Tag Archives: children

Demolish. (Rose-Colored Glasses)

17 May

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is DEMOLISH.

“If you hate white people so much, why did you marry Dad?”

That question pained me. “I don’t hate white people,” I looked at my son with intense eyes. “But the injustice going on in the world these days is hard to ignore. And a lot of it comes from white people.”

“All of them aren’t bad, Ma,” he said.

“Obviously, I know that Thomas. Your father isn’t bad. Your grandparents aren’t bad people. In fact, I know plenty of white people that aren’t bad.”

“So why are you telling me to be careful? Like they’re dangerous?”

“Listen, Thomas. I just said all of them aren’t bad. There’s no group of people who are all good or all bad. I’m asking you to look around and see what’s happening to little black boys your age and younger. Pay attention, and realize that the world is a dangerous place for you.”

“But those guys are different from me. I’m not like them.”

My hurt turned to anger in an instance. “You’re not like them?” I asked. He didn’t have a chance to respond. “What makes you different Thomas? You are not special, you’re not different. Your accomplishments and your white father don’t make you better than those other people being murdered.”

Thomas had just gotten his learner’s permit, and I felt it was time to have the talk with him. My intention was to teach him the correct way to treat police officers. I didn’t include my husband in the conversation, fearing his privilege would cloud his vision. I was actually seeing for the first time that my son had his own rose-colored glasses. He didn’t understand the impact that his skin color had on his life. Instead he wanted to argue with me about whether or not I liked white people.

“Are you listening to me,” I yelled and snapped my fingers. “To some of these people, you are nothing but a nigger.”

The word stung coming out of my mouth. I hadn’t used it in all the years since I’d given birth to Thomas. I couldn’t even remember the last time. But, finally I had his full attention.

“I’m sorry, Thomas.” My anger reverted to sadness. “I need you to hear me though. You are an amazing young man. And I love you. That’s why I’m having this conversation with you. The racist people in this world can’t see how amazing you are just by looking at you. All they see is your black skin. And instantly they hate you, before you even open your mouth. And I know it’s 2016, but the danger you face is real.”

I was rambling. I didn’t have the poise that my parents had when they had the talk with my brothers and me. I didn’t have the strength to have the talk either. But I knew it had to be done.

It had to be done. In the 21st century, I had to have a conversation with my child, explaining to him that he’d never be good enough for some people. The world that his father and I created for him wasn’t reality. The sheltered view of life we provided for him wouldn’t protect him in the real world. Pain. Anger. Sadness. It was an emotional rollercoaster that had no end. And it was a rollercoaster my son would be riding the rest of his life, he just didn’t know it yet.

I hated the situation, but I loved him. So as his mother, it was my responsibility to shatter those rose-colored glasses before someone else did it.

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