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Trayvon Martin Forces Many to Face Biggest Fear as Mothers of African American Boys

Posted by on Jul. 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM
  • 28 Replies
2 moms liked this

Trayvon Martin Has Forced Me to Face My Biggest Fear as the Mother of an African American Boy

by Ericka Sóuter

little boyGeorge Zimmerman's trial may be over, but the wounds left in its wake are still here. What has happened is especially painful to think about as a parent of an African American boy. It's unbelievable that someone can just walk away scot-free after killing a young, unarmed teen. Shocking. Chilling. Heartbreaking. Though, more so than the not guilty verdict itself is what the conclusion of this trial tells the world. Perhaps no one put it better than Trayvon Martin's own mother.

Speaking out for the first time, Sybrina Fulton told NBC's Today:

Sending a terrible message to other little black and brown boys -- that you can't walk fast, you can't walk slow. So what do they do? I mean, how do you get home without people knowing or either assuming that you're doing something wrong? Trayvon wasn't doing anything wrong.

It really is a frightening reality that few of us know how to prepare our children for. So what are we parents to do? My husband and I have given this a lot of thought in recent days. As soon as our son, now 5, is a few years older, we will have to tell him that there are times he will be judged unfairly because of the way he looks. That because he is black, his life could be put in danger even if he has done nothing wrong. We don't want to terrify him, but we can't have him walking around blind to the realities of this world. Just the thought of this conversation overwhelms me with sadness. 

But let's be honest here. It's not just wannabe vigilantes like George Zimmerman that pose a threat. Police profiling certainly can play a dangerous part too. There have been numerous cases of cops stopping or harassing black men who turn out to be innocent of any wrongdoing. When I was growing up and even today, friends and family members called it, "Driving while black." It's the notion that because of your skin color, you are more likely to be pulled over. It happens to everyone -- doctors, lawyers, even politicians of color. Years ago, a family friend and his son were stopped by police and beaten so badly he was hospitalized for days. It was a case of mistaken identity.

Reportedly, Lavar Burton takes his hat off and says "Sir" whenever he is pulled over by the cops. But is this capitulation for the sake of survival really fair? Of course not. I have a hard time accepting that I should have to teach my son to treat a racist with reverence just so that he may live. That is just infuriating. That whole concept is just infuriating.

It's incredible to me that we are still asking the world to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Martin Luther King, Jr. must be rolling over in his grave. We have come so far in many ways, but are still far behind in ones that matter. This just feels like a game we cannot win. I am raising my child to be a hardworking, educated, ethical human being. Sadly, that just won't be what some will see.

What will you tell your children about what happened to Trayvon Martin?

by on Jul. 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MomTiara19
by Bronze Member on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:07 AM
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Although I live in a predominately white neighborhood.I do not fear for my son walking down the street.Luckily the majority of people I know see trouble for what it is and not a character profile sketch.

Yet in the aftermath of Trayvons death I would say this to my son:

I would tell him to walk away from a unknown stalker at a fast pace(not run because he may be thought of as a thief)and try and call for help on his cell phone,or yell for help on the street.My hope is that the authorities would come or a resident may hear him scream.

I would be afraid for him to knock on a door because they probably would not open the door out of fear.Therefore more profiling that could lead to him being hurt.

If my son was confronted by a police officer.I know he would be polite and hopefully the officer would use proper protocol.

T-HoneyLuv
by on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:08 AM
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I am raising two " brown " boys and the fear is definately there. I have seen racial profiling with my own eyes and it disgusts me. My kids know what happened with TM and I have told them that this world can be a dangerous and cruel place. I cannot keep my kids from being " black " nor would I want to but they need to be aware that certain people will view them as threats simply because of the color of their skin. I will NOT however let the ignorance and hatred of some keep my kids from living the life God gave them. Period.
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momto3infl
by on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:10 AM

 The truth-other than my oldest who was out west with her venture crew my younger 2 watched the trial with my dad.  They saw the evidence and made their own opinions about the whole case. 

tooptimistic
by Kelly on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:34 AM
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Now CafeMom is race baiting. Ooookay.

Every mother's greatest fear is losing her child.  It is not a color thing.


What will I tell my children? If someone is following you to call 9/11. To run. To yell and scream and make as much noise as you can to attract noise. To call me or their father. To run to a well lit place.
krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM
My children are, by default and society, black. Technically, they're multi-racial, but they're black.

This entire situation broke my heart and gave me significant pause. My children are loved and treasured by many people. But they have also been made to feel different, they've heard themselves be pointed out as different and "other". That's just how it is, and I have to prepare them to live in a world where racism lingers on in many subtle (and not so subtle) ways.

krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM
Are you raising young black men?

Unfortunately, it sometimes is a color thing. Racism is not dead, and having to find ways to deal with that adds another layer of fear and difficultly to parenting.


Quoting tooptimistic:

Now CafeMom is race baiting. Ooookay.

Every mother's greatest fear is losing her child.  It is not a color thing.




What will I tell my children?

If someone is following you to call 9/11. To run. To yell and scream and make as much noise as you can to attract noise. To call me or their father. To run to a well lit place.
candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM
2 moms liked this

I agree, this is a fear of every parent, not just an african american parent.

Quoting tooptimistic:

Now CafeMom is race baiting. Ooookay.

Every mother's greatest fear is losing her child.  It is not a color thing.


What will I tell my children? If someone is following you to call 9/11. To run. To yell and scream and make as much noise as you can to attract noise. To call me or their father. To run to a well lit place.


mommyinthe303
by Member on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:54 AM

I have a mixed son and although he is very light complexed I am a bit fearful. I can understand this to the fullest. It scares me that my son can be walking home and someone think he is up to no good. I pray for him.

angelachristine
by Bronze Member on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:58 AM
1 mom liked this
Yet if it had happened to a white child I doubt the outcome would have been the same.


Quoting candlegal:

I agree, this is a fear of every parent, not just an african american parent.

Quoting tooptimistic:

Now CafeMom is race baiting. Ooookay.

Every mother's greatest fear is losing her child.  It is not a color thing.




What will I tell my children?

If someone is following you to call 9/11. To run. To yell and scream and make as much noise as you can to attract noise. To call me or their father. To run to a well lit place.



krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Jul. 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Race still matters in this society, unfortunately, whether you want to admit it or not.

Unless one is open and really willing to try to understand, its not easy to understand what it's like raising young black men in this world, having to hear people point out or say ridiculous things to your child solely because of the color of their skin, ti watch your children be constantly made to feel different, to hear the word ni***r and know that the history and violence of that word is directed at them.

As an anthropologist, I know for a fact it's completely possible for any person to put themselves in the shoes of people who are different. But the first step has to be opening your eyes

Quoting candlegal:I agree, this is a fear of every parent, not just an african american parent.Quoting tooptimistic:Now CafeMom is race baiting. Ooookay.Every mother's greatest fear is losing her child.  It is not a color thing.

What will I tell my children?

If someone is following you to call 9/11. To run. To yell and scream and make as much noise as you can to attract noise. To call me or their father. To run to a well lit place.
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