Tuesday, June 2, 2020

On Black Lives Mattering And Resources to Becoming Anti-Racist

Dapper Dudes

Aiden has several nerf guns. Matter of fact, he went through back-to-back-to-back Christmases and birthdays where that’s all he requested. And that’s all he got.

He’s not allowed to play with any of them outside.

He’s also not allowed to play with water guns outside. Matter of fact, he’s never even owned a water gun. I’ve always refused to buy them for him and refused to allow people to gift them to him.

Why?

Because I’m afraid that, if he had one, he'd want to do play with it outside, and police officers will see him with the water gun, mistake it for a real one, and shoot him... because he's Black.

If you’re a mother and you’ve never had to worry about that, then this post is for you. If you’re not a mother and you think that’s a wild thought, then this post is for you. If you’re surprised that this is the reality of mothers of Black and brown boys in America, then this post is for you. If you work with Black and brown kids in any capacity, then this post is for you.

If you want to be an ally, then this post is for you.

Quaran-team!

Truth is, I think about things like this all the time. I don’t live in fear, but I’m aware that it’s a necessary part of my son’s survival. I’ve written about this before

And I want you to understand that, having something like this be at the forefront of your mind, along with all the other stressors that come with raising a child, is stressful AF.

Full stop.

It literally takes a toll on my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Imagine dealing with this everyday and then having to show up at work and go hard as I always do... all while watching my tone and choosing my words carefully because I don't want a white co-worker to think I'm an Angry Black Woman. (But who wouldn't be angry if this were their lived experience?)

Photo credit: Google 

Aiden is 12. (Same age as Tamir Rice.) He knows about Amy Cooper and George Floyd and all of the protesting because we’ve been openly discussing it in our house. And he's been listening and asking questions.

He’s twelve. And cute and funny and sometimes quirky. He still sleeps with a night light and teddy bears on his bed. And he’s been asking for extra hugs these days.

But at what age is he going to be seen as a threat?

13? 15? 16?

How many more years do I have with him until the Amy Cooper’s of the world use their whiteness as a weapon against him? Or police officers see him as threatening?

How many more?

I’m sick. I’m tired. I'm hurt. I’m mentally exhausted. I'm emotionally spent. Because the truth is racism and systematic oppression are so deeply embedded in our society that it literally affects every… single… aspect of our daily lives and lived experiences. It's everywhere and it's terrorizing!

You may know about George Floyd, but people are not protesting just because of him. This is from years and years and decades and decades of us begging and pleading and peacefully protesting (see: Kaepernick) to law enforcement and elected officials to treat us like humans. See our humanity. Stop killing us.

It's too much!

And we are tired.

12th birthdays be like...

And because other people – who are way smarter than me – have already written or spoken on it, I’m sharing their work. I’ve literally read all of these books (sometimes twice, sometimes thrice!) and watched all of these films (sometimes twice!). They're good and informative. 

Click, read, listen, learn a thing or two, and support… you know the deal.

On racism and the criminal justice system…
Watch: 13th by Ava DuVernay
Watch: When They See Us by Ava DuVernay

On voting…
Watch: Selma by Ava DuVernay (yes, I love her and all her #BlackGirlMagic)

On segregation, redlining, White Flight, and government-created low-income neighborhoods…

On a little bit of what it’s like to be a Black man in America…

On White Supremacy why it’s so hard for White folks to talk about racism…
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

On Raising An Advocate and reading books with little Black kids as main characters...
Raising An Advocate by Mamademics
Any one of Denene Millner books  (My kids' libraries are stocked with these books)

Articles that I’ve posted to my Facebook account within these last couple weeks:


After you’ve read and studied and learned a few things, donate some money to the cause, if you have it.

And then, actively work to be anti-racist. And then, stand in the gap for us.

Seriously. Talk to people about Black lives mattering.

Make it a habit, even when there's not a major civil rights movement happening.

Make it a habit, even after all these George Floyd protests die down.

Make it a habit, before the next hashtag becomes a "thing".

Make it a habit, by posting about it on social media.... along with all the other mundane shit that we like to post.

Make it a habit, even when people bring up looters and rioters. (Spoiler alert: humans over property, all day, e'erday!)

Make it a habit, even when people bring up Black on Black crime. (Newsflash: it's a myth.)

Make it a habit, even when people try to whitesplain MLK and what he stood for. (Plot twist: they murdered him too.)

Make it a habit, even when people say, "He should have been more respectful/less resistant/followed orders" and a whole bunch of other things in order to... I don't know... stay alive. (Be clear: we ain't about that victim-blaming life.)

Make it a habit, by talking about Black lives mattering with your friends, family, and co-workers.

If you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, say something anyway. Practice, stay at it, and you’ll get better. If you’re afraid of what your white friends and family members might say in response, ask yourself why, do some soul-searching, check your privilege, and say something anyway. Because wherever you are, that is your frontline.

This is literally a matter of life and death for my kids.

And me.

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