Like most nights I went up to my bedroom to watch the 11:00 pm news to find that George Floyd had been murdered by overseers, you may call them officers, but I will not until there is change in this country.
I sat in shock once again, devasted, deflated in tears. I didn’t realize my ten-year-old Sun had been also watching the news downstairs, and yes, I spell Son “Sun” because he is just that, my Sun.
My Sun ran up to my room sobbing asking why this keeps happening! We cried together. I apologized that he had to live in a world where black lives don’t matter to many, and he asked what he can do to make it better. I simply said talk to your friends about racism, antiracism, how it makes you feel, and why they need to be kind to all people no matter the race.
I should mention that I had started the talk with my Sun around 9 years old. That “talk” is not the same “talk” that people that are not of color have, but the talk you have when you are the parent of a black boy. Our talk is completely different and is complicated for a child to digest but very necessary. Our talk consists of–you cannot behave the same way as your white friends when you are out in the streets:
- Don’t put your hands in your pocket
- Don’t stare at white women
- Don’t put your hoodie on
- Don’t ride with the music loud
- If a cop talks disrespectfully to you even if for no reason don’t talk back just compromise
- Don’t touch anything you are not buying
- Never leave a store without a receipt
- Always check in with me even if down the street
- Don’t be out too late
- Don’t get in any altercations
- Don’t be outside without a shirt
- Never leave without ID; If you get pulled over, hands on the dashboard and ask permission to get the documents
- Don’t use slang
These are just some of the things that are discussed when we have the ongoing “talk.” And to white folks, you don’t have to have this same conversation and that is a privilege that should be acknowledged.
If you claim to be an ally, share this list with your kids that hang out with black kids and other minorities so that they are on the same page and can behave accordingly in support of their black friends.
My daughter asked does this happen to black women too, and I said, “Sadly all too often it just doesn’t make the nightly news because we are an afterthought.”
Many people have said all lives matter, but to those people honestly, your lives have always mattered and ours have never mattered since the days we were brought here during the transatlantic slave trade. When we say black lives matter, it is not saying that other lives don’t matter. I have had white allies reach out to me and ask what they can do very apologetically. I say stand up with us, stand up on the front lines, stand up for new reform, do your own research and don’t sit until there is change because our lives are in danger – My brothers, my cousin, my nephew’s lives are in danger.
My heart is broken, and I am angry, but I still have hope because I am the mother of an African American SUN, and his life matters.
SAY their names!
George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN
Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY
Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, GA
Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL
Dion Johnson in Phoenix, AZ
Trayvon Martin in Stanford, Florida
For more information
This blog was written by guest author, Akua Ajarko. Akua is the Coordinator of the Member and Family Satisfaction Team in Delaware County, which is a program of Voice and Vision, Inc. You can read more about Akua on the Staff page of the Voice and Vision website.
Pictured in cover photo is Akua’s Sun, Thomas McCluskey.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed by the authors on the blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Voice and Vision, Inc. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.