Okay. I had to post this…
My son wanted to walk to the store and I panicked. I didn’t want him to leave the house.
I am usually upbeat about things but as of this day, I am a scared mother of a Black teenage boy.
It feels like it’s open season on Black young men. Or Brown young men. Or men who fit any stereotype of a minority group.
Yes, I am talking about another dead teen who was killed by police.
it has been a hard few years to be young and Black in this US of A.
I dropped my favorite cover artist from my FB friends list because after the Travon Martin verdict, he posted something to the fact that all young Black men need to taken out into the street and shot. Hey… I have a young Black teenaged male… so my child should be put down like a dog before he hurts someone? That was his reasoning. He and his sister could not even acknowledge that if you liked the verdict or not, a child lay dead and that a mother’s arms are now empty. I got more insults piled on so I walked away and cut that tie. Wishing death on anyone is wrong let along a whole group of people.
And then there was the McBride case… and the poor child with a pump gun in Walmart in Ohio, and now Mike Brown.
Sometimes I wish that the whole fucking world was beige. That way you could take the color out of situations and can look at people on their individual actions.
Racism, prejudice, any of the isms really… it is all ripping at my soul.
If you think that Racism is gone, ask one of my bestest buddies, name redacted cause I don’t want to pull anyone into my mess of emotions, about our trip to Cracker Barrel, about how the clerk was so interested in following me around to ensure that i didn’t steal anything, they didn’t notice her following the clerk even closer that she was following me.
Or how about the time a few months ago when I was in NY and Company when the tiny 20 something Asian manager followed me around asking to hold the clothing I wanted to buy to make sure nothing slipped into my pocket. And when i let her have it, nicely this time, she blushed, stammered something about store policy, and rushed away… sending another clerk to follow me.
I guess I have it better than some though… no cop has pulled a gun on me since I was 14. I fit the description of a 40 year old woman at the time and the best my school and the people I talked to could tell me was get a badge number or the number off of the car next time.
The first time I was called a nigger and harassed by some dudes in a blue ford pick-up truck on the eastern shore of Maryland, I was five and sitting in my mother’s lap at a table at a rest stop. They called us names, they pulled to a stop and hopped out. i remember sitting there as my mother clutched me tighter and the two white guys, dirty denim jeans, one was a blond with longer hair than the other, and white tank tops… they were red in the face and screaming and then my father and brother came running from the restrooms and the guys fled. I asked my mother what a nigger was… she said something ignorant people called others. I was not content. When we got home, I looked it up… we had a set of World Book Encyclopedias… and I cried cause then i knew that most of the world would hate me just because I existed, because someone thought it was a good idea to steal some dark skinned people, rape them to increase the stock, and stick them in the states for more of the same while they got free labor.
And now, I have that same heart stopping fear I felt when those guys came racing towards me and my mom whenever my son wants to leave my site for a moment.
Sad, isn’t it?
This country has shown us that if we are not dancing monkeys… you know… good at sports or entertaining, or doing heavy dirty work, then you are about good as dog meat.
And this attitude has spread to other parts of the world… I know this because one of my Egyptian friends, after a few years of knowing her, told me that in America, Blacks are considered lazy and thieves, that we don’t bathe and that we are not to be trusted. But I wasn’t like that so I must be an unusual Black.
I wanted to cry and yell that I was the Average Black… but what she saw on the news and in the media since she was a child had more sway. In her eyes, I was exceptional.
Like a very good trained dog.
WHen I first started doing lectures and teaching classes on wold building, no one believed that I was Stephanie Burke. I had managers triple check my ID or other writers refuse to believe I was me until I started speaking. I handled this like it was an everyday occurrence. I have tried to debate with even fellow authors, my contemporaries, and the minute I made a valid point, I was told to calm not and not be so aggressive… aggressive while sitting and sipping hot tea… without raising my voice, by asking a question. I guess they expected me to start screaming and turning over furniture like in a freking movie.
Black, Exceptional for my kind, Aggressive… hunted. Man, that does make me seem like some exotic dangerous animal. And now you can add scared to let her son go to the store.
When is it going to stop? I can no longer explain ignorance away. My kids are far too good at research and questioning things to ever let a watered down version of life slide, and i have never offered it to them. You know its bad when you have to explain to your son the proper procedure as a Black being stopped by the cops… and now add to it that it probably won’t save your life if you are in the wrong area.
I have to tell my daughters when she goes out with her White friends to be aware that the store security may try and stop you because they think you are up to something or have stollen something. So far she has been stopped and searched din a Walmart for carrying a purchase that was too big for a bag while holding a receipt in hand while trying to leave and by a bunch of cups who ran up on them in a public park, insisted they were doing drugs, cursed and harassed them for just sitting at a table, and then when she gave her age and demanded that they bring a female cop to search her, they backed off.
And now with Mike Brown… unarmed… media black out… riots… another animal put down, some will say and have already said.
I just think of his mother… who probably was just as scared as I am to let her son out of her site… but the difference between us is that my son came home. Her’s never will again.

2 Replies to “WHY?”

  1. That’s terrible that anyone can’t just go shopping or just go for a walk or just want to have a relaxing day without being embarrassed or living in fear for their lives .and kids should not have to worry about being harrassed by anyone especially not the police that are supposed to be their to protect the public not treat them like the criminals they are supposed to protect you from . Little children should not be made to feel like nothing but small minded idiots.or anyone . I am a white person so I don’t know what that must be like myself. But when my sister and I were little we were tormented by bullies.and once my family and I embarrassed by a floor walker and mall security at a major supermarket long story short they barred us from shopping there and any places owned by that grocery store chain for only 6 months because we were steady customers usually if they are going to Barr someone it is for a year to this day we are not a 100% sure what started it all. They even said that when my father saw security coming he ran away my dad was a senior and is overweight he wasn’t running he just left early to get the bus.my mom was traumatized after that if while shopping if we stay still for longer than a couple of minutes she tells me we should keep moving so we don’t get in trouble. Another time I was shopping at a dollarama store I was just looking at the perfume in an asle when I was approached by a man that apparently worked there he said that he saw something in my cart that is no longer there and he made me show him the contents of my reusable shopping bags,my tote bag even my purse I showed him the contents of my pockets even though he did not ask just to cover my bases. He asked did I maybe put the item down somewhere else in the store type thing I asked him what the item was he was talking about he took me to the isle and he showed me the item I told him I never even had that in my cart wasn’t even looking at it. After that he just left he didn’t even apologize about it.I was so upset I had stuff to get there and I was determined not to let it bother me but I was so upset I just got what I had paid for it and left. My sister suggested I don’t go near that store for a month as protest I used to see him in the store sometimes sometimes he won’t not notice me one time he said hi. Unbelieveable. Anyway I just wanted to let you know that I understand.and just a little I can relate. May god be with you and your family and be safe.I pray that someday people will finally stop apotheosis and finally be at peace with everyone no more cruelty and hate and violence. I love your books you are a great author. Have a nice summer. God bless.

  2. And what is sad is the US is not showing half the unrest going on about this event. The only place I know that is showing on tv is RT television, but you have to have satellite for it.

Comments are closed.