I remember when I first learned I was having a boy at my gender reveal celebration. I was so excited because this was a son I had prayed for. That same evening, the feeling of enthusiasm was replaced with worry, doubt, anxiety, fear and agony.
I was immediately flooded with thoughts of what my Black son would potentially face one day. What issues that only people who look like him would face. I wished I could stay pregnant with him forever so I could protect him from danger. Protect him from someone who feels threatened by him because “he looks suspicious.”
Knowing I have to equip my son with knowledge and consciousness that he can’t do certain things, simply because he’s Black, is a lot of pressure. He can’t play in our front yard or at the park with a toy gun because that could cause him to lose his life, like Tamir Rice. He can’t move and live life without thinking twice at all times.
I hear white people tell me all the time how cute and adorable they think my son is, but in the back of my mind I can’t help but think, “When he’s older and wants to wear his hood because it’s cold outside, will you be afraid of him? Will he still be cute and adorable? Or will you clutch your purse tighter and walk the opposite direction?”
I hate being cynical, I really do. But as his mother, I have to have these thoughts and unfortunate tough conversations with him to prepare him for a world that will be threatened by his Blackness. I have to make sure he understands that he matters and that he is valuable, even though media and the mass majority says he’s nothing and no good.
At just 2 years old, I already have simple, reassuring conversations with him to groom him in knowing he’s worthy and will be the strong Black man that I raise him to be. I hope he has a fair chance to be just that.
Jillian Whitaker is a news reporter for Better Black News, a media outlet highlighting positive African American news and bringing awareness about issues within the African American community. She is also an advocate for mamas and their well being, prenatal and postpartum. Most importantly, Jillian is mama to a 2-year-old little boy, Janori. Follow Jillian and her news team on all social media platforms @betterblacknews or visit www.bbmg.tv.