Confessions of a Single Mom #6: The Talk

And I’m not talking about the sex talk either. As a black mother to a black boy, we have to have a talk that our white counterparts don’t: being a black boy in a society that sees him as dangerous and a threat because of the color of his skin. It’s a shame that I have to even have this talk with him and to say that I’m terrified of it is an understatement.

Why do I have to tell my son that because of the color of his skin and he’s a male, he was born with a target on his back? Why do I have to tell him about obeying the police no matter what and not to run even if you’re innocent or they will shoot you down? Why do I have to tell him that no matter what the cop says, don’t become defensive or combative, just cooperate? Why do I have to tell him that if he’s hanging with his white friends and cops come around, he’ll be the one they look at while his friends get to go free, or that he’s the reason for there being any trouble?

Why do I have to explain to him that in school if he seems to be smarter than the rest and he isn’t properly accommodated, his acting out will automatically have him labeled ADD or ADHD or even SPED, when in reality he is just smart and ahead for his age? Why do I have to explain to him that he won’t be able to do everything his white friends do because his skin doesn’t allow him that privilege? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be stereotyped until the day he dies with people assuming he’s a ball player, can run fast and has a big penis?

Why do I have to explain to him that some, not all, white women will go after him for his penis or his money if he decides to play ball? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be fetishized by white women and gay white men? Why do I have to explain to him that there is a certain way he has to act around white people just to make it in this world?

But you know what? Why do I have to explain anything aforementioned to my black son? Because that’s the world we live in and if he’s not careful, he’ll find himself at the barrel end of a gun. I’m not even looking forward to having to have this conversation with his father about when we should talk about these things with him. I know that someone will say why is race always involved. If you live in America and anywhere that black people, especially black boys and men, are shot down for no reason, you’ll understand. Coming from a black mother, our worry about our babies is ten times worse than those of any other race, including those of biracial children.


  1. You know, this talk has bubbled up in my thoughts every now and again. He’s is lighter completed but he’s certainly not going to pass for white… & he’s so mixed.. I don’t really know what I’d tell him. I’m glad I have some more time to choose my words wisely. Great post

    • That’s good that you’re even thinking about the conversation. There are too many black parents who don’t think about it and that’s why these boys are dying. Keeping the line of communication open between black parents and their children is so key in today’s time.

      • Well it’s because I’m not Afro American, so I don’t have a shared history or experience and so, I’m thinking of a way to word my worries by giving him the socioeconomic history that has these lasting implications on young black men like his father … while still putting into a context of a longer history of Africa, native Americans, the Caribbean… just don’t want it to be one dimensional but don’t want it to be vague either 🤦🏽‍♀️ 😐

  2. I am so sorry that you have to even consider this. That you have to worry and fret over when to have this conversation with him. Maybe (not likely but one can always hope) by the time he is old enough to understand, the conversation will be a moot point. I am not the naive though to believe it will have changed. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear that you will carry in your heart, the worry that you will have on a daily basis.

    • Yes, it’s unfortunate but I have to make do with the hand I’ve been dealt and so will my son. It’s a shame that this world hasn’t changed as much as people would like to think, but all I can do is prepare him and pray he takes what his father and I have taught him and make the right choices. 9 times out of 10, he will be homeschooled. As a teacher, I know first hand that this education system is set up against black and brown children. I see it every damn day.

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