To My Black Son, Your White Mother Will Never Stop Fighting For You

white mother black son systemic racism

It’s time for the burden of ending systemic racism to fall on me.

My son, your heartbeat is my heartbeat, your sorrow is my sorrow and your pain is my pain.

I, like every other mama on this planet, ache with every bit of my being for you to remain the joyous and tender-hearted child that you are, guided by your soul filled with boundless love.

But this week, these months, have called me into a different reality. A reality that admittedly I, as a white mother, was partially blinded to in the past. Before I had a Black son.

That reality is the heavy heart, the fear, and the deep pain that too many mothers with Black children are burdened with.

It is our nature as parents to desire the brightest of futures for our children. We dream of a life where they exceed all of our expectations. My son, I desire nothing more than for you to dream big and have every opportunity to achieve those dreams.

Yesterday, we ventured through DC on our bikes as we do daily and you sung out “Ca-pit-al” in your tender 1.5 year old voice as you pointed excitedly to the domed fortress atop the Hill. And during I wondered what that “Capital” will represent for you when you are older.

I pray it is the ideals that your grandfather and great grandfather so valiantly fought for as Marines. They fought for these ideals for you. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know you; they fought for you. They fought to make this world a better place for you and for me.

But, my biggest fear is that it is not a better place for you than it has been for me due to the color of your skin. We haven’t made the progress your grandfather and great grandfather so courageously fought for.

My son, I need to be honest with you. Those American ideals of equality, justice, freedom, and liberty have not been as equally distributed as I was told growing up. You may very well be conscious of this reality in just a few short years. And for that, I am heartbroken.

My son, I will fight for you.

I will fight against any injustice and any seemingly small micro-aggressive act witnessed so that you, your father, and all men and women of color may know these values that we purport to provide for all Americans.

Your mama and your papa will fight for you every single moment of every day so that this is not your reality.

This afternoon, you reached up to Papa and said, “hug” in your little voice filled with pure love. Little did you know how much your papa needed that hug.

Like so many men and women of color and many of their allies, your papa deeply needed that innocent hug this week. That is, the week that George Floyd was killed. It has been a heavy week, my son.

Papa is tired. He is tired of carrying the emotional weight of racial injustice. Most of all, he is saddened that this reality could persist into your future.

I tell you, my son, the burden of this fight can no longer fall squarely upon the shoulders of your father and every other Black person.

This burden can no longer be passed down to you and future generations to complete this reconciliation we so deeply need.

It is I and my fellow white community members who must own this burden — the burden of finally ending systemic racism. It is ours as a nation, but particularly ours as white Americans.

Our lack of awareness, our ambivalence and our silence has only furthered the emotional toll that inequality and racism have taken on our black community. If we remain silent, we are undoubtedly complicit.

Mamas, I call on you. I know that with every ounce of your being you share these desires for your children.

Mamas, will we stand together? Will we condemn any injustice, any inequality, any moral wrongdoing as fiercely as we as we protect our own offspring?

I want to believe the answer is yes, but our actions remain to be seen. Our actions will be evident in our children.

My fellow mamas, I plead with you: Teach your children about race and implicit bias.

Be an empathetic ear! When we fail to listen, we are undermining the realities lived by our peers of color. We are only furthering, rather than easing, their pain. We are discounting their realities lived.

Envision your child and ask yourself if you can fight for my child and every child of color as if they were your own.

How will you do this? Start by listening. Start by using your voice and your vote to take action. Refuse to be a complacent actor to centuries of injustices.

I cannot imagine a higher purpose as cultivators of the next generation than to ensure that we provide all children a better tomorrow.

Mamas, this is our world to change! 

Originally published on YourTango.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash


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