I am not the mother of an African-American man but I am a mother of a dark-skinned Latino. There, but for the Grace of God, I go that I don’t know the pain of Tryvon Martin’s or Jacob Blakes’s mother. But I do know the pain of seeing the only time my son was beaten, it was by the Chicago police in his late teens. I did share his pain when he lost friends.
When I read BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME at times I was unable to get through passages because my eyes welled with tears and memories of growing up, becoming an adult brown woman in the United States–from mid-twentieth century through the 21st and sharing the pain of being born in a world not meant for you.
Later, I gave a copy as a gift to my son and read a few pages aloud with him.
I’ll look for our copy–which must be amongst the libraries of books in the house. If you don’t have one, order a used copy. Read it aloud to your loved ones. In solidarity with all our black and brown skinned brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, friends–read along in these times. If you are Caucasian, read along. If you pray, pray but if you don’t, read along as a national prayer the words of a black man to his son. We, brown and black in the U.S. who don’t come from privilege know that no matter how much money you make, how many credentials you earn, how famous you are, when you leave the security of your home, you are viewed as a second class citizen by ignorant Whites. I do NOT imply that all white people are ignorant or racists. If you are white and haven’t read this moving testimonial please join me. But that ignorant racists assert their privilege and use whatever ‘authority’ they have with intent.