I started watching the Trayvon Martin story that Jay-Z produced and has been showing on BET. It just so happened that the boys were present when I watched the first two episodes. Truth be told, I usually try and keep such a heavy subject matter away from them. One because, it is emotionally hard for me to have to tell my beautiful boys that they may not be liked by certain people, simply because of the color of their skin. Two, I thought they were too young.
By the end of viewing the first episode, they were both in tears. So was I. I encourage them to express themselves emotionally. If we keep telling our boys they can’t cry they will not know how to be in touch with all of their feelings. After the tears, there were questions. So many questions.
I had to break down the very sad realities of what happened in that particular case. How black boys no matter the age, are perceived as a threat. They don’t have the privilege of being young and innocent. How what Trayvon wore that night, may have played a role in his demise. I had to tell my boys that they have to be careful in this country at the tender ages of 8 and 6 years old. Do you know how heartbreaking that was for me as a Mom?
In the same conversation, I made sure to lift them up and encourage them. Their little brains must have been spinning with all the negative information that they now have. I didn’t want them to be too distraught, so I had to sprinkle some love up and through the situation. Have any of you had to have this conversation with your children?
It is hard to prepare the boys for the world we are in now and still let them be children. James Baldwin said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” I know many of us are hyper-aware of how we carry ourselves at work, we censor our thoughts in certain conversations, but at their age, they should just be able to LIVE. That’s why I want them to experience a world they are not supposed to see. I take them to museums, bring them with me to work, open their minds to other sports besides basketball and football. In the hopes that people will see that they are smart, cultured, funny children before they see another Black boy.
The conversation was going to happen one way or another, I am just glad that we were able to have it in the comfort of our home on our terms. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, let me know your thoughts on anything pertaining to this subject below.
All images of me in this post were taken by the amazing Denisse Benitez. The Ankara two-piece set was custom made in Nigeria.