Sometimes the questions that torment the minds of all my children, but that are too awful to curl on tongue, and release from the mouth, come from the voices of my white children.
"But they would never shoot a kid, right? Has this ever happened to a kid?"
I gather strength, I tell the truth. The overflowing plate of injera before me, sustenance for each horrible answer I must convey.
"I am so sorry that this is true, and that I have to tell you, but yes, last year a police officer shot Tamir Rice, who was twelve years old, and playing with an airsoft toy gun in the park. A police officer shot him, and killed him."
I imagine my nearly ten year old son goes pale under his gorgeous caramel hue. His voice sounds pale, and his eyes go deep into mine when he breathes "Mum, thank you for not letting me get that airsoft gun I wanted earlier this year."
At night the tears come. My son is from Charleston, and in his mind, I believe he sees his father fall, as he watches the uninvited footage of Walter L. Scott fall again, and again. He cries because he saw the police beating Black men on the television for the first time, at the restaurant. He saw the lift of the arm, and the swing of the club on Black flesh that lies prostrate. He saw a montage of these last few years of violence, Black lives lost, aggression caught on film. The things we have spoken of carefully, with great intention and prayer, jumped the boundary of far away news to be part of our story.
Something that has happened to some people got mixed up with his people (my son's), and it became very personal.
Since the very beginning we have prayed for grace and wisdom to raise a Black baby, who grows into a Black boy, and into a Black man. This undertaking is done with fear and trembling.
America, please stop killing our boys and our men. America, please understand that the sex talk is not the hardest talk we have with our sons. America, please.