The day I found out that I am having a baby boy, I cried.
I turned away from the ultrasound screen and a solid streams of tears flowed.
The tech said, “Sweetie, you don’t want to see?”
I couldn’t speak. It wasn’t that. I absolutely did want to see.
But I turned my back to the image on the screen and wondered when.
When would my Black baby stop being a baby to the world?
When would my Black boy child stop being a child in the face of institutions?
When did Tamir stop being a child to the officer who killed him?
When did Trayvon stop being a youth to the brute who killed him?
When did their lives stop mattering to folk?
I cried because we live in a world where Black men are filmed being shot in the back and choked to death by folk who are supposed to “serve and protect” and my time line and real life lines of conscious yogis and liberals remains silent.
I cried because I’ve been a public and private school teacher and seen how office referrals for little Black boys read like criminal reports even when it’s behavior that for other boys gets deemed “he’s just being a kid.”
I cried because I’m sick of the propaganda stations called “news” that just can’t get enough of “documenting” “black on black” crime when we know “white collar crime is destroying our world…. and often just considered business as usual.
Does any one else not see the connection between the images we are “fed” about groups of people and how it shapes and forms our ideas about who we assume people are… but I digress?
I wondered when will someone follow him through a store, hug their purse closer to them when he walks by, skip the elevator he is on, or call a cop because he “looks suspicious”. (Note, these are every day experiences for my husband)
I cried because I don’t know the answer. I cried because I know someone will “misread” this; convinced that because this experience I speak of doesn’t mirror theirs… it can’t possibly be true.
Then I exhaled and smiled. Because even in all of that crying and wondering
I felt an overwhelming sense of protection for and from my boy, like I do in his daddy’s arms and presence.
My baby boy will be Black and wild haired like Jemar and me.
He will probably always be a little bit taller for his age.
Cause I’m a Georgia woman, he’ll probably say “ye, ma’am” and hold doors for ladies. He will be seen and held with lots of love in our family. He will be a baby, a child, grow in to a man. He will be a Black man and human. He will be country and probably citified like his Boston folk.
He will be raised to challenge your perception of who he is and ought to be. He will be raised to walk through the world and see from all sides at all times just like his daddy tells me he learned to do by the time he was four in order to protect his Black body.
With each day and this growing belly I am profoundly aware of the charge and path in front us:
To raise a child who knows that Dr. King wasn’t simply an “I have a dreamer”, but a radical and ACTivist. Despite how we are taught to remember him in a way that makes the masses comfortable, Dr.King was a WOKE revolutionary and dissident.
I turned my gaze back to where my baby boy was wiggling and stretching and I promised him that I would raise him to see true compassion as King did. As
“ More than flinging a coin to a beggar; (but) to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
To not be lulled into a status quo slumber, but to understand as King did that “The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
And this. If he must measure himself against anything. to let it be this wisdom by Dr. King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”