graham’s behavior.

My opinion is that she saved her son, another Black boy, soon to be a man, on that fateful day. She should be respected and applauded if that is what it takes to keep us safe. She defied the odds, kept him out of jail, and out of harm’s way so he can live his dreams, dreams that Freddie can never fulfill.

Well done, Ms. Graham, well done, and thank you for raising awareness.