OPINION: Dear God, I pray, I can’t breathe . . . either
This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
I have three sons and two daughters. I worry about my children, as every parent does, but I will never know what it’s like to worry about a son the way a black mother worries about her child.
I will never have to tell my sons that they should never, and I mean never wear a hoodie, especially at night, for reasons they won’t understand. I will never have to tell them that just jogging at night could threaten their lives. It would be safer for them to run in a gym. I will not have to tell them that they will likely be pulled over way more often than their white peers, and they cannot – CANNOT – get upset when the officer approaches them, or they will go to jail. When they get pulled over, they need to have their hands on the steering wheel and refer to the officer with absolute respect if they want to drive away.
I will never have to tell my sons that people will sometimes clutch their purses when they see my boys because they’re afraid my sons might try to steal from them. When my sons look at me with incredulity and say, “But I’d never do that Mom,” I will never have to say, “I know you won’t, but it doesn’t matter. They think you will because of the color of your skin. It’s not your fault.” I will not have to tell them the story of our former president who was followed by a security guard in a shopping center when he was younger. His crime? Shopping while black.
I will worry about my sons and daughters as long as I’m alive, but there are a hundred – a thousand – things I will never have to worry about.
Tonight, as I think about the mother of George Floyd, the man who was suffocated by police in Minneapolis. I know she had these conversations with him. I want all mothers in the world to weep for her and her unfathomable loss.
And not just mothers. I invite you to join me, not in weeping, but in talking to your children and peers. We are failing somehow, failing miserably, in removing the cancer of racism from this country.
I believe racist beliefs are born at home, born around the dinner table and in front of the television, overheard from moms and dads talking to each other. We are failing failing failing, and we have to do better, if not for our generation, for our children’s. We want a better world for them, do we not? That better world most assuredly would be one where we did not fear or loathe our brothers and sisters based on their skin color.
Dear God, I pray, I can’t breathe . . .either.
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