When parents find out that they are expecting they are ecstatic. When men find out they are having a son the joy is remarkable. Men will feel they have that male child to continue the last name! A mother-son bond is so special, it is almost unexplainable. Parents are preparing their male children for sports, music lessons, handy work, and protectors. Our brown boys are the cutest babies, so innocent and sweet. These are the things that we think about when we have a “Black male child.” When as a parent do we say our boys have gone from cute, handsome, strong, loving, a protector, to a threat to society?
I remember the first time I realized someone had seen my “Black son” as a threat. He was working late at a fast-food place; He would catch the bus to work and because he would get off work at midnight, I would pick him up from work. Well, me being a single parent, hating to pump gas, I decided to get gas when I picked my son up from work. We went to the 24-hour gas station. The AM/PM, he went inside and paid for the gas. When he came back out, I decided I wanted something a snack. When he tried to go back in, he said, “mom they are closed, the door is locked.” I then got out of the car because I knew we were at a 24-hour store, and I looked to see if someone was inside. This is when I realized this lady thought my son might hurt her. Him not knowing and just being innocent he thought the store closed. My heart broke! Because he still had a babyface, he was tall and black. The lady inside got scared. Me knowing my son’s mannerisms I know he said please and thank you. This was his first job, and he was with his mother helping me, so I did not have to pump my own gas. I realized then people will see him as a threat and not my handsome young man.
When my son was young, he tried everything, basketball, football, baseball, He played two different instruments and participated in church. I kept my son busy when he was young. His dream was to be a police officer or a wrestler I always said I am my son’s number 1 fan. As we got older, I had to sit him down and talk to him about how people will see him and how hard it is for him as a Black male. I had this talk when he was in his teens, but these talks must take place sooner than the teenage years. These conversations are difficult for a mother to have with her son. You do not want your child to be paranoid, however, our Black males must be aware. Therefore, it is so important to have a Black male presence in the Black male child’s life. I had to have these conversations by myself with my son. As a mother/woman, we do not fully grasp what it is like for the Black male. However, we need to educate our Black boys.
I heard a saying years ago that you cry when a baby is born and have joy when someone dies. When I asked for an explanation, the answer was: You cry because the child is coming into a crazy world. The person who dies does not suffer any longer. I never realized what my son would have to endure when he was born. I worry more about him now that he is a young adult than I did when he was younger. I raised him to be respectful, well-mannered, and intelligent.
Raising Black boys into men we need to equip them for this road that they will have to face. Our Black males need to feel empowered and know their strength, and worth. We need to encourage our Black males to take more leadership roles so there can be a difference in this world.