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June 7, 2020

Black Son. White Mother.

A child said something to me recently that resonates with me now.

“Isn’t it interesting how you are white, but your son is black?”

My mind wanted to defend him, “No, he’s biracial! He’s not just black!”

But his identity doesn’t need defending. The truth is, he is black—not just biracial.

He is black.

He is all the strength and beauty and soul and history of blackness.

He is black.

He is a growing black man in a system that persecutes.

There are things I understand about fear now that I didn’t know before having a black son. Perpetual worry, as I wish to shield him from danger and hatred that I will never understand.

I can’t teach him from my own experience. I can’t prepare him for what he will face.

He is black.

I want to cry. I want to curl up in a ball and hide.

I want to tuck my son back into the safety of my womb, where I can carry and shelter him.

I am white. Despite growing up in a diverse town that preaches equality, I am white.

I was utterly blind to the pain and the fear of living every minute knowing that any stranger could “see red” when they see black—when they see my son.

He is black.

I could cry out in response to every murder resulting from systemic racism. But I am still a white woman.

I am still “safe.” I am still ignorant.

I am still born into this system of racism. I still have so much to learn and understand.

My son will teach me. He is strength. He is joy. He is innocence. He is wisdom. He is my life.

He is black.

 

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