- Posted February 11, 2014 by
Castle Rock, Colorado
Trail of Tears- America's War on Black Boys
Only weeks later, I am struck again. I listen as the news speaks of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black man involved in a car accident and was then shot down by police as he approached them for help…
A short time later, I am struck again with grief upon hearing of the latest victim of America’s war on our young black men. Now it is Jordan Davis, a young black teenager shot down by a fearful white man because his music was too loud. “ I feared for my life” I hear the shooter Michael Dunn echo George Zimmerman, silently urging America to sympathize with him for killing an unarmed child out of fear, because obviously there is nothing more frightening than a young black male. There were no tangible weapons found on the person of any of these young black victims for it seems merely being black was weapon enough. In fact the only thing real and tangible discovered was the fear of the men who jumped to deadly conclusions. By allowing these men to walk away from their young black victims without penalty, the message to America was clear: Fear is sufficient justification for murder when young black men are involved and means more than the young black lives sacrificed at fear’s alter. I shudder at the horrific implications.
The implications cause me to hold my young son close in my arms, close to my heart, and wish from the deepest part of my being that I can find a way to protect him from this country which has sadly declared war on him. My fighting instinct is aroused to protect my baby at all cost, I am mama bear ready to kill anyone wanting to rob him of life.
The pain and helplessness I feel joins ranks with other mothers throughout history and across nations. It is the deep ocean-like pain of a mother struggling to protect her child from a society that has lost its capacity to love. It is the pain of the Jewish mother watching her child fall victim to Nazi Germany which had declared her child inferior. It is the pain of the Afghan mother praying her daughter makes it safely to school. It is the pain of the black slave mother watching her child fall victim to the horrors of American slavery. It is the timeless pain of any mother with children victimized by a society blind to their very humanity.
The irony is not lost on me that this is not Nazi Germany. This is modern day America and the self-proclaimed land of the free. I am sobered by the realization that the rules and ideas for which my ancestors fought and died somehow are not fully applied to my son because his skin happens to be brown though his blood beats red, white, and blue.
In this America, black children pay the penalty for this country’s racist misconceptions. In this modern day America, they want us to believe that it is somehow justifiable to take a child’s life because of irrational fears. In this America, is it my job as the mother of a black son to teach my son how to conform to America’s double standard? Am I required to add to my list of motherly mantras, “Son, be careful not to walk to fast or too slow through any neighborhood… you will seem scary and any average citizen can take your life.” “Son, if you get in a car accident or any situation in which you require police protection, don’t approach a police officer for help as he may kill you.” Also, “Son, keep your eyes downcast, hide the natural baritone in your voice, and remember never ever wear a hoodie…”
I find I am not able to cover all the rules that are his and his alone as a black male child or explain why these rules apply to him and no one else. Even if I could, I don’t want to. Why should I be required to watch the hope and innocence drain from his eyes? Wouldn’t that be teaching him how to be a better victim in order to physically survive only to die mentally and emotionally? How does a mother protect her black son when faced with the knowledge that if he should violate even one of these manic unspoken rules, America may demand he pay with his very life? So what do I say to my son to protect him from you, America? I desperately need the words, because I know with the infinite certainty of a mother filled with boundless love, that if he ever joined the ranks of America’s long list of victims, I too would die a thousand deaths at America’s cruel and irrational hands.
Like any mother, I will defend my son’s life with my own. I want the America bought and paid for with my ancestor’s blood and cannot accept a dual nation where protection is contingent upon race or class. This type of America cannot be allowed to be, not when our ancestor’s blood still fertilizes America’s soils…not when our tax dollars still line America’s pockets. We are American citizens who have earned America’s protection as a right and not a favor, and we will accept no less.
I am calling all mothers who love their children as I do to join me in a motherly conviction that crosses all racial boundaries to declare that enough is enough! While the Dunn trial is the latest battle, there is a greater war going on has not been covered in the headlines. Please let this revolution be televised.