My baby boy is sleeping peacefully in his crib. Legs splayed, arms tucked up by his chin, tongue flashing in and out as he sucks an imaginary pacifier. I look at him and am overwhelmed with love—and gratitude. Because of white privilege, I know that I will never have to worry that someone is judging him negatively because of the color of his skin. If he gets in trouble at school, I’ll know it’s because he misbehaved. Not because he’s black. If an employee follows him around a store when he’s a teenager, I’ll know it’s because the employee is suspicious of teenagers. Not because he’s black. If he gets pulled over when he’s a young man, I’ll know it’s because he did something he shouldn’t have. Not because he’s black. Most importantly, I’ll know that death will most likely never be the consequence to his actions.
My heart breaks for all the mothers for whom this is not the case.
I want my child—all children—to grow up in a world where it is safe to be yourself. No matter what race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation your self is.
I want my child to recognize that racial bias exists. That gender bias exists. That oppression and rampant discrimination still exist. I want him to stand up for people who need support. To empathize, even if he doesn’t have first hand experience of the struggles some of his peers may face. To acknowledge his white privilege for what it is and to do his part in treating people with dignity.
I hope that in the future we look back on these times with disbelief. That #blacklivesmatter is obsolete. That anger fades and healing happens. Until then, I’ll be teaching my son the lessons he needs to help make that happen.