What I told my son
My two now-grown children were teens in the 1990s. We lived in Carbondale, IL at the time. There were two sides of town the black east side and the white west side. When I went to rent the woman tried to steer me to the black side but I told her I was a grad student and needed a quiet place. So, we ended up on the white side of town, mostly, and my kids went to a mostly white high school and their friends were white and black.
I recall telling my son not to bring home any babies out of wedlock. That to have fun but to graduate high school. Be a child when you are a child and a teen when a teen and when a man be a man.
I warned him that if he did not live right that the only choices for a bad black boy were either death or prison. My son did go astray for a while dropping out of high school and committing petty crimes that landed him in jail. We laugh about it now because when the jailers told him to call me and come and get him because they told him “you don’t belong here.” He told them she won’t come to St. Louis and get me, I was living in Chicago at the time and my transmission had gone out in the car and I had a new job. Yup they called and I said no I won’t come and get him.
They said what if we put him on a train will you pick him up at the station. I said of course. So my former mother in law and I drove and picked him up. It was unprecedented for them to send a child home with a ticket home with all charges dropped against him.
He went astray but was saved and now lives a happy life, successful life with his wife and three kids.
I was a model mother in that I told my kids I was their role model. Of course I never had drugs, had men living with me, or alcohol or cigarettes around them. But I never told my son to act a certain way in public because he was black. Since he has fair skin, green eyes, and sandy hair when young he was often mistaken for white or biracial.
After returning to Chicago in 1995 (he returned to high school in the very area where Obama was doing his community organizing!), where my kids lived most of their lives among enlightened blacks. For me the thought never crossed my mind that anyone other than some black thugs who were jealous of the way the men in our family looked and were girl magnets, were to be feared.
Fear of whites harming them because they were “black” was absolutely never an issue and was never discussed. Why? Because most of my friends were white and my children saw me associate with blacks and whites equally and in an intimate fashion as close friends who traveled together and shared hotel rooms etc.
My children today are well rounded and both married tall, dark, handsome people from Mississippi.
- Black parents live in fear after Trayvon Martin case (ajc.com)
- Should White Parents also have “the Talk”? (mommymanders.com)
- What Happens to Children Born to Adolescents (gofishministries.wordpress.com)