Someday We’ll All Be Free
As an African-American, I have experienced things that I would not wish on anyone else. I know that the cure for the hate that some others have for me based simply on the color of my skin will not come in my lifetime. The only true cure for hate is love. I love hard. Sometimes it can be challenging to love someone that you know hates the simple sight of you. What else can we do? What am I talking about today? Good question and I am so glad that you asked. Every day on the news I hear something about transgendered teens and where they can or cannot use the bathroom. I feel like if teenagers are going to be able to use the bathroom based on the gender that they associate with at school, then I need to have a conversation with my son. I have been thinking about how to approach this topic. I am not sure what I will say. I have thought about possible questions that he is likely to ask me and I don’t have answers. • Why can’t they just have a separate bathroom? Well son, you see, that would be discrimination. There was a time (still is in some places) when black people had a separate bathroom just because they are black and we don’t want to make people feel badly because of who they are. • Men and women have separate bathrooms, so what is the big deal? I really wish that it were that simple. • How does a boy know that he is a girl? I think that he just feels a certain way and knows that it is different. • Does God make mistakes? No he does not. • You sure? Yes. My son is a teenager with raging hormones. He is going to kiss and probably touch. I hope that is as far as it goes based on conversations that we have had. My concern is, what if he kisses someone that he thinks is a girl and then learns it is a boy who believes that he should be a girl? I don’t know how to help him with that. I know for a fact my husband doesn’t know how to properly train him on this issue. So, what do we do? I wonder about children that have been allowed to alter their bodies because they think that they are the opposite of what they were born as. Do they really know? Have they lived in their original skin long enough to really know that it doesn’t fit? I am the first to stand up for civil and equal rights. I am the first to say that I really don’t care who you love so long as they love you back. I am the first to say, live out loud. I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite because I say these things, but I ponder over sex changes and hormone therapies for teenagers who haven’t even reached puberty yet. I stay in my lane, but there doesn’t seem to be any lines drawn for me to know exactly where that is. I am proud of gay pride and self-awareness. I am happy to know that people can marry who they love. My envy comes in at the point where African-Americans have been fighting for their rights longer than any other minority group and we have not made much progress and other minority groups have surpassed us. There are more gay couples on television then black ones. There is more talk about being transgendered then there is about being black and murdered. All of these conversations have to be had with my son. I only wonder what conversations are taking place in non-African-American households. Other minorities come to America and they sometimes have a phobia of African-Americans and what it means to be us in this country. Are parents teaching sensitivity to the “N” word? Are they teaching equality for all no matter what color the person is? I can’t speak for all of the households across America, so I won’t try. I want to prepare my son to be a good citizen, a good man, a good person. I want him to be able to really see people for who they are and not what they are. All of my other children are adults, so we are past this conversation and I have had no practice with this issue because it was not the same issue back then. I did not come with a book of instructions and neither did my children, so as a mother, I have done the very best that I knew how to do. I am confident that I will continue down that path. I go into this knowing that I am not perfect and that I may not have the right answers and I am subject to error and open to learning.
Hang on to the world as it spins around Just don’t let the spin get you down Things are moving fast Hold on tight and you will last Keep your self-respect, your manly pride Get yourself in gear Keep your stride Never mind your fears Brighter days will soon be here Take it from me, someday we’ll all be free, yeah –Donny Hathaway
Be Blessed The Writer