Updated: Aug 16, 2020
By: Angel Heggie
I will never forget the day that I found out that I was expecting my very first child, I had so many emotions that day. Not only did I have the extreme joy of knowing that a child was developing on the inside of me, but also in that very moment, I experienced extreme sorrow because the baby that I was carrying, that had not even been born yet, was already hated!
At that thought, I could only weep. I cried so much that my husband misunderstood why. I was not worried about whether or not we would be good parents, how we would afford to raise the baby, and how I would pay for daycare. Those thoughts were minor compared to the worries that I held. My worries consisted of what shade of brown he would be, what grade of hair would he have? Thoughts like: what can I do to help them (White America) accept him? All of those overwhelming thoughts and he had not yet been born. Also, how can I teach him to be a King when society deems him as less than a peasant.
It is now twenty years later and I now have three beautiful Black children, two boys and one girl. The worries and fears that I had, have been heightened. I have done everything that I knew to do as a Black mother. I carefully chose their names so that when they grew up and searched for employment, hopefully they would not be overlooked because of their names. I made sure that they were very clean, neat and presentable at all times. I poured into them, making sure that they were very well spoken and answered every question with yes sir/ma’am or a no sir/ma’am. I made them read from the dictionary for thirty minutes each day, so that no-one could say that my children were not educated! After all, when they (White America) can see how intelligent, respectful and classy my kids are, then they would have no choice but to look at them as equals.
But unfortunately, my all just wasn’t good enough. You see, I worry about the safety of my children every hour that I am awake. I have to worry about them driving while Black, walking or jogging while Black, and yes, sleeping while Black. These days, Breathing while Black has become offensive. When we have the people who swore to serve and protect us, murdering us and not being held accountable, it sends a very clear message. In America they say we’re living “the dream.” For Black America, it’s more of a nightmare that we just can’t seem to wake ourselves up from.
SOL CHI RHO