You are growing into a young man and I am proudly terrified. Please listen to me. You are a young black man and you are a target. A target for so much hatred and violence in this country. The people who loved you as a cute little boy don’t love you any less than they did but the people who never met you, the police that don’t know your good natured ways are going to look at you as a threat. Crazy right? You a threat, that’s impossible! Not my buster who loves watching videos and sitting in a hot bath (several a day), you’re definitely not a threat to anything but my water bill. My sweet Mommy’s boy that cuddles up with me in the mornings before it’s time to start our day, my train loving guy who wants nothing more than a trip with me on a NJ Transit train being pulled by an F40PH3C engine, my baby that I sit and watch sleep late at night and you will occasionally appear as your sucking a pacifier ten years after the “paci” is an option. These are not the threatening qualities that you will be judged by. Strangers will judge my big twelve year old boy with dark skin who demonstrates behavior that can be taken the wrong way by someone who doesn’t understand you have autism. A young black man riding his bike or his skateboard at dusk in the park is frightening to a racist. When some lady yells at you because while you’re walking through a parking lot and you look in a car that looks just like ours don’t talk back in your big loud voice because you don’t know why your being yelled at, “you didn’t do anything wrong.” That lady may call the police who don’t know you and won’t know you have a 3DS, a few Pokémon cards and maybe some candy in your back pack and when you can’t make eye contact because you have a neurological difference called autism they may mistake that for guilt and then you say something that they don’t like because your brain actually cannot keep up with the situation and then they can say they thought that bey blade and it’s launcher in your backpack was a gun so they had to shoot you.
I will keep fighting for this obscene violence to stop. I will keep questioning shoot to kill, stop and frisk, excessive use of force; but in the meantime I pray that you will safe when I am not there to be your “white” sheild in this still sadly racist world where black people are often guilty until proven innocent… if given time to prove that innocents.
I love you buster and I wish I could just keep you trapped inside or by my side but you have the spirit of an explorer and that is so awesome. Know that Mama and I will never give up on you learning right from wrong so you stay safe in this world which still, with all the great progress that has been made, is far from created equal.