Being a black man, what I’ll never know…


I worry about my son. Will he ever get to know his gifts in a world that feels fear in an elevator with a black man?

He’s autistic, he sees the world through a different filter, but do you think for even a hot minute that the woman clutching her purse is going to consider that when he walks past uber focused on achieving his goal?

“Please” and “thank you” drilled from day one. Will it help when he is the one walking down the street at night after a crime has been committed?

How do I strengthen this beautiful soul?

He asks walking down the street if we can take the homeless man with us? He shouts out loud passing a man in a wheel chair with a sign that reads “I need help.” “Help him!” How? I’ve got to help you. I think.

I worry about my daughter who has standards of beauty that start from the outside in. I worry about her value in a world who may never see her beyond her illness. She is so fragile as she she’s friends unwittingly betray her on the street corner gathered celebrating their sameness. How will I give her the strength to understand pride when I’ll never truly understand what it is like to have a societal limitation because of race and mental illness.

I worry about my baby who marches to her own drummer and is beloved for her leadership by her teachers in her primary years but may well be viewed as an anarchist by a society unwilling to listen to different ideas from their own.

I have a strong resolve to love, guide and protect my children as they grow into adults but I need to believe that as my children grow our society can grow. Grow and stretch your minds to realize the differences, yes the vast differences, between the man with dark skin or the woman who’s beauty is foreign to you. Grow to understand those differences are what make up the whole. We cannot be leaders without followers and we should not have followers that we don’t try to understand. Diversity  should be what we strive for not what is a mandate from a quota. 

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