Today was “leg day” for my sons and I. We have been home together for weeks now. We decided to make good use of our time by working out together. My youngest son, Bryant, is the current athlete in our home, so we have been deferring to him for guidance on which exercises would benefit us the most.
With recent events swirling in my mind, I decided to have a conversation with my sons in between reps. I fired off my usual questions: Were they aware of the recent killing of an unarmed African American man, the verbal assault upon an African American man simply because he made a request of another person to obey a law, etc. They replied in the affirmative. Then I continued my usual talk with them, reiterating the importance of compliance with law enforcement, being aware of their surroundings, and always carrying their phone and identification when going out. They replied they understood and we kept working out.
During our conversation, I noticed we were not expressing any emotion you would expect: outrage, sadness, despair, disbelief, etc. That is not to say we are an unfeeling family. Quite the contrary; we are loving and nurturing to ourselves and others. I think at this point, we’re on autopilot and we’re tired. I know I’m tired of having to have this same conversation with my sons over the same issue, time and time again. I’m tired of the fear I feel for them everytime one of these heinous acts occurs.
I always reflect upon my children and their personalities. Bryant, my baby, has always been the most outspoken of my two sons. He has never been afraid to speak his mind. But my constant “stay alive” speech encourages the opposite. Am I suppressing him?
And Aaron, my sweet Aaron. Autism affects the way he sees the world. Although he was nodding his head this morning and stated he understood why I was instructing them, once again, I could see in those loving brown eyes the confusion. And the questions: Why would the police kill someone who wasn’t armed? Why would the lady call the police and act like she was being threatened? In Aaron’s world, the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie. Shades of gray (“He should’ve complied with the police.” or “She had every right to call the police if she felt threatened.”) make no sense to him.
So here we are, in 2020, having to explain to and prepare our sons for, racism and it ugly manifestations. They’re tired. We’re tired. And we pray y’all will get tired of hurting, killing and otherwise mistreating us.