Yesterday, thanks to the advice from a friend to save my Instagram story to my profile, I came up with a new hashtag #BlackDadWorries that spells out how I feel in the face of all this death. And death isn’t even calling it what it is—murder, with Black lives continually cut short, and the message made clear: there’s nowhere out there where Black people should reasonably expect to be safe from a world that’s trying to get them.
My boys are still young, but they’re growing up quick, developing worlds and lives of their own. And while I’d love just to sit back and let them develop on their own so they can build senses of self in the truest sense of the phrase… the world we live in won’t let me do it. Yes, they’re six and four, but they’re six- and four-year-olds who hear they look “dirty” because their skin is darker. Six- and four-year-olds who hear they’re not white enough to play with other kids. I’d love to take things slow, but their world’s developing quickly, and it makes me wonder when I’ll need to sit them down and tell them what the world’s really like.
#BlackDadWorry: That the World Will Swallow My Children Up.
I know we don’t have it as rough as our southern cousins, where the hatred’s more overt and even palpable, but I’m not foolish enough to think they’ll easily dodge the bullet up here. There’s plenty I’ll have to teach them that I don’t want to have to teach them, but it’s the only way I know to improve their chances of surviving the world.
Codeswitching. What kind of clothes you should wear. The types of cars you should drive if you don’t want to be pulled over for driving while Black. What the people who want us to believe we live in a post-racial world don’t understand is that we need to raise kids with an entirely different rulebook not because we want to, but because the rest of the world keeps showing us that we have to. I want my kids to know that they’re loved and that they can be successful, but that no matter how much money they make or how many letters they get after their names, there’s a part of them that’ll always be looking over their shoulders because someone will want them to fail because they’re Black.
So my #BlackDadWorries aren’t that I won’t do enough for my children or that I can’t give them every advantage possible to do well in life, but that the world could snuff them out at a moment’s notice, and there’s nothing I can do to prevent this.
This is a first, but it won’t be the last.
I hope you’re all doing okay out there in this COVID-19 world, and that we find a way to get back to normalcy sometime soon, but let’s put some thought into what that world could look like if we don’t make any efforts to improve on the one that we came from before.
Be well out there, be safe, and help be the change we need to stop all this madness from happening.