I live in fear.
I live in fear everyday.
I have lived in fear everyday since November 22, 1997.
That was the day my son was born. No joke.
I have lived in fear everyday since November 22, 1997 because my son was born – a black male child born to a single woman.
That made him a statistic. He was more likely to die in infancy. He was more likely to join a gang. He was more likely to be at the bottom of his school class or be a high school drop out.
I have managed my fears by providing good health care so that he didn’t die in infancy.
I have managed my fears by moving to the suburbs so that he could attend good schools in good neighborhoods and not be drawn to gangs and not become a high school drop out or even a low achiever in school.
I have managed my fears by getting him involved in extra curricular activities – piano, theatre, and a cappella choir.
But I still live in fear everyday. I still live in fear everyday because now the threat is beyond my control.
He is more likely to be a casualty of his skin color.
My fear boiled over earlier this week. He had to work late the other night and my car wasn’t running and I was unable to pick him up. My immediate thought was to have him take the bus home. But I live in fear of him walking home from the bus stop after dark – a black male walking in a predominately white neighborhood.
I managed by fear because I called my friend Deborah and asked her to pick him up after work and bring him home.
When he got home we had our third talk in a year. It was our third talk about what to do if the police stops you. Do exactly what you’re told, no back talking, and no quick movement – do not resist.
I live in fear every day because it won’t matter that he is an A/B student, or that he has been a member of student government, or that he has been a featured dancer in the spring musical or that he is a member of his school’s a cappella choir.
I still live in fear everyday. I still live in fear everyday because he is a black male in America.