#BeTheChange

My son has soft, dark brown skin. Tightly curled, coarse black hair. A handsome, dimpled smile. Defined arms with a broad frame. He lives to make people laugh. He’s a lover and gives big, intentional hugs. He has beautiful deep brown eyes. Innocent, beautiful deep brown eyes that some day will be tainted from society’s ignorance.

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I haven’t had a chance to blog in quite some time but my heart and stomach have felt unsettled and sick for the past week and it’s time, as our children’s biggest advocate, that I speak up.

I want to start and say that this has nothing to do with police brutality. Nor does it have to do with arguing the meaning of hashtags. It’s not meant to be in protest. It’s also not meant to cause more division. Aria will also face these same challenges, but today I focus on Myles.

The first step in solving a problem is to admit you have a problem in the first place. There’s no better time than now for us in America to admit we have a racial problem in our society.

I encourage everyone to take the time to read this article for some first hand experience on what it’s like to be black in America, specifically the Midwest. First hand experience from an educated, law-abiding black man. Read >>

What makes me sick to my stomach is that our children have already experienced, mostly innocent, yet just as damaging, stereotypical comments at the ripe age of one. I pray the world changes before they are old enough to comprehend and take to heart the ignorance of the world and people around them.

I do not want our family to be seen by colorblind eyes. I love Aria and Myles’ brown skin, I love it when little kids see us at the park and refer to them as our brown babies. They are brown. Black. And African American. It’s a feature of who they are and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I actually jump up and down inside when children have pointed out this fact before, until I see the horrified, embarrassed look on the parents’ faces and my heart sinks. That look tells their children, and mine, that the color of someone’s skin matters.

Some day, Myles is going to be a grown black man. Probably a fairly strong and tall black man and most likely look older than he is. And my fear is that he will be seen differently held under ignorance, stereotypes, and prejudices.

Now’s the time society has to admit we have a problem and face this reality. It’s not a perfect world, but it’s also not impossible to change people’s prejudices if we focus on the problem at hand instead of clouding it with division, blame, more hate, denial, and excuses.

Want to make a difference in this divided world? Want to really ensure all lives are equal?

Remember your children, my children, they are watching and learning from us. All children see skin color as just that, skin color. Somewhere along the way, their views shift—we as adults and parents can change that.

Join me to shed the discrimination, stereotypes, and ignorance that exists in all of us and stop passing on these prejudices. Work to change the ones that you’ve been tainted with, even the innocent ones, and think before you speak or act. 

#bethechange

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