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For the Black Mothers

I am a Black mother. Raising Black children in the modern day public lynching movement. Did we ever really gain our civil rights? A question I am constantly asking myself. Right before I became pregnant with my daughter, Trayvon Martin was murdered. During my pregnancy, Jordan Davis was murdered, too. A year and a half after she was born and prior to conceiving my son, Mike Brown was murdered, too, followed by Tamir Rice. Now my babies, who will always be my babies in my eyes, are 4 and 7 years old, and the list has grown exponentially. Most recently, with the murders and lynchings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and George Floyd. I have watched those people who I will not center in this conversation pretend like nothing happened or falsely pretend to care by sharing a post or posting an article in their stories, or not. I am not centering you today though, I am centering Blackness. Because herein lies the problem: When you continue to view Blackness as other, when you raise your children to view Blackness as other, guess what? Your children are perfectly capable of killing us in the streets.

But today I speak as a Black mother. Raising Black children in the modern day public lynching movement. I watch how businesses release statements of solidarity online without ever ensuring their company reflects more Black folk in all positions, especially those positions at the tippy top of the capitalist iceberg. Or the businesses that don’t say a word at all. I see your complicit silence. But you think your post suffices. It does not. Today I speak as a Black mother, dressed neatly in my Black skin, as my heart is heavy with the load of racism. I first recognized racism in my life in elementary school. Several teachers, all white women, just did not like me. Because I was smart. Because I was outspoken. Because I was a Black girl. I watched these teachers make me repeat assignments, leave me out of some trips if I talked too much in class and penalize me for just being. Imagine being penalized or better yet MURDERED for JUST BEING?!

Today, I speak as a Black mother, because as Malcolm X said, Black women are the most unprotected people in America. Is it because we give birth to Black sons like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Black daughters like Breonna Taylor and Renisha McBride? Or is it because our presence evokes the sun, lighting up paths of greatness that blind you so boldly that you decide to kill us? Freedom has always been a constructed concept for Black folks in the USA. Our freedom has been bound up in systemic and collective white supremacist brutality that brought us here by force. And we built the shit out of this stolen land that murdered Native Americans and wrapped their stories up on reservations and in museums with stolen artifacts.

So if you do not care about the historical scars on my skin and the Black diamonds I treasure like magic within my Black mama womb, do not tell me you are sorry. Do not ask me what books you should read. Do not make blind donations without changing your behavior, and asking your friends and them, to do the same.

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