Can You See Us?

Differences shouldn’t be considered dangerous.

A few weeks ago my athlete son proudly told me about his 4-mile run in the “very safe” neighborhood that surrounds the university he attends. My anxiety level instantly rose. 

I reminded him, yet again, that he has to be careful, because unfortunately, some of those neighbors may simply see “a black man running” and do some harm. 

It is hard for him to see himself as other than how he describes himself – a good kid – in a world that continues to see skintones and complexion first. It is also hard for me to have to repeatedly burst his bubble. 

I am mindful that many are struggling with similar concerns and have been triggered by headlines (the accosted Army officer; the shooting in Minnesota) and other ugly realities this week. I’ve talked to young and older, male and female, in my circle and have tried to offer support.

And I am intent on remaining an optimist, helping realize the day when my son and your son and all of us can jog without worry, drive without fear and simply exist without pause.

We owe it to ourselves and future generations to keep trying to manifest this more just world, so that all mothers and fathers, and aunts and uncles, and godparents and friends, and spouses and partners can sleep well each night, without stressing about a loved one’s ethnicity impacting his or her ability to make it home.

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