Here we go again, yet another brother slain by the police. This time a 22-year-old, stay at home father of two babies, ages 1 and 3. We the black community and those who fight for equality and justice alongside us, although hopeful for justice, already know how this will likely turn out. The brother was slain in his own back yard at that. Motive? He fit the description of a person they were looking for in the area, and he they mistook his cell phone for a weapon (eye roll). This is going on in the same day that my kids are begging to go watch black panther again at the movies.
Now I know the two seem completely unrelated and you might be wondering where I’m going with this but stick with me for a moment. On the heels of Black Panther, a film portraying imagery that restores faith and hope and the beauty of our people, yet another tragedy occurs. On the heels of my boys relishing in the sight of a version of themselves on the big screen, that makes them feel empowered, and so full of pride, actions are being taken against our community yet again. The bombings in Austin still not being televised, the murders of those who fight to protect our freedoms, and now yet another brother slain. Also, let’s not forget a study just released showing that “Black men face economic disadvantages even if they start out in wealthier households”. As I perceive it the world is out to swallow my boy’s whole.
As a parent of young black men, it’s evident that, as the powers that be would have it, hope should not belong to them. I made it my business to make sure my boys were front and center for Black Panther, so that they would be inspired and so hope and beauty within themselves. Then I turn around and am reminded of the grim reality. As a parent how do I protect that hope? How do I make sure my kids are able to understand the reality and all that prey on them as black young men in America while still protecting their innocence, their hope and letting them keep a glimmer of the vulnerability they need to keep them undistorted in how they perceive their world?
I must admit, no we have not had “the talk” with our sons yet. For one I think 6 years old is too young for that conversation and secondly the eldest just turned 10 and so we are now approaching the time to have that conversation. Obviously as a mother to two beautiful black little men I am aware of the importance and of the fact that the conversation must be had, however as a mom I want to protect their innocence for as long as possible. Don’t get it twisted I do believe that to let them enter the world on their own without the insight that the chips are stacked against them would be cruel and would be a failure on my part as a parent. I dare to say that it would set them up for failure. When you enter the game knowing it’s rigged against you, it causes you to switch up how you play your hand. That’s just wisdom, and I would never deny my children that.
However, I feel ill-equipped. I feel that while there is plenty information on the need to have the talk, and pointers on what to say, there is a lack of information on how to present the information in a manner that safe guards their innocence. There is so much out there on how and when to tell your kids that Santa isn’t real but not anything I’ve come across on how to basically tell your children America hates you and is out to get you.
Or is that just the case? That there is no way to have the talk while also keeping their innocence intact? If so, when is the right age? The right time? How do parents like myself equip ourselves with the right tools and information to guide us through “The Talk”?
Have you had “The Talk” with your kids? How did it go? Do you have any advice? Let’s have a conversation about this. Comment below.