I wrote this over a year ago, while Vizionz was still in her infancy, and over at blogspot.
It was a letter about my favorite memory in the world and that was seeing my only child for the very first time. In the flesh, in the nursery at the hospital.
My pregnancy was not planned, if there is such a thing as an accidental pregnancy my child would be that. I was not in love with his father, his father and I used protection, my son still took up residence in my uterus.
When I held my boy in my arms for the very first time I understood the word miracle in an intimate manner, and with that I also understood responsibility. Having a child and raising a child alters you beyond repair. No one gives you a this is your child handbook, and lord knows with this child of mine I could have used one…I still could.
Three days later though they clipped off our alarm bracelets and gave us to heave ho from the maternity ward.
11 years later, the kid still has 10 fingers and 10 toes, I kind of use that as a gauge to think that I’ve done more good than I’ve screwed up. The one thing that has always….always been in my brain though…when I think about my son is how to I prepare him for life?
I was woefully unprepared for life as it hit me along the way, I still am at times when you look at that some of the things that happen in these here parts. I wondered then, as I wonder now…how the every lasting fuck am I supposed to teach this kid how to be proud, how to be a man, how to contribute not drain society, and still teach him how to be a Black man?
Its not as simple as some might believe. Its not as simple as I would believe.
When you have a child your world view changes.
When you have a special needs child that world view changes even more.
I found myself the single parent of a non verbal child who may never be verbal, and who may never be able to operate in an independent fashion.
And then like too many before him Trayvon Martin was murdered, and I was smacked in the face once again with the dangers that await my beautiful and perfect child in an America that is neither…at least not for him.
Its tough enough that he is Black, which is not the fun thing to be in this nation. He’s going to be a large Black child and man. His father is not small, nor is his mother.
Just being Black in America is dangerous, I know this from personal experience and being surrounded by those who have their own testimonies to tell.
My biggest problem though? Trying to educate a child who has no concept of nuance, that outside of his own home, he can never just be himself. He can never for not one second forget that he is a Black man.
That is the curse of being Black and American.
That is the reality that the Trayvon Martin case has brought to the front and just won’t go away right now.
The harder part is that I need not only fear that my Black male child will encounter police, but police with virtually no training in dealing with Autism, and the public. That this the inconsolable pain of the Martin murder…..the bold reminder that there is no safe place when you are raising a Black male child.
My boy is more likely than a ‘typical’ child to get into a situation like this, and that keeps me awake at night. That no matter what when he is out of my sight, even at school, he is not safe.
There are now thousands of images out here on the internet with people saying: “I am Trayvon Martin”. I feel it more than most.
I’ve seen disparate treatment to the death of a White male, and that of a Black male. I’ve been on Oprah because a White male teen died, even though that kid was no saint, and that kid had issues. I can not count how many more ‘stellar’ Black teens died before and after Eddie Polec, yet it was this kid’s death that the media took and ran. It was 7 Black men and women that paid a social and financial price for a crime they did not commit, the murder of Eddie Polec.
I’ve lived in the hood for most of my life and have seen the crime of being Black and how it attracts police intervention.
I’ve shopped in Bloomingdale’s and had the staff follow me as if I did not have green money in my pocket.
I’ve driven while Black and watched men in my life drive while Black. I’ve seen it happen to 20 year old Black men and 80 year old Black men.
I am involved with the least militant Black man on the planet who is more geek and scientist than anything else, yet we could never own a Mercedes in this city and move about without suspicion.
I know being Black.
I am Black.
My son is Black.
I fear for my son everyday, especially because I can not ever teach him in a substantive way just how dangerous it is to be Black.
No matter how much I call for logic, and sense, and targeted political action when it comes to the Trayvon Martin shooting do not ever think that I don’t know the pain – the struggle and the danger that exists just because of the color of ones skin.
I love my son.
But I am also terrified for my son.
My son is Black.