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Cute Little Black Boys Do Grow Up To Be Black Men, PART II — And Now, They Are Ten

Posted by | November 25, 2014 | BAMBINOS | 275 Comments

ko 1

Owen & Kyle, Fall 2014, age 10

* * *

Today, we are dealing with the Ferguson decision. It is another sad, sad day for mamas of black boys. Deeply demoralized and shaking scared, we keep on fiercely loving them, and wait and hope for the world to see them as we do.

Today, I received a steady little flow of email from around the world, telling me how much my blog posts over the years are helping to navigate the rocky terrain of thinking through — and talking through with others — the Ferguson decision. That’s pretty humbling in the face of my own uncertainty.

Today, I picked up my beautiful boys from school (4th grade! times two!), sat with them to do their homework (long division! similes and metaphors!), made them a favorite dinner (salmon! green beans!), and tucked them into bed. Each day is such a blessing.

Today, my son Owen saw the front page of the New York Times and asked me, point blank: “Was the guy who was killed black or white?” I had to say, “Black.” If you could have seen the look on his gorgeous soft brown face, you would have felt just as sick to your stomach as I did in that moment. He knows. If you loved my boy — even a little bit — then the look in his deep dark eyes would have tortured your heart and soul just as much as it did mine. I swear it. You’d be inhuman to not feel the pain of it.

Five years ago I wrote this post:


The summer that I wrote that, Kyle and Owen were five years old. Gosh, they were cute at age five! And as toddlers?! Oh my goodness gracious land sakes alive, they were so very, very downright undeniably adorable! I could not get through an aisle of the grocery store with my two-too-cute-toddlers without at least one (but usually several) people stopping me to “ooooh!” and “aaaah!” over my sweet baby boys. Everyone (not just me) thought they were “ADORABLE!!!” The fact is, they were.

o and k apples 1

Today, they are ten. When you read the post from 2009 you will understand the significance of ten.


Ten year old twin boys. Here we are. They are all energy all the time. They are larger than life. They are AMAZING. They are getting a handle on the world. And, just as we knew it would, sure enough, the world is getting a handle on them.

It is hard, this thing. We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t help. It is like a storm that you know is rolling in. You first just hear the forecast (and maybe wonder if it is true), then you feel it brewing in the air (and know it is to be), then you see it with your very own eyes (the sky turns grey, the clouds take over, the wind starts whipping). You can get ready, you can prepare, if you are lucky (or privileged, as the case may be) then you can even take cover (we are privileged; we work hard to provide as much shelter as every single resource available to us will allow). You can hunker down and you can do everything right. But it doesn’t stop the storm from coming. It just rolls right in. It is bigger than us. It is more powerful than us. We are just there, relatively defenseless to its forces, attempting to cope as best we can. Hoping we are still standing for it to leave us in its wake.

That’s how it feels right now, at ten.

Right now, I’m just hoping and praying and wishing and trying-to-believe that we’ll somehow be the lucky ones — the parents of black boys who are lucky enough to watch them grow up and still be standing in its wake some day. I’m scared to hope for too much, but maybe someday we’ll be talking together about the challenges of raising their children, our grandchildren.

For now, for today, we are just trying to get through this. This period of time when we watch as our precious sons grow out of being cute little black boys in the eyes of the world. They grow up to be black men. Trust me, it is hard to watch.

In some ways, like all ten-year-olds, they are still so little.

a beautiful twin boys

Except, that they are not.


In addition to being ten, Kyle and Owen are big. They are just about the same height as me, and their feet are bigger than mine. They wear size 14 clothes, and their strong, athletic muscles are rippling.

We’ve hit the turning point. I’ve watched it happen. I’ve witnessed it first-hand. Over the past several months my sweet little adorable babies went from being perceived as just that, to being perceived just as I’ve long dreaded.

It has started.

I’ve been in the store and watched from a short distance as they’ve been followed. (Yes, already.)

I’ve heard it over the intercom system: “Security Alert. Section C. Security Alert.” (Yes, already.)

I’ve stood behind them as they’ve been stopped in line, being perfectly obedient, but being questioned. (Yes, already.)

I’ve watched as they’ve been wrongly accused. As the worst has been wrongly assumed. As the fault has been wrongly blamed.

The looks. The hesitation. The ever-so-slight facial expressions. The too-quick-to-judge.

It has only just begun.

It doesn’t matter that they go to an elite private school.


It doesn’t matter that they are straight-A students.

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It doesn’t matter that they have white parents.


It doesn’t matter that they are well-travelled, worldly, well-dressed, polished, polite, poised. It doesn’t matter that their vocabulary is incredibly well-developed, that they have eaten in fine restaurants, have met famous authors, have seen world-class performances, know the names of the classic European composers and philosophers, know how to shake a hand and look someone in the eye and use their best manners when needed. It doesn’t matter that they are cloaked with class privilege and all of the advantages that go with it.

Family Pic

It doesn’t matter that they are gorgeous and charming and organically charismatic. It doesn’t matter that they are gifted and talented and have off-the-chart-IQs and that the world should be their oyster. It doesn’t matter. Still, they are followed, suspected, questioned, accused, judged, and — yes, already — feared. They are black. They are ten.

Maybe you think I’m crazy to say this. Maybe. Maybe you should try being the mother of ten-year-old black boys for a little while, and then see what you think.

You can’t write me off as an “angry black woman” because I’m not black. I am angry. And I am a woman. But I’ll tell you this: I’m white, I grew up around white people, I know white culture, I am embedded in whiteness. And what I see, feel, witness, and experience… it is real. If there is anything I know, it is that I know this is real. You can’t tell me it isn’t true because I am an insider and I know it is true.

My sons, no matter how authentically fantastic they are, are still black. They can’t get away with experimenting with how they dress, and they definitely can’t play with guns (at least not outside the walls of our home; their safe space, their oasis).

1 a black boys

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We can’t let them experiment too much, we can’t let them take many chances. We don’t have that luxury. Because they’re black. We have to tell them the truth: you’ll be judged quicker, you’ll be perceived more harshly, keep your hands out of your pockets, keep your hood down, no fast movements, never run, racism exists and it isn’t to be messed around with. We’ve got your back, but even we can only do so much. We are limited in how much we can protect you. No matter how much we try, no matter how much we love you, no matter how precious you are to us, no matter.

My sons are growing up to be black men. And they need to be prepared for what they could (almost certainly, will) encounter. We’d be gravely, woefully, unforgivingly failing them if we weren’t to prepare them for reality. At ten, they are in process. And it is heart-wrenching. Because I know the truth. I know that even though they’re black boys sporting hard-core bball jerseys, with biceps that are already popping, and locs that are getting long, they are also sweet, kitten-loving, nurturing, fragile spirits with hearts and souls of pure gold.


I know that even though they are ten-year-old black boys, they are still my babies.


But the world doesn’t see them as I do. No matter how perfectly they present themselves, no matter how spectacular they are, they will be disproportionately extremely LESS SAFE than if they were white. Kyle and Owen’s stellar reputations and hard-earned achievements and family-privilege will not necessarily get them as far as they choose or could go. Because the world might just choose for them and against them — in ways that would simply not occur if they were white. That is what it means to be entangled in structural, entrenched, historic, and systemic racism. No amount of privilege — or charm, or charisma, or pure raw talent — can protect them from the fact that they are black boys.

In this way, despite how extraordinary they are, despite their stunning life stories, despite all that they have going for them, they are no different than any other black boy.

Today is another sad, sad day for mamas of black boys. Deeply demoralized and shaking scared, we keep on fiercely loving them, and wait and hope for the world to see them as we do.



  • Lisa says:

    Extraordinary. As a white woman of a mixed race 12 year old boy, you profoundly expressed my joys and my fears. Thank you. Bless you. I have to believe that we will overcome someday.

    • Steve says:

      Keep believing the best of mankind but prepare for the worst. Minorities have never gotten an equal chance; some worse than others. The police represent two problems. First they escalate every confrontation. Argue with them they Taze you. Defend yourself and die. Second they routinely give out the punishment even though they shouldn’t e.g. Choking out the victim, grinding his or her face into the dirt, knee to the neck for a minor traffic offense, etcetera. Mike Brown was a tough kid looking for a fight but executing him was unnecessary. Eric Garner is just sick of being treated like a terrorist. Both of their attackers were adjudged by their buddies. In any reasonable court both would have been indicted. Maybe found guilty but indicted.

    • Massie says:

      I have a dream that we can get over the racial barriers because I believe it is more of economic prejudice in this time. Yet, being white, I kinda understand thru my friends the collateral stigma which varies in different parts of the US. Progress is being made and like anything major, patience is a best practice. Easier said then done. Let us continue to execute humanistic dreams. I have no answer for innocent victims, and I have no answer for the holocaust.

  • NikkiG says:

    You have a beautiful family.

    • Anne says:

      So much of society’s opinions are based off nothing more than external appearances. Your kids need to be aware that to lessen this unfair situation, that they should appear as “whitebread” as possible. Dreadlocks tend to be favored by those seen as drug users, and the generally unwashed. Yes, it’s another stereotype, but it still affects how they are perceived by the ignorant masses. First impressions tend to stick.

      • Gotta Comment says:

        I don’t know why I am shocked by your ignorance Anne, but I am…somehow. Dreadlocks are favored by drug dealers and the unwashed? Well, so is water…and food…and potato chips. Should she direct them to stop eating or using those things also? Clearly you are out of touch with the African-American community. I doubt her sons even have dreadlocks – perhaps she does refer to their locs as dreadlocks – I’ll have to read or re-read her blog to see, but, dreadlocks are one type of locs. Their creation and maintenance are very different from the various types of locs that African-Americans of all economic levels, religions, and levels of education wear. Educate yourself before you make assumptions. You are clueless about our hair, or even the proper term to use. Why should she conform to your (or anyone else’s) ignorance?

        • Matt says:

          An interesting point, when the black teen in Florida was shot when wearing a hoodie, Fox News told parents to tell their children not to wear hoodies. Here in the Bay Area (San Francisco), hoodies are a staple item worn by the upper-middle classes. I wondered how they would reconcile hoodies with their declaration of dangerous first impressions.

        • Jeremy says:

          Well said

      • Cheyanne says:

        So ignorant. Be as “whitebred” as possible? Ridiculous. So instead of advocating for a society that will conform to accept boys of any hue and any hair do you’re suggesting this mother conform to a society that only accepts boys with blond straight hair? How absurd is that? You sound like part of the problem ma’am.

      • My Two Cents says:

        I see Anne that a lot of people are taking your comment in the wrong light. Nowhere did you say that it was ok for people to discriminate based on first impressions. You simply acknowledged that it does happen. Acknowledging the existence of something does not condone, rather it brings up a topic so glaringly wrong that it forces people to examine their own prejudices. The boys are adorable. If they were mine I would want to do everything in my power to ensure their first impressions were good ones. Even if it means accepting a sad reality that could cause real harm, even if it meant a different haircut.

      • Emily says:

        What a hurtful thing to say. I hope that you never feel the stereotypes that YOU are perpetuating. Yuck, I’m just disgusted by you and glad that I don’t know you in real life.

      • Nicole says:

        Anne– if first impressions do indeed, “tend to stick,” Then my impression of you is that you are narrow-minded, judgmental, and ignorant.

      • CherylR says:

        I know writers and teachers and musicians with hair like these boys wear. I know zero drug dealers. Where does it end? Should she bleach their skin?

      • heather says:

        Please . Read up on respectability politics. Natural hair is black birthright. Conforming to the slave master’s European ideals may or may not save these boys lives. I can’t think of any black man more “white bread” appearing than Henry Louis Gates, and as you recall, that didn’t help him . It is far more important that white people become more aware of their biases and the way living in a white supremacist country has brainwashed them into thinking the white way is the right way. This thinking is shared by many black folks, as well; it’s called internalized oppression. It’s white racism that is killing black boys, not their appearance. And dreadlocks may be associated with drug users? That is your uniformed opinion, not everyone who wears locs is a drug user. And I don’t even know what to say about the “unwashed” part, except that it is offensive.

      • douglass frieda says:

        douglass to Anne Says, what, what? Anne are you serious? Do you really believe that dreadlocks are the favored by drug users and the generally unwashed? I don’t know your race Anne…whatever it is you are way off based…groomed locs are and even ungroomed locs are a hairstyle…naturally black hair …plenty of white drug users do not have dreadlocks…and why would these children and their mother want them to appear as whitebread? Please respond…just to understand your mindset for future reference I want to hear from you.

  • Kevin says:

    Thanks so much for this. As a white father of a 4 year old African-American son your words summed up how we have been processing the recent events. We are trying to decide how do we get active on this topic. In six years our son will be Owen and Kyle.

    FYI- we met this summer in Mexico– Carter says hello to Owen and Kyle.

    • Heather says:

      Kevin, Amazing to re-connect I this crazy way! I just told K & O that Carter says hi. They say “hi back! How you doing Carter? Don’t you wish we were at the Kids Club in Mexico right now???” I gotta say: I agree!– don’t you wish we were at the swim-up bar in Mexico right now??!! 😉

      • Kevin says:

        I absolutely agree- the weather has been cold and crappy, and wehn you are out of the country the daily news cycle seems so far away. Hope you r family is well and you have a great Holiday season


  • Stephanie says:

    Stunning and heartbreaking. Bless you and your beautiful children, I wish them all of the happiness and protection from all the cruelty that they are likely to encounter.

  • Barbara says:

    I feel for you and for your young sons. I hope they make it safely through life.

  • Lauren Ashlie says:

    This article touched me so much. I am a black mother of an interracial boy, who will be four this month. He is sweet, and well spoken, and energetic. He has fair skin , because he’s half white, but is still a little black boy in the eyes of the rest of the world. And your words are so true and I am so happy that being a white mother of two black men you can realize that the world is a cruel and still very racist place. And that you are preparing your boys for the inevitable. They will be judged, they will thought of as thugs. Even with their going to private schools, that’s not enough. I myself attended one of the best private schools here in Seattle and I feel that almost made things harder for me. I was just as smart and good as any other student. I was athletic, and popular, but that didn’t stop the Nordstrom security from following ME around the store, in a group of 6 girls, myself being the only black. It wasn’t fair. So many people live in this constant state of denial that racism doesn’t exist when in reality it’s happening all the time everyday. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked “how much do you charge… You are nannying this baby right?” Because apparently I as young black woman I can’t live in one of the nicest neighborhoods and have a beautiful son, I must be the nanny. But please continue to do what you are doing, I’m sure there are the fuss pots who think you being extreme but being black is truly a different experience. You
    Must be on gaurd, you must be on you best behavior at all times, you have to walk down the street with a smile on your face, otherwise you’re and angry black. I appreciate you!

    Lauren Ashlie a Seattle mother of a black boy!

  • Betty Haven says:

    Beautifully written. And so, so sadly necessary. Keep writing. Your family is lovely.

  • Nicole says:

    Wonderfully written and now I’m in tears. I’m not yet a mother but I hope for the same things you do. Thanks for sharing.

  • Bill says:

    Your boys sound like fine young men being raised with rules and expectations. They are taught respect. This should create a world of difference between them, and the teen in Ferguson. That teen brought every bad thing that happened, on himself. When a police officer directs you to do something, even if it is wrong, do it. If he violated you, get the name and badge number and file a complaint. This teen found it warranted to attack a policeman in has patrol car. This is a shortcut to death, and he found that out.
    It is sad that black people are met with suspicion, but the majority of crime is committed by minorities. It is a sad statistic…..and hopefully more black boys will grow up being patented like yours, they will learn right from wrong and take those lessons with them through life and use them.
    You are doing a good job as as parent and your boys would be welcome in my home any time!!

    • Tina says:

      Bill, I grew up with in an all white community, but with boys who did a lot of drugs. I only heard of them getting caught by the police once, and none of them went to jail or a youth detention center for it. The state youth detention center is near us, and I’ve volunteered there. I’ve met young boys of color there who did far less than the white boys who I knew. But they ended in jail, whereas my friends did not. Arrests and sentencing are the main culprit. And the belief that people of color bring it upon themselves. Perhaps what you perceive as bad manners and “bringing it on themselves,” is just a reaction to growing up in a system structured against you.

    • Marsha says:

      The majority of crime is committed by whites. Go look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, at the arrests by race. There is not one single crime in which white arrests are not greater than black arrests. You have heard that blacks are disproportionally arrested, in other words at a higher percentage than whites, and misinterpreted what that means.

  • Sahava says:

    Bill -I believe that what this mother is saying is that she wishes it was actually true-that all of who her boys are could protect them-but it’s not-and neither are your stats. We wish that good manners kept Black men safe, but they don’t. There was a case recently where a young man had a car bad accident that was not his fault -called the police, was running towards them when they showed up to get their help and was shot. dead. There is an assumption in this country that people of color commit more crimes-that’s just not true-if there is one race who commits more crimes in this country than any other it is white people-by virtue that this country is also still majority white. But the perception that people of color commit more crimes which had a long history in a separate judicial system that have primarily black people but often other racial groups as well fewer rights in this country continues to create situations where the mere existence of a person of color in a certain place is deemed suspicious-therefore creating so many more instances where people are forced to prove they are innocent. I grew up poor. Both the white kids and black kids I grew up with all committed petty crimes. Many white kids committ petty crimes and get away with it and we know it, black kids are held to a different standard and it endangers their lives and it’s scary to those of us who love them dearly and want them to thrive whether they are perfect angels or total brats in their teenage years. It is beyond callous to say that a young man who was pulled over for jaywalking got what he deserved -but it is beyond foolish to think that our justice system works equally for everyone. Some better info than what you provided -

    • H Moore says:

      Sahava..where did you get the numbers to backup your statement. Suggest you check the demographics for crime stats on the National level. Your statement is NOT accurate.

  • Sahava says:

    FBI stats show white people committing 3X as much crime as Black people in the US.

    • Nomad says:

      Sahava considering that currently Black Population in America is around 14% white population is around 70%, this chart you linked doesn’t really prove your point. Furthermore when you look at the statistics with regard to violet crime it is even worse. There are actually more murders listed in black column then the white column.

      Firstly, if you are going to post a chart, make sure it is adjusted properly for population.
      Secondly, this chart lists “arrests” not convictions.

      It’s easy to throw around numbers that seemingly prove a point. However adjusted for population, this chart paints a totally different picture than you seem to be intending.

      • Marsha says:

        The statement was made above that minorities were responsible for most crime. Clearly that is not true and the statistics show that. Disprortionality is a separate issue.

        • Anna Trusty says:

          Disproportionately is a huge issue. Black men are far more likely to be murdered than white men when you look at per it as a 100,000 person statistic.

          There is a lot that needs to be looked at within the black community and addressed. That really can’t be ignored.

          It doesn’t at all excuse the police from their obligation and there is a lot of responsibility by schools and government agencies to help with changing things within the black community but while we discuss the very real fear of police officers we should also discuss the very real fear of our children being killed by their very own community.

  • vivienw says:

    I am also worried about my son he is 4 precious and loving I am a black woman raising a boy and I am deathly afraid of the future america holds for him I have started teaching my son when u see the police put your hands in the air and tell them your name or is now apart of our routine

  • Fran Hayes says:

    Thanks for this! As a white mother of a biracial son whom the world sees as black, this resonates with my experience. These have indeed been sad days for mamas of black boys. I give thanks that he grew up to be a 40-year-old man and has give me a beautiful granddaughter. I don’t take that for granted.

    • Sandra says:

      Why is it a sad day for “black mamas” are the daddys not sad? Being retired Military we have lived in many areas of America. While volunteering in various school systems one of the sadest memories I have is of a young black boy, under the age of 5 spewing hateful opinions of the white race, not at me but to me.
      You can look at this a couple of ways, one being that horrible sad things have already happened to him OR he has been taught hate in the home.
      Change needs to start at a young age in the home…… no matter the color.

      • Anna Belcher says:

        Black Daddys don’t always stick around to have relationships with their children, so any sadness over the loss of their child is different from the loss and suffering of Black Mamas.

  • Janelle says:

    I am very saddened by this and proud at the same time. The parents of these young boys are definitely doing a great job. I acknowledge that as parents of a different color, you have real eye’s, when I say real eye’s. .. I mean ask parents you see things for what they are, and you aree trying to teach and protect your children, and I applaud you for that. I believe a lot of parents should do the same thing, not only the parents of black children but all children. I pray for your family and your children and that everything will get better keep up what you are doing one love we are all in this together.

  • Bobbie says:

    Your article is so important. I am a white woman married for 36 years to a beautiful mixed race man. We live and play in mainly the white world. We as a couple with our beautiful children and grand children have gone where no people of color have gone. We are careful. I have stories. Someday I should start a blog.

  • Kathleen says:

    Beautifully written, and so sadly true. You have a beautiful , beautiful family. As the (white) mother of two (white) boys, I am also terribly upset by the verdict in Ferguson and by the racism that is clearly rampant in our world. I am worried enough for my boys to grow up in this environment. I can only imagine how much harder it is in your situation. I hope and pray that all of our children can, one day, be judged solely by their acheivements and not (ever) by the color of their skin. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and your beautiful boys.

    • Beth says:

      Racism is not rampant. Your vision of the world you live in is distorted and your cynical views will perpetuate the destruction of black society. Wake up woman.

      • H Moore says:

        Totally agree Beth…once a victim..always a victim. It is a Self Fulfilling Prophecy…

      • Marsha says:

        Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, Beth. I am a middle-class white woman and even I can see that racism is pervasive in society. Get out of denial and try being part of the solution.

  • jamie ivey says:

    thank you. one of the best things i’ve read all week.

  • Tammy says:

    You know, somehow I think your boys will be just fine. Why? Because they are being raised in a loving home, with two parents and a secure moral compass. I doubt they are going to be robbing convenience stores, roughing up the owners and grabbing for a cop’s gun. Nor do I foresee them wearing their pants around their knees and flashing gang signs.

    Is it sad that there is profiling in this country? Sure it is. But honestly, everyone profiles to some extent. It is part of being human. Your boys will overcome that by NOT being in ghetto neighborhoods acting like hood rats. Being well mannered and well spoken will take them far – same as if they of any other culture. Believe it or not, every white person does not immediately assume a black man is a low life creep. But when black men act the way that they did in Ferguson this week….THAT is what hurts your sons.

    • Nate says:

      Are you saying, then, that if a black boy wears his pants low or shows “gang signs” (whatever that means) they deserve to be hassled by the police?

      Are you saying that “hood rats” (whatever that means) should expect people to think poorly of them?

      What you miss is that, to a not insignificant number of people, any black boy, no matter how well spoken and no matter how high his pants are and no matter what he does with his hands, will be perceived as a “hood rat”

      You really missed the point of this piece. And your use of racially charged language like “hood rat”, “ghetto”, and “gang signs” shows just how far.

      • Tammy says:

        Nate, pull your head out. People are profiled for acting and looking certain ways. UNFORTUNATELY in this country, when you look like the black men out looting in Ferguson, then THAT is what you are going to be perceived as. THAT is the unvarnished truth.

        Sorry that you think that looking and acting like trash is okay. It is not. If you act like trash, you end up treated like trash. Simple enough.

        I was just speaking to several black colleagues a few weeks ago – the terms I used were the terms THEY used. The also called them much worse for that matter.

        It’s too bad that some will never look at any black person as more than trash. That is their loss. But there is no way things will change while “rioting and looting” are part of the norm.

        • Jay says:

          Tammy, Imma need you to get it together. There is rioting and looting in white neighborhoods as well. Google Pumpkinfest or Huntington beach surf competition. Doesn’t make it right, but let’s not act like it’s only happening here. And you quoting these black men shows me you have not thought of this yourself. …or you just made it up.

          “Looking and acting like trash” can be found in white neighborhoods in….anywhere really. So what you are saying is that everyone must conform to popular White American standards. Just say it like you feel. That way, we can move on and this conversation can evolve from this redundant banter.

      • Kimmie K says:

        Tammy, you are wrong. My boys (black) are being raised by two parents (black) in what most would call a 1% home. My boys attend one of the most exclusive private schools in our city. Both are very good students, are well-traveled, well-read and well-mannered. My 15 year old has always been a big kid. At 15, he is routinely followed in stores. He does not wear saggy pants nor does he wear hoodie-type sweatshirts. Our friends with similar profiles whose sons now drive say their boys are constantly stopped by police. That will happen to our boys as well. This isn’t about manners. This is about how the world perceives our boys and teaching our boys how to improve their chances of coming home alive. They can be polite and compliant and still be mistreated by police and their word will not be believed. Case in point: New Jersey police officers were indicted earlier this year when video was discovered showing them beating a black male driver whose hands were up while the officers yelled, “stop resisting arrest” and “stop reaching for my gun.” The officers said those things because they knew the audio of their dash cam would pick up their words but they were intentionally just out of view of the dash cam. Fortunately for the driver, the dash cam from a second police vehicle caught it all.

    • Nicole says:

      I don’t know why I even bother. But using words like “ghetto” and “hood rats” is part of the problem. What do those words mean to you? Are they purely associated with African Americans when you say them? I know you might not think you have any prejudice. But those terms being thrown around are offensive. To whites and blacks alike.

      • heather says:

        Sigh, I feel the same about wasting time on the like of this bigot. But I have to say Tammy is obviously the kind of racist troll that enjoys using inflammatory language and is probably incensed that she is encouraged to not use the N-word in public. Hate speech is hate speech, and her unexamined stereotypes belie her falsely wistful expressions of regret about how black people are viewed by “some”. Citing that she has heard co-workers use rough language is also telling, as she feels this association gives her permission to use disparaging descriptors also. (Hint, Tammy, it does not. It’s like this : If your mom or dad ever referred to you a little tramp , that does not mean everyone else can call you a tramp. Your mom/dad would probably not tolerate that. Likewise, if black people are being critical of other black people, it is not cool for white sot join in and use whatever put-down language is being bandied about. )To state that rioting and looting are part of the norm also tells us she has a limited understanding or experience with black people, and is working from her scant observations shaped by what she sees on TV. The vitriol in her writing seeps through, and in spite of her thinly veiled sadness that “some people” only see black people as trash, even after declaring “if you look like trash you’ll be treated like trash”. This declaration in itself exposes her racist mind.

  • Connie says:

    Beautiful. Heart-wrenching.

  • Zack says:

    Thank you so much for your words. You’re very articulate, and I am sharing this on Facebook so my white friends may understand. As the white father of two black children, I feel your worry and anger.

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you for your words. I wish and hope for a world that saw the amazing young men you are raising. Maybe I was sheltered because 15 years ago I had thought that maybe things were getting better. Maybe it was just more underground. I feel like the amazing step forward with Barack Obama ‘ s election started a downward spiral of racists coming out from hiding. I ask because I care and I really don’t know. Is it worse right now or just more exposed in the media? Best wishes to your boys in their future. They sound amazing.

  • Jon Bon jovi says:

    Since America sucks and is so clearly racist, why not move to Africa? Much better opportunity and no bigoted scumbag racists over there.

    • Tom says:

      Jon, where you living these days, man? Which country in Africa you recommend? What African city has the least corruption, no tribal wars, less separation between rich and poor, and no religious strife? Or are you being sarcastic and non-constructive? Buddy, get more sleep and be nice…

    • Niki says:

      What’s with the Africa comment? This woman is telling the story of her children and their experiences in this world. Contrary to popular belief or for those who live in a bubble, racism is alive and well in YES the United States of America. Don’t dismiss someone else’s experience just because it isn’t yours. You obviously have not compassion for this mother and her efforts to protect her children. Your comment is ignorant and counterproductive. I’m so sick of people like you. I really and truly am. Lord help us all.

    • Nomad says:

      Jon Bon Jovi, surely you are being facetious or haven’t been to Africa. I’ve lived in African and traveled their extensively. My wife is black and from East Africa and has a very different perspective on this issue. Tribalism even in the most modern African country makes any racism in our culture look like child’s play.

      At work she watches black americans walk around with a giant chip on their shoulder, causing their own drama and then blaming the consequences on racism. She comes home at night and tells me that the solution to this awful problem is that Black Americans should spend a few months in Africa and that would solve many problems. The truth that no one wants to admit is that Black American culture is bankrupt. The victim mentality, the constant chip on the shoulder, the absence of father figures and an eternity of other factors all point to the fact that the black community needs to take a serious look inward. There will ALWAYS be racism, it is an unfortunate facet of human imperfection. However how a community responds to it will have the largest impact on how they are treated.

      I know many black immigrants to this country and almost to a man they despise Black Americans. You know what their greatest fear is? That their children will embrace black culture. Do they have bad experiences? Yes. However compared with tribalism they have experienced at home it’s nothing.

      It’s time for Black Americans to grow up. It’s time for them to take a hard look at their communities and demand better. It’s time to stop blaming the white man for all their problems. America has changed, I as an American am sick of having to walk on ice around all my Black friends. I don’t have to around my wife or my many, many African friends.

      It is a tragedy that you have to do this with your boys. There is a reason Blacks in America are being profiled, it has less and less to do with skin culture and more and more to do with a broken culture that needs to grow up, shape up and stop blaming others.

      • Nate says:

        The irony of blaming black Americans for “blaming others” is pretty rich.

        Your rant lacks a lot of historical perspective. That’s really all I can say.

        • portia says:

          Your Ethiopian wife arrived here in a plane, and not the cargo hold of a ship. Makes her opinion ALMOST as null and void as yours. I couldn’t agree more that your comment willfully and woefully lacks historical context.

      • Gotta Comment says:


        I am an African-American woman, and I have traveled and/or lived all around the world. Your wife’s brown skin does not make her an expert on every black culture, as you seem to think. Yes, she can be ignorant too about our experience here in the U.S. Maybe you should tell her about Amadou Diallo’s experience – a brother from her continent. I could name more.

        In fact, she is more likely to be unaware, since you whites have a habit of distinguishing blacks with accents from us plain ‘ole negroes. They are better than us, is the subconscious (and sometimes conscious) memo running in the background of your minds. They don’t have the same level of distrust, anger, and sometimes sadness that can accompany some of our interactions. You, on the other hand, have the benefit of being admired and sometimes even idolized by our African brothers. See how that might color your interactions? We have a strong beautiful legacy and a rich and full culture. Part of the problem is that people like you and your wife have been lied to all of your lives about our history, culture, and contributions to this nation. I can tell that you really have no idea how so much of what you love about this country is because of the brown people that helped created it to be what it is. From scientific contributions, to cultural appropriation (haven’t you noticed how much the world wants to be like the black Americans that they so despise), to yes, even our example of grassroots movement to effectuate change in society. We are great examples to the world….even with the problems we face today. I can tell you that most of these problems are akin to what any poor and disenfranchised people would face – regardless of race. The difference is that our skin color stays the same, regardless of our economic position or education. I should tell you that tribalism is very real yes. But those experiences cannot be compared to ours in the way you implied. When they are, there are more similarities (in terms of end result) that make your point moot. The disenfranchisement, the anger, the chips on the shoulder that you speak of is certainly not unique to black Americans.

        You don’t have to “walk on ice” with your African friends because they don’t have the same race relations with you that we do. In fact, most of my African family have told me of the lies that the media have told them about us. Most are surprised when they learn the average black American is not this monster that white propaganda have taught them that we are. I’ve been told that time and time again. So, stop using an immigrant from another country to make your point about how black Americans need to grow up. Take some time to truly understand our unique experience. You begin discussing my beautiful culture as one that is corrupt. How dare you insult us this way. Clearly, you know nothing about the rich heritage that I had the privilege to experience growing up with and in. You know even less of how you have benefited from it. You would probably not feel comfortable insulting any other culture the way you do black culture….ask yourself why? I think it is because your are accustomed to it. You’ve been brainwashed. You weren’t taught properly in your Eurocentric curriculum about anyone in your American history beyond the founding founders, Harriet Tubman and maybe Dr. Martin Luther King (depending on your age)…I’m generalizing here, but I hope you get the point. Your very statement reeks of the disdain that some white folks have for us, and the chips on some of our shoulders oftentimes are the result of living in a society that does not respect all of its participants equally. My son when he was five years old in a “gifted” class was told by his older classmates (he was grade accelerated) that he could not play with them because he was black. They were all white. He was distraught, of course. Perhaps if he had an accent from East Africa, they would have accepted him. Me, well I (as well as my husband) am working hard to make sure that he is free from any chips.

        • Tiffany Roseboro says:

          Love it….

        • Anna Trusty says:

          So true! My husband is black with an English accent. He tells me all the time how people’s posture and attitude suddenly changes when he speaks.

          One day he said he can’t even imagine being black in America with an American accent.

          Yes, he still faces issues because he is still black. And if he hasn’t spoken there’s an assumption about him made just by looking at him.

          Both of us are very aware of the assumptions Americans make.

          It is sad and scary.

        • heather says:

          Thank you for taking your time to try to educate the bigoted and hateful. White people with dark skinned partners can be some of the most vicious racists, and they use their partner as a way of shielding themselves of being accused of bigotry. I am always shocked at how little white people know about the role of chattel slavery in this country. It is not surprising that people from other countries are mostly ill-informed or ignorant about that chapter, since the media fills in the blanks with detritus and myths, and few americans have a working knowledge about or desire to discuss slavery and its continued impact. Wealth, health, justice and educational disparities that black americans endure all have antecedents in slavery, Jim Crow and a host of laws, rules, policies and procedures in every american institution. The inter-generational and epigenetic trauma that black americans have to deal with have nothing to do with victim-hood, and everything to do with systemic racism, white privilege and the white supremacy this country grew rich and powerful on.

      • Jay says:

        “There is a reason why Black Americans are being profiled”…what reason is that? Because White Americans actually commit the most number of crimes in America? It was exhausting reading this, but I read it hoping you would come back from that horrible start. Your wife has mearly assimilated as best as she knows how…to look down on people. It’s pretty much tradition at this point. The African American community has been looking inward for centuries, civil rights movement was just 50 years ago…and rallies, coalitions, teachings are happening all now in every black community. But you care to not look. But to stand on your throne and tell people what they need to do. Tell us what Asians, Indians, Native Americans, Latinos need to do as well. I’m sure it is just as insightful as this garb. No one, here especially, has blamed the white man for everything. But the longer everyone chooses to deny byproducts of institutionalized racism, the longer it will prevail. I pray nothing but blessings for your black children who will grow up in this country, if you have any. I guarantee you they will have a different story.

    • Nicole says:

      Bon Jovi would be so incredibly offended that someone as ignorant as you is using his name. Go back to troll land.

  • LaVetta J. Hall says:

    Thank you. I share your sentiments, your fears, your hope for our black boys. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  • Cathryn says:

    This is a great posting and I deeply appreciate your thoughts. I am struck as I read these types of stories from people that my experience of being a mother of a daughter has many similarities. My daughter is 14 and has started to see the limitations and injustices of being a girl. The tears are real as it sinks in that you will be judged and have to layer in MANY more calculations before you walk out the door, and do or say anything. Recently she wanted to start her own blog about women’s issues and I had to explain to her about Gamergate, about trolls, about how there are people who will hate her for being female and having ideas, opinions, and power. I recently read a post from a black professor and the problems he has had professionally. I didn’t realize the author was black until later in the article when he identified himself as male, and so through the beginning of his article I thought that he was a woman because of the striking similarities between his experience and most women (myself included) in the workplace. This is all a long way of saying that it might be worth it to consider parents of black boys and parents of girls to get together and compare notes. Maybe we could join forces and try to work on how we teach them to deal with perceptions of them in society, and how that translates to their personal safety, and their psychological health moving into adulthood. It strikes me that you also have a daughter and I would be interested to read about your experiences as she gets older, too.

  • Beth says:

    Its such a shame that so many black men who proceeded them have done this to those boys. I guess there is a reason for being profiled, it isn’t fare, but the only way to change that is one grain of sand at a time.

    • Gotta Comment says:

      “Its such a shame that so many black men who proceeded them have done this to those boys. I guess there is a reason for being profiled, it isn’t fare, but the only way to change that is one grain of sand at a time.”

      “Racism is not rampant. Your vision of the world you live in is distorted and your cynical views will perpetuate the destruction of black society. Wake up woman.”

      You live in a very interesting world. It would be great to educate yourself to the world outside of yours. Actually, I’m not convinced you need to go very far, but that you’ve turned a blind eye to things. Perhaps a history lesson, a good sociology class to begin the process? You seem to leave no room for the idea that there is a reality separate from the world you choose to believe in. That is a luxury that you have – to place the blame only on black men (people refer to that as victim blaming don’t they?). I assure you that this is not a reality for every person of color. Walk in my shoes – a black women who has done no wrong (in terms of racial animosity), but have experienced more than you could imagine or would admit. And, I am a woman! May God soften your heart, and cause you to be truly introspective so that you can be a more positive influence to those around you. Heather, thank you for your thoughtful piece.

    • E says:

      “Its such a shame that so many black men who proceeded them have done this to those boys….”

      …Really? Really? Unbelievable.

      What I have seen as a white person in my not-so-very-long 44 years on this planet is that justice is incredibly unevenly distributed in this country. Be a white frat boy who gets into a drunken brawl and it’s almost certain that nothing will happen to you; be a black kid (even a college student) doing the same thing and you’ll get arrested. If you’re unlucky some police officer will rough you up or kill you.

      It’s impossible for young people of color (especially men) to control all the signals we read because of our own biases. It’s nearly impossible for them to move in the world without people being suspicious of them, no matter whether they’re the most upstanding people you’ve ever met or petty criminals.

      It’s unfair and trying to blame these truths on black men in the past (who were just as moral or immoral, just as generous or petty, just as honest or criminal, just as HUMAN as their white counterparts only with less power and less wealth, overall) is just unbelievable.

  • Danielle says:

    I’m simply bawling. We are a white couple raising a beautiful, large, strong, handsome ten year old black son. Your article has ripped my heart open, I have been wanting to deny what you have plainly laid out. The truth is almost too much for me to bear but I need to prepare my son and use my energies to make the world better, friending you and sharing this article is my step one. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  • Gail McCormick says:

    I am one of Kyle and Owen’s white grandmothers and have had direct experience with overt racism on numerous occasions (unrelated to the boys). What Heather has written is totally accurate. If you don’t know that, it’s presumably because you haven’t experienced it.

  • Johanne says:

    As a black mother of a biracial son, like all the mothers on here am worried for my son’s future. I’m angered, frustrated and many have stated, his good education, well upbringing, good manners will not shield him from the scrutiny, stigma and the injustice he will endure because of the color of his skin. I can’t shield him from the injustice he’ll face. As his mother, that pains me more than anything. Thank you for your article.

  • Okayest Mom says:

    As the parent of one black son and two white sons, thank you for this article. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words for me… And for my son.

  • Phyllis Nash says:

    You have a beautiful family and what you wrote was profound. God Bless your whole family for you are all very special.

  • Cathy says:

    Thank you so much for your profound words. Your boys are beautiful, strong young men who deserve better. As a teacher I have watched families struggle through exactly what you are describing. The hardest part for many of them was not teaching their boys to be physically safe but teaching them how to safeguard their hearts from the hardness that such treatment creates. They struggled with not allowing their sweet boys to be consumed by the anger, hurt, and unfairness to the point that they became that which was erroneously feared. My prayer for you is that you will be able to navigate those even rougher waters. Thank you for your thoughts and courage.

  • Lancelot Ellis says:

    I loved this post. I stumbled upon this post on Facebook and thought I would come check out the website. I happen to be a black boy that grew up to be a black man. Oh how things have changed since my childhood. My family moved here from Jamaica when I was 10 years old, so it was really confusing how different things were and still are. There was so much to learn about my new surroundings. One thing I had to learn was racism. I had to learn racism, to understand that people had a problem with my color. It was confusing cause I played soccer, so it meant that I spent a lot of time with white people. I also played football in junior high, so I hung out with a lot do black people also. It was very confusing because I was trying to figure out where I fit in, in the end the choice was made for me. Bottom line is that if you are black, people think they know how you are, even if they don’t know who you are. I remember one day, my best friends brother in law saying that I don’t know that I’m black. That’s when I started thinking a bit more about what it meant to be black in America. Before I was told that, I used to reject the idea that my color was a big deal. Everything changed that day. I was so upset, because I was a well behaved well spoken young man. So we’ll behaved and driven, that I even did an internship with the police department in high school. My best friends were white, they were twins like your sons. As I got older realized that it didn’t matter so much how I behaved, but what I looked like. When is graduated high school, I joined the Air Force. I was so proud! After basic training, I came home on leave to visit friends and family and got harassed by the same police department that I once volunteered at. I was pulled over and had the guns of five police officers pointed at my face. They didn’t care that I was the straight laced, well behaved young man that I was. All they cared about at the time was that I met the description. I’m now 36 and have a family of my own. I’m in in interracial marriage and have twin boys who are nine, and wonder how things will be for them. They are we’ll behave handsome young men, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t worry about them. One of my friends said well at least they are mixed. I said yeah, so is our president and that isn’t going so well. I really appreciate this article, because people usually shy away from this topic. Thank you for sharing.

  • k says:

    Thank you for a beautifully written piece. I’ve read it twice now and, as a mother, it affects me greatly. I am white with a white child and you expressed your fears and your love in a way that I can feel in my heart, as if your children were mine. Powerful. It is my privilege to share your post with friends and I only hope that it reaches some of those who have been so unwilling to see the truth, the fear, the reality. Thank you.

  • Jenn says:

    Beautifully written. It is so sad that still now a days these things go on. Know matter how well behaved and mannered these boys are, they are judged before anything. In turn, I feel like this possibly makes some of the boys feel, ” Why should I try when I am going to be judged anyway” They grow up into these stereotypes. So sad. People need to always remember we are all the same on the inside. God created us all the same.

  • Lisa G says:

    Your story is heartwarmingly heartbreaking, your family is beautiful and YOU are an involved parent. That’s what’ll make the difference as your boys move into adulthood. You just CAN’T minimize the impact of parental guidance and involvement!!! As the mother of an 18 year old son, I advise him often of the importance of appearance, the way he speaks, the way he carries himself. He understands that if he’s going to act, speak or look like a thug, he’ll be treated as such by those with small minds, and those who don’t think before they act, speak or judge. Work actively to change perception, and create a relationship with your children that’ll enable them to come to you with the issues they face as they grow. God bless you all, we’ll keep you in our prayers:)

  • Arleana says:

    So Beautiful and worth the read. As a white mother, having Black sons, you feel the pain of Black mommas all over the world in a real way. Thank you for sharing and giving our pain a voice that America will take notice of. I have 2 respectful, beautiful boys, but to a large chunk of society that are not that special. But I will always give positive Black stories a voice. Check out my website

  • Katrina Kerr says:

    I asked my 12 y.o.Son did he enjoy being a Black Male he said Yes. It made me feel Good. He will be successful. #mercy #grace #prayingmom

  • Chris says:

    No parent should have to “teach” their children to act different/deferentially, or be afraid when confronted by a policeman- due only to skin color. Shame on us for permitting it.

  • lisa says:

    what an absolutely beautiful, heart wrenching story. It disgusts me that this even needs to be discussed. It disgusts me that the color of skin is a basis for reaction.

  • Dave Berry says:

    Or just teach them to not rob stores and reach for cops guns. Besides Trayvon, none of the people killed by cops were just doing nothing. Cops kill more white people than black anyway (though obviously blacks are killed disproportionately, so quit acting like there is a program out there to exterminate black people. If a cop fires a gun at a civilian it is more likely to be a white person on the other end. And for heaven’s sake stop acting like Mike Brown was killed for being black. His blood was on the inside of a police cruiser. Whatever else happened, he reached for the cops gun and that’s why he’s dead

  • Adamma says:

    This reality really saddens me. I live in the UK and I am grateful that this present experience of racial discrimination to young black boys doesn’t happen here. I’ve read through your earlier blog and seen pictures of the boys when they were toddlers, with simple low cut hair. Now that they are 10 they are sporting locs. I am black, I don’t have any boys, but if I did, I wouldn’t allow them to grow that sort of hairstyle. It would be a different case if they have it from birth as some black children do, because to cut it would inflict pain. That sort of hairstyle will do them no favours in the U.S. It doesn’t project a positive image. I know they’re sweet boys. In the same vein, I would be anti tattoo and earstuds, because I believe it doesn’t do one favours, when it comes to employment. This extends to white people too. Please forgive my strictness in this. I wouldn’t allow this for any black sons I have and absolutely NO NO, if they lived in the US. I have come to the conclusion that America is the most dangerous place in the world for a black boy or man to live in.

    • Heather says:

      My sons have never had anything but long hair and locs. They love their beautiful natural hair, and so do I. We all choose our own battles. For us, this is a carefully chosen one that we will not back down from. Kyle and Owen are proud of their roots; their hair represents that. No apologies. ~Heather

    • Jay says:

      I really urge you Adamma to look into the racism that happens in the UK. Having lived there and most of my family there, I know it is there! It is quiet and lurking but just as dangerous. Locs are a large part of my culture as well, being Caribbean. Meaning nothing of the negative things you’ve heard. If someone were uncomfortable with mine, I don’t care. I don’t see why someone has to find every and any way to assimilate to a place that will judge them regardless. Let people be free, and the people have a right to want to be free. Some of us refuse to just blend in, but would rather be ourselves.

  • Gennie says:

    Thank you, Heather, for sharing your experience so powerfully. I had been struggling with how to talk with my kids (ages 7 and 10) about Michael Brown and Eric Garner and #BlackLivesMatter and white privileged and all of it. And yesterday it all came together. I found your blog post yesterday morning via a FB post from a friend and was deeply moved (and saddened, and angered, but sadly, not surprised) by your words. And then, yesterday afternoon, after listening to a discussion on NPR about the grand jury decisions on the way home from after school activities (*I* I was listening – I wasn’t sure my kids were listening), my daughter asked if there had been a boy shot by a police officer. And so I told them what happened in Missouri and in New York. And then we talked about white privileged and how different the world is for black people in general and black boys particularly. And then I remembered your post and I read it aloud to them. And we cried together. I think my daughter really connected with it because she is also 10. And it really spoke to my son because he saw himself in your boys. This was just the beginning of the conversation with them, but I wanted to that you for writing and sharing the words that helped me talk about his with them in a way that made it feel personal to them. I wanted to let you know that your words were powerful not just to another mom, but also to her kids.

  • Clara says:

    Oy vey. I was so touched by this entry and then so disheartened by many of the comments I see here. People need to realize that there are law-abiding citizens who are discriminated against because they are black. Having good manners or the right job doesn’t always make a difference, people. I have a friend who was tackled by police because he was running late for lunch with a group of friends and was jogging toward the restaurant to try to get there on time. It was a very upper scale white neighborhood and a police officer assumed he was running from a crime. He wasn’t wearing low pants. He wasn’t wearing a hoodie. He wasn’t wearing a baseball cap. (Not that any of that should matter). He was wearing a polo shirt and jeans. He is an attorney. He is a kind man, a wonderful father. But none of that mattered at that time, because he was a black man running in a white neighborhood. I wish people would stop insisting on blaming the victim. Sometimes bad things happen and you have NO control over it because THE OTHER PERSON is in the wrong. I don’t understand why some people insist on denying that happens.

    Sorry to go off on a rant. My point here is that I really was touched by your entry. And I hope that everyone who reads it will eventually let it sink in that there are no “exceptions” when it comes to people who judge you by your skin color. Some people actually CHOOSE not to see past it.

    • Enjay says:

      Amen Clara. Someone earlier wrote that being black, often people think they know how you are rather than who you are. The story you shared is a perfect example.

      My 8 year old son is being raised in a loving home with two parents. He’s bright, charming, sweet, kind, respectful and well-mannered. I know that in a few years’ time he will “fit the description.” Based on nothing other than the color of his skin. Through no fault of his own, but on another person’s preconceived notions of a group of people, he might get hurt. That is terrifying.

      Thank you Heather for getting it, and writing about it so eloquently. The imagery of a storm rolling in is so accurate.

  • Valerie Sawyer says:

    I can only imagine, and perhaps it’s true that I can’t even imagine. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this powerful piece. I literally wept when I read these words…”you’ll be judged quicker, you’ll be perceived more harshly, keep your hands out of your pockets, keep your hood down, no fast movements, never run, racism exists and it isn’t to be messed around with.” I’m a mother. I’m a white mother of a white son. I didn’t need to say these things to my 10 year old. You shouldn’t need to say them to your 10 year olds. I’m so sorry.

  • Kristen Smith says:


    I continue to come back to read the comments on this post, though my gut tells me to avoid reading them. My privilege allows me to completely disengage from these types of conversations whenever I want to, though I sometimes feel that it is important to open my ears and listen whenever I can, even if some of the comments enrage me. I just wanted to send you all of the good vibes and love, because opening you and your family up to these commenters can’t be easy. Not that my opinion matters all that much, but I think you are strong and I commend your bravery. So many people are commenting on your parenting skills. I see comments such as, “Your boys seem like fine young gentlemen” and “They would be welcome in my home any day”. I find those statements almost offensive – as if * your * black boys seem like fine young gentlemen, compared to all of the other black boys who have been raised by black parents. TL;DR: You are courageous. You are fierce. Don’t give up the fight.

    • Heather says:

      Dear Kristen, one of my dear and beloved long-time and loyal blog readers who I’ve never met in real life:
      Thank you so much for your comment and for continuing to read. I get a lot of strength from you and my other loyal readers around the world. I sincerely appreciate you, and you inspire me to keep blogging. Thank you.

  • Herald says:

    Your boys are beautiful, and seem as good in their heart. Thank you for loving them and working hard to provide them with a good home and grow their good character.
    But let’s not mistake the fact that the situation in Ferguson is so very different from your own. Michael Brown was a thug, who decided it was OK to strong-arm steal from a retail store, decided that it was OK to walk in the middle of the street, decided that it was OK to talk back to a policeman asking him to get out of the street, decided that it was OK to fight the policeman in his car, and made the choice that it was OK to charge the policeman. These are the facts. He met a tragic fate for his decisions.
    This is NOT about skin-color. The constantly aggrieved victim-class have made this about race, and it isn’t. If a white man did the same things as Michael Brown, and was shot by the police, we’d never hear about it. This is about the content of Michael Brown’s character, and what that character led him to do. And when you have a character like Michael Brown’s, trouble will find you.

    On the other hand, the Eric Garner situation MAY be about race, but does point out the over-reaction of the police, which is something we all ought to worry about. If the over-reaction is dis-proportionate due to race, then we have a problem. I will let actual statistical fact tell that story, rather than an emotional reaction.

    Maybe Michael Brown could have turned his life around were he not dead. But he made a tragic chain of mistakes in judgment, and he paid the price.

    There are other troubling questions that this case brings up: When will black men stop killing one another? Only 2% of black male deaths are due to being killed by the police, while 95% of male black deaths are due to being killed by other black men. Where is the outrage? There isn’t one. Why not? Is it because black women abort their children at such a high rate? The value of life is so little? Is it because so many black men abandon their responsibilities as fathers, and so black boys are raised without the moral and character guidance that comes from fathers?

    When will the black community stop denigrating those blacks who strive to get ahead through education by saying such actions are “acting white?”

    These are troubling questions that deserve answers. But you will not hear them from those seeking to make a national mountain out of the local molehill that is the Michael Brown incident, playing on the supposed injustice of his death. Michael Brown was not killed by a racist cop because he was black. He was killed because he acted very stupidly.

    Teach black boys not to be stupid, to value speaking proper English, to have pride in themselves and how they dress and act, and the value of hard work (aside from sports). Then talk to me in ten years. Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, and Condaleeza Rice did not get ahead because they were thieves, or privileged children of the wealthy (like Obama, Holder, and Susan Rice). They got ahead because their parents taught them right from wrong, and to work hard, and that a good education would elevate them ought of poverty.

    • Kimmie K says:

      @Herald: You need to re-read the author’s post. She states that her “good-at-heart” boys have already been followed in stores and suspected of wrongdoing based on their appearnce. Eric Frein, the fugitive cop killer, was taken in with a few bruises on his face but very much alive. Eric Garner selling loose cigarettes, a tax violation, taken down with a chokehold until he stopped breathing. Amadou Diallo (a “good-at-heart” unarmed young man) shot over 40 times on his doorstoop by police because he “fit a description” of someone else. (no grand jury indictment). Tamir Rice, 12 year old Cleveland kid, shot and killed by police last month 2 seconds after they pulled up right in front of him shouting orders. If he really was an active shooter, instead of a kid playing with a pellet gun in an open carry state mind you, the police would have placed themselved in mortal danger by pulling up so close. John Crawford fatally shot this year in an Ohio Walmart after picking up and carrying around an air rifle sold by Walmart based on a 911 caller’s false report that Crawford was pointing the gun at people in the store. Video released showed no such thing. Police shot Crawford 1 second after approaching him while Crawford was on a cell phone call (no grand jury indictment). How about Akai Gurley, an unarmed young man walking with his girlfriend up the stair well of a low income high rise who was shot in the chest and killed last month in Brooklyn by a rookie police officer with an itchy trigger finger who unholstered his gun as he was descending the stairs on a patrol because he was scared to be in a building populated by so many black people.

      Obama was hardly the privileged child “of the wealthy.” His single (white) mother struggled mightily. His grandmother (white) was a working class women who worked at a bank. Read some of the comments here (black lawyer running late to meeting jogging to restaurant in white neighborhood and tackled by police offer because he was thought to be running from a crime) and broaden your perspective.

    • C.A. says:


      I can see that you believe what you say and are being sincere, but I feel the need to point out the flaw in your argument.

      Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a black woman who used to be a news anchor. My mother was a law professor, my father an executive (both black), my sister is a doctor. I think it could be argued that I fit into the category you are talking about— the one you say, if they work hard and their parents teach them right from wrong, they shouldn’t have any problems… right?

      One night when I was driving home from doing the 10pm news (still in full makeup and still wearing my professional clothes), I was pulled over by a police officer in a very nice (mostly white) neighborhood. I was eight months pregnant (to give you an idea of how threatening I appeared to be). He asked for my license and registration and as I handed it over to him I very politely asked him why I had been pulled over. “Didn’t you see that red light back there?! You blew right through it.” I knew I hadn’t, so I said, “sir (and yes, I ALWAYS use “sir” when I’m talking to police officers), are you sure? I honestly don’t remember seeing a yellow light, much less a red one.” I did not say this in an antagonizing way. He glared at me and said angrily, “do you want me to arrest you?!” I was shocked. I said, “no, of course not… but, can I ask, on what charge?” He said, “Reckless driving! I saw you run that red light!!” I decided not to say anything else at this point. He said, “wait here” and took my license back to his car. I was scared to death at this point. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but there was no way I could prove that if he indeed wanted to arrest me.

      I sat in my car and waited in fear for 15 minutes before he came back with my license (and the ticket) and said, “well, it appears this car isn’t stolen, and I can’t find any priors for you, so just be more careful next time!”

      I cried for the next three hours. I had done nothing wrong. Yet I was accused of something I didn’t do, threatened with jail, and it had been made clear to me that the assumption the police officer made was that my car (which I paid for with my own money) was in fact, someone else’s that I had stolen. I’ve never stolen anything in my life. I felt like I’d been sucker punched. AND I HADN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.

      My point here is that when it comes to skin color, there are those who don’t care if you are “well-spoken” or “well-dressed.” They only see the color of your skin, and that’s what they judge you on. They believe that you must be a criminal (stolen car??? really???) simply BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN. It happens. And it’s hasn’t happened to only me. It’s happened to friends I know who are attorneys, doctors, etc. Take a look at the entry just a few before yours from “Clara” about her friend the attorney who was tackled for simply running in a white neighborhood. I’m going to borrow her quote here: “Sometimes bad things happen and you have NO control over it because THE OTHER PERSON is in the wrong. I don’t understand why some people insist on denying that happens.”

      Just something to think about.

    • Marsha says:

      Of course homicides of blacks are most likely to be committed by black people. Most white homicides are committed by whites.. That’s because people kill people that they know or people that they live and work near and we are a segregated society. Why aren’t you scolding whites for killing whites?

      • Nina says:

        Exactly. This “95% of black men are killed by other black men” statement is so ridiculously inane. And these racists actually think it means something. It doesn’t. I bet 95% of murdered white people are killed by other white people. I bet nearly 100% of murdered Eskimos are killed by other Eskimos. I bet nearly 100% of murdered Japanese are killed by other Japanese. People tend to killed by their lovers, spouses, exes, spurned suitors, co-workers, neighbors, school mates, fellow community members. People they know or live, work or socialize in proximity to. Why is it seen as so magically significant that this is true for black people as well? If what you have an issue with is the *level*of murders of black men, then that may be a valid point to make.

  • Tanya says:

    You’re doing a GREAT job mom!

  • Jeanne Smith says:

    Your sons are very fortunate to have you as their enlightened mother. Soon after my husband and I were married, we decided to have one child of our own (assuming we could) and, then, we would adopt one of the opposite sex.
    When that time came, we had a son. Three years later, we adopted a baby from Korea. As she grew up, the world was her clam shell. She was extremely happy.
    Then the day came … she was in high school when a boy asked her to the prom, her first dance. She accepted and we were happy for her. A couple of days later he came up to her and said, “I can’t take you to the dance. My parents won’t let me because you’re Korean.”
    That deflated her terribly. She locked herself in her room the night of the dance and cried the whole evening. Can you imagine what that did to her self image? She wouldn’t even let us in so we could talk about her situation. It was exceedingly painful for her to realize she was ‘different’, when all she really was, was just a human being.
    This incident caused me to look for other parents and children of differing racial backgrounds. Several were in our church and experienced all kinds of negative behaviors so, after comparing notes, we started a Diversity Team for the community. On our first official meeting, we called in parents of children of color, local principals in our school districts, the school superintendent, school counselors, the Chief of Police, pastors in our churches, our local WalMart manager (incidents of profiling were reported), the head of our Chamber of Commerce, and any business people whose stores, etc., were reported.
    We met several times that year and for many years that followed to talk about racism in our community. We went to schools, individual classes, places of work (when requested), the Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, etc., and had persons of color on our committee share their stories. Many store owners were shocked to learn that their help needed lessons in sensitivity. Our adopted daughter from Korea told her story to her classmates, and she cried through part of it because the pain was still there three years after the fact.
    As local people and children began to hear the stories of persons of color in our community, their eyes were opened and they became sensitive to the pain they were causing. In almost every case, they came around.
    I believe the most valuable lesson we all learned was to treat every human being, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, etc., as a human being with rights and feelings. It was a very sensitizing experience and did a lot of good for our community.
    For many years after that, our group met once a year to set up a program to extol the values of equality on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was always a great success. We recommend this approach, with changes that fit your community.

  • Tamara says:

    Your article and your unconditional love is extraordinary and I commend you on both. The many different opinions following are heartwarming while others, disturbing. I simply want to say that not all white people judge others by their color… I would love to have gone and shown my support for the loss of life ( ie the ferguson situation) but I was a little afraid that a middle aged white woman who drives a nice car would have somehow been seen as the enemy. Racism unfortunately goes both ways and for that I am extremely sad. No matter what the entire situation was, there was a young man that lost his life and for that EVERYONE should be touched. Please let your boys know that I love good people of character; and I truly do NOT care what color their skin is. If you are polite and try your very best to be kind and thoughtful, that is all I ask. I will form my opinion based on your words and your actions but not the color of your skin. I pray for peace and for understanding between all people.

  • Tara says:

    I cant even believe what i just read. Its exactly what i have been trying to explain to everyone around me who cares. My boys are teenagers. And BIG black men. I am their white mother. I could hardly read it without breaking down. We have been experiencing racism toward them from every angle in our small predominately white town. They are blamed for everything. Everything. But nobody knows them like i do. They are perfect. Or as close to perfect as they can be, in my eyes. I pray that God will help others to see them the way i do, with His eyes. It literally kills me inside to see them go through this. But like you said, there is not much that we can do. I always wish i had other people on “my side” that could team up with me and maybe we COULD really do something to help the world see them for who they are inside. I could go on and on about this. Thank you for your post. Its nice to see we arent alone. We arent the only ones dealing with this, although i wish none of us had to deal with any of this injustice.

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