Illustration by Edel Rodriguez
Every time I hear of an unarmed black person being murdered it saddens me to my core. Usually, my coping mechanism is to numb my feelings out. The feelings that arise are so unpleasant. I tend to turn them off and shutdown, but last night my way of coping didn’t work.
A friend of mine posted an article by Georgina Dukes on Facebook titled, “When My Beautiful Black Boy Grows from Cute to a Threat”. The article hit me like a ton of bricks. The hard exterior I had put up just came crumbling down. My feelings started to overflow and all I could feel was downright anxious, scared, and defeated.
Being the wife of a black man comes with its fair share of responsibilities. It is my job to not only love Robert endlessly, but to also always listen, empathize, and encourage him when the pressure of society leaves him feeling unheard or unsupported. Being a black man in America can feel like a never-ending struggle. He is often the only black person at the executive table in the workplace. Or one of few black men in our neighborhood. The minuscule things he and his other close black male friends have to think about saddens me. Like when he says “I don’t feel safe jogging my neighborhood at night.” or comments like “ I should put my hood down so people can see my face.”
As a biracial woman, Robert’s experiences and what Micah will likely encounter is something I can’t fully relate to. As Micah grows up, I am so glad he will have the guidance of us both (especially Robert) to help him navigate the hardships he may face. Even though I can’t fully understand the weight Robert carries on his shoulders every day, I will still continue to do my job. Which is to be strong for him, to listen to him, support him, and continue to make sure he knows how loved and cherished he is.
I wish I could protect both of them from how ignorant and unfair society can be. I know there will be a day when Micah realizes he’s “black” and that he cannot function in our society the same way his white friends can. That he must always follow all of the rules and that he needs to be extra aware of how he presents himself to the world. I pray that when the time comes for us to have “the talk” with him he knows how special and important he is. When the time comes that he is no longer seen as this adorable kid with dimples and is seen as a potential threat I hope he doesn’t live in fear. I hope he remembers our words. That he is significant, valued, and so, so loved.
If you are reading this and wondering what you can do to support the black people in your life, don’t be afraid to ask us how we are doing. I’ve had several people reach out to me asking how I am coping with everything that is going on and it has meant so much to me.
You can support us by continuing to educate yourself. Learn and understand any biases you may have – conscious or subconscious. Speak up when you see something you don’t agree with, have conversations at the dinner table with your children about how important it is to be an advocate for other people of color, to fight for justice, equality, and peace, sign petitions, peacefully protest and most importantly vote. Vote with both the majority and the minority in mind, so that we can continue on this path toward a better future for the next generation, including our Micah’s of the world.
Thank you for reading,