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Not all kids have the luxury of “just being kids.”
with their family.
These should-be-ordinary situations are turned upside-down and inside-out, exposing white fragility and privilege at its finest, all because black people dare to exist. And it is because of these exact situations, and countless others, that my four children are not allowed to be unsupervised.
This isn’t about being a helicopter parent. I was raised in the country, my family home sitting on two acres of land complete with a one-hundred-year-old barn, a treehouse, and lots of green space. My childhood can be summarized as play-in-mud-puddles-and-don’t-come-in-until-the-sun-goes-down country. Free-range accurately defines how I was brought up.
Though my children aren’t being raised in the country, but instead in a suburb just outside St. Louis, I never allow them to run around our yard by themselves or look at toys in the store while I’m a few aisles over grabbing a few groceries.
If my kids are outside, I’m outside. If they’re playing at the park, I’m standing on the sidelines. If they’re invited to a birthday party, I’m sitting in a corner scrolling through social media on my cell.
If we’re at the store, they’re within watching distance.
I know that even if I’m nearby, things can happen. I’ve shared the time a young white man drove past our driveway and hurled the n-word at my older daughters who were riding bikes, and the time an acquaintance called my two-year-old son a “cute little thug” right in front of me and him.
Certainly, racism is unavoidable and has a long, brutal history. But its boldness never ceases to shock me.
What the 9-year-old boy encountered was unavoidable. He did nothing wrong. But thankfully, his mom was right there, as was the man who videoed the encounter with Klein outside the store, and other onlookers, all able to come to the aid of the boy.
And as long as my children are vulnerable to the snares of audacious, privileged, fragile white people, I’m going to be right there, doing the job I was chosen to do. I’m unwavering and unapologetic in my commitment to supervise, protect, and guide my children.
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