Angry Black Mom: Is It Just Me?

I love my blogosphere of moms – we are of all opinions, nationalities and backgrounds! We connect, relate, and uplift each other on our journeys and experiences through motherhood. It’s my online utopia.

But in reality right now, I’m hurt and I’m angry.

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest – Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

For the second time this year, two white men deemed it their liberty to shoot and kill young black boys in “self- defense” in the same state I take my two Black boys to visit their grandparents. Two young boys who were unarmed and almost half the age of their killers somehow instilled fear in these armed White men and were thus gunned down.

I’m sure you remember Trayvon Martin, who was armed with only a bag of Skittles and a tea and yet was gunned down by George Zimmerman. And then, a couple of weeks ago, it was Jordan Davis playing his music too loud in a convenience store parking lot that attracted Michael Dunn who shot his hand-gun 8-9 times into Jordan’s SUV. 

When Trayvon was killed, African-Americans were so stunned by the audacity of it all, we wore hoodies, bought Skittles and rallied for weeks until Zimmerman was arrested. With the death of Jordan, I’m hard-pressed to find much conversation on the matter. And now Zimmerman is making money off of his signature to support his legal defense. His signature.   

There’s just no stock or value in the lives of our young Black boys and I’m disgusted.

These were two boys still matriculating through high school, when the graduation rate for African-American males is only 52% . Two boys whose moms were doing the best they could to raise their sons – like I am. They probably struggled to potty train them (like I have), kissed their cheeks (like I do), found a way to pay for sports gear (like I have), and poured into them dreams and aspirations to do something with their lives (like I try to). 

But how are we supposed to protect our Black sons? Do you tell them things, like how to act around strange white men – say yes sir and no sir. Look them in the eye. Don’t look them in the eye. Call 911, don’t talk back … because a law allows crazy white men to own guns and shoot you in self-defense of their own ignorance. 

Black boys kill Black boys too. I still grieve for Bobby Douglas who was senselessly beaten to death by other Black boys – one of whom will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Recently, there was a show that aired on TV One (‘where Black life unfolds’) called Save My Son that cast a positive image on the value of young Black males. Educator and author, Dr. Steve Perry reached out to Black boys who had fallen through the cracks and were making bad, life-impacting decisions that could end their life and the lives of others. Yet, Dr. Perry – along with athletes, entertainers, and community volunteers – gave these boys options. He gave them LIFE. SMS

Now, the life of this movement is in danger of being snuffed out. I guess riveting, compelling, REAL Black family drama that may SAVE our sons just doesn’t sell as much as reality shows about glorified rappers with lyrics talking about killing our sons. That’s confusing.

So, where does that leave moms of Black boys? As a Black mom to two sons, what can I do?

My husband and I will continue to pray our boys, invest in them, sacrifice for them and guide them the best we can.

I’ll lobby to alleviate the Stand Your Ground law.
I’ll sign a petition to save – Save My Son.
I’ll do whatever work in the community I can.

However, when my boys become teenagers and walk the streets of their own neighborhood or play music at a convenience store, they’ll be viewed as men. And someone – perhaps even another father – will look at my child and not see the lifelong investment and value. And that someone may even have a gun and governance that would justify him using that gun.

And that makes me an angry Black mom.

Is it just me?


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20 Comments

  1. Good post, Angry Black Mom!

    No ma’am…It is not you.

    The SYG law puts young black kids lives in danger.It’s an excuse to kill and get away it.

    It needs to be GONE!

    Michael Vick went to prison for killing a dog but we stood in horror as Trayvon Martin was gunned down carrying only candy and a drink and the murdering slug was allowed to go home and roam the streets freely for 44 days. If it wasn’t for the national outcry, George Zimmerman would not have been charged. I can hardly wait until he is tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for his failed miserable life.

    Protesting The Killing of Trayvon Martin

    http://youtu.be/utVcdh93sOE

    • Thanks for the comments – it’s piercing when you compare it to Michael Vick – ouch! I hadn’t thought about it like that but you’re right. Whew! Great video – I feel like we’ve got to keep this issue alive on social media.

  2. I really like your post and will be following your blog. As the mother of a son, although mine is 25, I feel your pain. While it saddens me that people seem to value a dog’s life more than that of a black boy, it also pisses me off. I was so heartbroken and ticked off in fact I turned down an opportunity to appear on a Huffington Post webcast to speak on the situation. The pain of yet another black boy gunned down for no other reason than existing was too much to orally articulate. All we can do is what we can do to shed light on this dire situation.
    Take care

    • Thank you soo much for your comment! You know when Trayvon Martin was killed, I couldn’t even write my feelings about it – so I understand. But when it happened again – I had to say something. It literally takes my breath away. And now I think it’s up to us to keep this alive using social media and whatever other means. We can’t let this die. Thanks again!

  3. I hear so many say that “race” isn’t an issue any more. I feel this is naive and dangerous. If we don’t acknowledge that there are people who are dangerous and have little care about these young men. They only see their color and ignorance.

    As a teacher, I sometimes feel lost for my boys. There are a few in particular that seem to be falling through the cracks. The ones that I’m speaking of don’t have loving parents guiding them. They live in neighborhoods where the easy way seems to be the only way. It is heartbreaking. I try to plant seeds. I pray for them often. I try to speak as many encouraging and positive words in their lives as I can. But I absolutely cannot protect them from the ignorance that is in this world. And that is devastating to me.

    • Thank you for the comment! I hate this helpless feeling the most! I figure the least we can do is to keep this issue alive in social media and wherever else. Thanks for doing what you can as a teacher! What grade do you teach? Have you seen Save My Son? It’s interesting to see how some boys don’t value their own lives either?

  4. I’m going to post your article far and wide. I’ve already tweeted it and will repeat it. We have to keep shining the light on this issue.

  5. Save my future sons.
    It sad that my mom had to teach my brother how to act around whites. Say yes sir, no sir, in a case of hostility just walk away, never walk in nobody yard. Appreciate your post.

    • Yes it is sad – it bothers me that I guess I’ll have to do the same… and it hadn’t occurred to me till this year that I would have to. Thank you much!!

  6. I came across your post and it really spoke to me. I am a mother of two Black sons myself. One is 7 and the other 15 months. I do a lot of praying for them.

  7. As a Mother of a boy, these stories are what keep me up at night and spawn long talks between me and my husband.
    All I can do is pray. It sometimes pisses me off when people meet my son and say how cute/smart/adorable he is. Because I think 10-15 years from now if he’s walking down the street with his friends you’ll probably cross to avoid him or clutch your purse.
    He’s the same boy my husband and I are raising to be a responsible little boy.
    But ignorance is sooo *bleeping* pervasive that it scares the crap out of me.
    I’m angry too. Thanks for writing this and being a voice for us.

    • Joyce! Thank you! Yes – it is scary that he’ll be viewed as a man and even be confronted by MEN when he is still a scared, growing child on the inside. It’s not a fair fight! And it makes me angry that we have to be scared. Thanks for the comment and I can’t wait to hook up with you tomorrow!

  8. I have 2 sons. When they got their drivers license, we had the talk on how to behave IF ever stopped by the police. I pounded it into their heads because I was frightened beyond description. As a mother of black boys, I am tired of living in fear.

    1. Do what the officer tells you.
    2. Keep your hands on the wheel.
    3. Make no sudden moves.
    4. Please use Yes sir & No sir

    For young black boys this could mean the difference between life or death.

  9. I’m an angry white mom. The fact that in 2012, race is ever, EVER an issue, is deplorable. My heart hurts for you, and every mom, who not only have to worry about the myriad of things we moms worry about, but also the fact that your kids’ melanin concentration – because that’s what brings on those judgments, a silly molecule in one’s skin – could put them in danger. I also hope that kids who are being taught how to “act around whites” are also being taught that it isn’t our being white that makes us dangerous, it’s their being ignorant, hateful people. I love this post. Keep telling it like it is.

    • Hello! Thanks for the comment and your encouragement! And the men who shot these boys are not even that old either. I really appreciate you commenting.

  10. The sad part is, even taking the social inequities into account, most populations (considered a traditional minority…or not) can, and are, fighting similar fights.

    This is the sad part of the downward spiral of humanity and respect.

    You write, “There’s just no stock or value in the lives of our young Black boys and I’m disgusted.”

    The problem at hand isn’t just the stock of young Black boys, the issue is a completely neglect of respect for those that are perceived as different, misunderstood, overlooked, a majority, a minority, White, Latino, and the list goes on.

    When we start to function from an ethnorelative perspective the world immediately becomes a better place.

    I totally get the issue…and I completely agree.

    But – it is only a short-sited view of the problem (although short-sited may be much easier to solve than the bigger issue at hand)..and until we begin to recognize the global short, crap and injustice and overall complete disregard for people and individuals will continue on a perpetuate the downward spiral of reality.

    • Hello! Thank you for stopping by and sharing… it is a global issue on some levels… but it’s also very different and not as fixable as you would think although I wish it were. Thanks again!

      • Interesting perspective.

        And somewhat sad that you think that it isn’t fixable. Perhaps that is part of the problem…too many people like you think that problems don’t have solutions.

        I’d agree that there is no “easy” solution…but there absolutely are solutions. They take work, investment, time, resources and a whole heck of a lot of flexibility and open-mindedness and a change in world view. It is totally possible – it has happened before. And perhaps you can’t revitalize the world…but if you start small and start revitalizing someone’s world…you have, indeed, started the ripple that can make this problem start to diminish.

        But – hey…who am I?

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