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Brutal Honesty

In the wake of the murder of Michael Brown and so many other Black children in our country. I have some things to say.

I hold my breath when I see police. I’ve been driving for 16 years and been pulled over only three times. I’d say I actually deserved to be pulled over two of those times. One unwarranted traffic stop in 16 years is damn good odds for a Black chick in this country. But the truth is I was terrified through each and every one of those stops.

Regardless of the jokes we may make, and abrupt “I didn’t do it” at the sound of sirens. A jovial “smile like a white kid” when the cruiser is spotted in on coming traffic. I am terrified of the police. I grew up with an Uncle who was a sheriff. I grew up on military installations where my neighbors were MPs. We had Dare Officers and demonstrations from police dogs in our schools. And still. I am terrified of the police.

As I sat outside the social work building on the college campus where I am currently a doctoral student in broad daylight a police officer drove by, and I held my breath and immediately wondered if anything I was doing could be construed as suspicious.

I know not every cop is racist or violent. I know there are more good cops than bad. But I also know it just takes one moment of bad luck with one bad cop.

After the police car passed I exhaled and again had the thought I’m not proud to admit has passed through my mind way too frequently recently.  I am so glad Kidlet looks white.  He’s 13 now. No longer a cute little kid, now a handsome teenager, but still protected by fair skin, blond hair, and light eyes. There are so many ways in which I hope he will always embrace his Black heritage, but I am so thankful a fear of being shot for existing isn’t one of them.

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Comments on: "Brutal Honesty" (4)

  1. Oh Kat, this hit me right in the heart. I knew your post would end up with that last paragraph, and I know how that must have felt to write.

    Sending love and strength.

    • Seems like I’ve spent so many years getting used to (but ever getting rid of) the birth mom guilt but this is a whole new type of mom guilt and it is strong. Typing the words seems to be saying to the world I’m self loathing. A traitor…but really I just want my baby to stay alive

  2. […] Brutal Honesty: I know you’ve read eleven billion things about Ferguson, but you need to read this one—especially her last paragraph. The brutal honesty of us mothers who birthed and placed have a space in these conversations. Listen, please. […]

  3. […] Therapy Is Expensive […]

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