“He will turn into a large, scary Black man…”
The New York Times Opinion Pages posted this “Op Doc” today: A Conversation With My Black Son.
I’ve resented this fact: that I will have to eventually have to have this conversation with my own E, that my sister has probably already had this conversation with my nephews who are 12 and 9. That my friends who are also raising Black boys walk a line between fear and…I don’t know, what’s the opposite of fear…when our boys are old enough to go outside without us. Why can’t I live in a world where such conversations are not necessary?
Even LeBron James had “the talk” with his sons. None of us raising these beautiful children are immune. But oh, how I wish we were, that we didn’t have to, that I don’t have to reach that day where I hold my breath until E returns from wherever he’s been.
Every single parent in this video loves his or her son. Worries about them. Is scared to death about them walking around in the world. I’m that parent, too. Now. Even when I don’t want to be. Even as I’m enraged that I have to be that parent. Even as I feel suffocated that I have to be that parent. The quote that opens this post is from parents who note that once the perception of their son changes, their fears rise, too, because there is a point where he goes from a child, to a man. As someone who knows entirely too much data about Black boys and failure, I know, too, that we tend to see Black boys as “men” far sooner than we do any other children and punish them accordingly; they rarely have the opportunity to be remembered as boys, or to let “boys be boys” for that matter.
When they are just beautiful Black boys.
When he is just my beautiful Black boy.
“I will do my best to make sure you’re safe. And I love you.”