A while back, I made a post talking about why I don’t want to have children, even though I want to have children.
One of the things I said was, “I’m scared that I’ll have a boy, and he’ll grow up, and the police will look at him and treat him like a criminal for no reason other than the fact that he’s walking down the street.”
Another thing I said was: “I’m scared that they might not even make it to their 16th birthday because a cop wanted to abuse their power while making snap assumptions based on the color of their skin. I’m absolutely terrified at the thought of my own kids dying or being brutalized because they happened to be in the wrong place with the wrong skin.
And ever since the day I learned of Trayvon Martin, I’ve been thinking about my own fear. I’ve been thinking about it in context of any children I may or may not ever end up having one day.
But more, I’ve been thinking about it in context of all of the Black boys and men in my life. Every little boy I passed on the street today, I wanted to hug. I wanted to pull them close and tell them that they were precious. That they were beautiful. I never planned to say anything to any of them. What ended up coming out of my mouth before I could stop myself was, “Be careful.”
Be careful. Because just walking home, carrying your lacrosse equipment could get you killed.
Be careful. Because playing dodgeball with your friends could leave you being the next face to not show up on the news.
Your skin is a target, and they’re watching your every move, waiting for the moment when they can pull the trigger and justify themselves for doing it.
Be careful. Because you can do just what a white kid would, but it’ll look like a threat because your skin is darker.
Be careful. You could die. And I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it if your beautiful, brown, smiling face were to suddenly be made slack because someone mistook your childhood innocence for a threat.