I am so sorry. As a mother, I am supposed to protect you. I am supposed to keep you safe. I'm sorry that I can not do that.
I can't protect you from racism. I can't shelter you from injustice. I can put up parent blocks to stop you from looking at porn or violent acts. But I cannot put a parental block on deadly people who want to harm you due to the color of your skin.
I want to tell you fairy-tales. I want to sing you sweet songs and lullabies. I want you to hear of all the wonders and beauties of the world. I want to tell you about oceans, rivers and lakes. Waterfalls. Wild horses galloping freely, majestically in open fields. I don't ever want you to hear racial slurs and stereotypes. There are so many magnificent sounds in the world. The turn of a page in an old book in a silent library. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore at night. Of all the striking and memorable sounds that you will ever hear, nothing will ever compare to the first time you're called the "n-word." Nothing compares to that moment. Why? Because you'll break inside.
When you hear that word, you'll stop what you're doing. It will only be a second, but to you it will feel like an eternity. It will feel like a jolt. Your heart will fall down from your chest, into your stomach, and keep traveling down until you can't feel it anymore. There will be a sadness. A numbness. I don't want you to ever feel that. Not because I don't know how to comfort you, but because I've known that pain and would never wish it on you, and there is no comfort in that moment. I can't tell you that from that moment on, things will get better. Why? Because it's not the end. I know that from that moment on your battle against racism has just begun. It only gets worse from there on.
As a mother, I'm so supposed to teach you to be a decent human being. I'm supposed to tell you to say things like, "please" and "thank you." Teach you to respect your elders. Teach you to respect both your peers and yourself. I'm supposed to guide you in building character, good character and quality character. Character that you're supposed to mold into the best version of yourself which will eventually be used for people to judge you on. How am I supposed to explain to you that none of that matters due to preconceived notions about the color of your skin? When am I supposed to explain that to you? Why do we live in a world where I have to explain that to you?
How does someone tell their child that no matter how high your grades are or how kind you are to others, none of that matters to some people because of something you did not choose and had no say in--the color of your skin?
When you're a little kid and your friends play with toy guns, how do I explain to a 12 year old that a cop might mistake you for a grow man with a real gun and then shoot you to death? When you beg me for the reason why I won't even let you pick up anything even remotely close to a toy gun and tears start to pool in my eyes because I'll stand their visualizing your cold, dead, bleeding body on the ground next to your toys? How do I explain that? How do I explain that we live in a world where little black kids cannot have certain toys fear of them being murdered when I grew up on water gun fights?
When you're a teenager and all your friends are wearing hoodies, how do I explain to you that you can't wear one? How do I make sense of the statement, "they'll mistake you for a thug, I don't want you to get murdered," to you because it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense that a black boy in a hoodie automatically means thug which could lead to a fatal shot wound. How do I explain to you why wearing a certain piece of clothing, harmless cotton, could get you killed?
How am I supposed to teach you to trust officers when police brutality is so huge in this country? How do I explain to you that you are entitled to your rights yet you should comply with those who violate your rights in order to live? When young black women are being harassed, raped, and murdered by police officers, when young black men are being terrorized by police officers, what do I say to you about the people who are supposed to protect you? What do I do?
I am so sorry that the generations before you created this world and you have to suffer for the mistakes of the past. Racial institutions created by people with insidious agendas long before you or I were even born still persist today. I know that moms are supposed to make it seem like everything is under control and keep it together for the sake of our kids but I am so sorry because I can't. I can't fix this. I can't dust you off and put some Neosporin and a bandaid on this. I feel so powerless.
As you get older, I'll hug you a little longer. A little tighter. All I ask of you, no matter what, is that when you leave our house, please don't push me away. You may not realize it yet, but I know the reality. Every time you leave the house, there's a huge chance that you may not ever come back to me.
I'm scared to death. I don't want my baby to be a hashtag. I don't want your name printed on signs and t-shirts on a protest. I don't want to cry on the news begging for justice that will never come, instilling more fear into the hearts and minds of mothers like me. I can't stop you from growing up. I can't stop you from going into the world for your whole life. I can only protect and shelter you so long. I can't hide the horrible reality of the history and state of this nation from you forever and I'm sorry for that.
I apologize to you now, before you're even born, for the horrors that you may inevitably face due to the color of your skin that I cannot protect you from. Please, know that I love you and that you matter. That your life matters. Regardless of what anyone says.
I am so sorry, sweetheart.