I’m not a mother. But with the untimely and horrific death of unarmed Trayvon Martin against an armed neighborhood watchman, every woman’s heart should be just a little broken. I’m certain that every mother has lain awake at night wondering where her son is. Is he safe? Is he out doing something that she taught him not to do? Is he laying on the side of a road hurt from a car accident or some other mishap? Does that sound familiar mothers? Every mother of a teenage son has experienced those sleepless, fearful nights.
But black mothers have a very unique fear that other mothers simply don’t have: the fear that their son will meet his demise not because of something he has done, but simply because of the color of his skin.
The Trayvon Martin case shows that America still has a grudge against black males. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with how the child was raised; how mannerable or dismannerable he may be; or his criminal record or lack thereof. It’s all about what a black man in America represents… yes, that negative stereotype. The negative image of black men in America is so dark and deep-rooted, that even other immigrants, and other black men in positions of authority, can’t ignore it.
White and other non-black mothers probably have never even considered having ‘the talk’. Now, they probably have had a talk. Like don’t get caught up with the wrong girl. Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd. No drinking. Just say no. But few, if any, have had ‘the talk’. The one that instructs boys what to do and what not to do, when he is stopped by the police or another authority figure. The talk that shares the precautionary talk of how his uncle was beat down when he was stopped. The talk that tells how his great great granddaddy lost his life. Yeah, that kind of talk. The dreaded but necessary talk.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about ‘the talk’. I think there is a fine line between the talk being a necessary protective lesson and indoctrinating or brainwashing a child… putting something in his head (discrimination) that may not be there. But with cases like Trayvon Martin’s, I guess we can’t do away with ‘the talk’ just yet.
The Trayvon Martin case should be a wake-up call to all mothers, not just black mothers. It is a travesty for any mother to have to bury her child, especially over senseless violence. White mothers, stand with your sisters. Stand up for motherhood. Stand tall and strong like a mama grizzly protecting her young. Because even though you may not share the same fear as your black counterpart, you actually do. The fear of burying your son far too soon.