Popping The Bubbles
I SWORE I WOULDN’T CHANGE, BUT I DID.
The birth of my son was a birth of a new me. I changed from the inside out. The way I view things is totally different. I am not sure when the shift happened. Was it while I was so exhausted during the 1st trimester? Or holding my breath to hear the heartbeat at every doctor’s appointment? Or was it when they laid my sweet boy on my chest, skin to skin, for the first time? Maybe it was a combination of all those things gradually, but I didn’t really see it (or feel it) until now.
The biggest shift has been experiencing the world through the eyes of my son. Seeing life through the eyes of a child is so rewarding. There is such joy and pleasure in the smallest things like picking the lint out of the carpet or playing with the boxes at Christmas time instead of the presents. It is a refreshing perspective. Not only do you get a chance to see things through the eyes of a child, but you are now seeing things through the eyes of a mother. Constantly, anticipating the next move your little one will make to ensure that things are safe as he explores this big world (or really our house, but you get my drift). And then reality set in and I realized that there is a short window of time that my son will remain in my bubble. My safe, clean, and full of love bubble. For as long as the nights (and some days seem), I realize that this bubble period is short-lived. What will happen when he is released to the world that’s not so safe? The world that’s not so mom-proof. At that moment, I knew that I needed to be the change that I wanted to see.
My eyes were open and my ears alert. I started to focus more on how my child would be perceived once outside of my bubble. I didn’t want him to be viewed as JUST a thug, athlete, or entertainer. The big black boy walking in the neighborhood or in school or hanging with his friends. As I looked and listened, I noticed the narrative wasn’t reflected of what I wanted my son to experience.
I Decided To Change It.
As a graduate of Hampton University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), I know that representation matters. Progress has been made with the black images in the media, but it is not enough. We have seen the media demonize black boys and strip them of their true identity of being a child moments after being shot down and killed. That narrative replays over and over and shapes the view of young black boys in our society. We can change the narrative and images of black boys and reinforce that my son and your sons are kids that deserve every opportunity and protection in the world.
Every opportunity we take young black boys ‘out of the box’ and demonstrate that they aren’t monolithic, is an opportunity to humanize them. If we respond to ALL children in the manner that we would want someone to respond to our child, I believe that we will be taking steps to help break the systemic issues that are currently shaping the world’s perception of our black boys and our boys perception of themselves. As we work to normalize our experiences of black families with boys in society, eventually people will react to our boys as if they could be their child or someone else’s child that they love and care about. Because quite frankly, that’s what they are…kids.
However, I can’t solve this problem by myself. It’s going to take each and everyone one of us coming together to do our part. Over the coming weeks and months, I hope to begin a dialogue with other mothers on how we impact and change the narrative around black boys. Together we will establish common ground and celebrate differences.
“The time is now to do some soul searching. are you in?” – Through My Eyes, Charlitta
This week, commit yourself to 2 conversations (either text, email, phone call, or face to face) with:
- Someone in your immediate family
- Someone that doesn’t look like you.
Tell them about this blog post and ask for their thoughts. Please share your perspective using the hashtag #RaisingBlackBoyJoy on social media.