A child is dead and no one is responsible; instead, it’s deemed a perfect storm of human error. A child is dead and instead of accountability, the dead child is blamed for his own death. A child is dead and his mother is judged for her “bad” judgment in allowing the child to go outside to play at a playground. A child is dead and people want to ignore that this child’s death is not an aberration but is really part of an ugly legacy that for hundreds of years has prematurely taken the lives of Black children and told us that no one is responsible. A child is dead and I am tired, I am gutted, and I am scared because I know that this cycle of premature death and sorrow is never-ending. I am mad that so many of my sisters raising Black children are grappling with keeping their children safe in a world where we cannot keep them safe. A child is dead and I told my child why that child is dead and once again saw the fear and shame in her eyes as she looked at her skin and mine as she asked me if her lighter skin would keep her safe. No, baby, it will not keep you safe.
We are mothers, fathers, and caregivers raising children that we cannot keep safe. Our degrees won’t keep our children safe, our good jobs and suburban homes won’t keep our children safe. All the money in the world will not keep Black children safe. To be honest, it won’t even keep us safe.
Should they safely reach adulthood, even then they are not safe. We send them off to “good” colleges that will attempt to strip them of their humanity through a battery of microaggressions and sometimes outright cries of racial epithets and threats. Hopefully they will make it and find the joy but we cannot assume this and we most certainly cannot guarantee it.
A child is dead and I am angry as hell. A child is dead and knowing that many of you cannot understand the depth of my rage and my pain makes me even madder…knowing that to those with the white hue, your children are safe. Your children are valued, your children are allowed to make mistakes. Your children are seen as humans and the brown and black babies are seen as beasts.
A child is dead and I am so angry and so tired, knowing that we will meet again in this space and that all I can do is write these words.
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