By Nicole Harding
"I saw your son at the bus stop this morning…he sure has grown!"
That was the early morning text that started my day with a smile. My son is my heart and soul and when I see him, I see unlimited possibilities.
In reality...everyone does not see unlimited possibilities. Some folks see a black boy; others see a criminal. Still others may see my son and think he’s lazy and good for nothing.
This makes my heart sink.
By now I have read enough Facebook posts, and racist tweets to know just what some people think of Black boys; but I am not talking the usual suspects...I'm talking folks that are brown like me.
Sadly, I have noticed that middle class minorities are adopting the US and THEM mentality now more than ever.
I know everyone won't agree and I am not applying this to everyone but, it's there. Even as I type, I have Betty Wright singing in my ear..."I know you not gonna sing THAT song". But it’s true. For some, a part of their own idea of success is being better than, doing better than, and looking better than the rest...of us.
I am guilty of it myself at time; I see a group of young folks at the bus stop pants hanging low and rough housing and I surprise myself at how quick my judgments and assumptions are formed.
Recently, I chatted with an acquaintance about coming together because a boy was being treated unfairly at school she responded, "Girl that could cause problems for my kids. Humph, he's probably a bad ass anyway. You know how they are around there."
Knowing her background I stand stunned...not too long ago SHE was from "around there." I think to myself, the same dog that bit you bit me and can bite him too.
There are so many examples of us feeding from the well of stereotypes; this same well that appall us when others drink from it.
While I am a work in progress on being judgmental, there’s one thing I know for sure: My good job doesn't go to school with my son. Our nice house doesn't go with him either. I stay on my grind to do the best I can by him but when he leaves that door, it’s my hopes and words and lessons that go with him, along with his beautiful caramel complexion!
I believe when mothers all over send their sons out into the world they have hopes and dreams and they are wistful someone else will see these too.
So, when looking at Black boys...Do you see what I see?
If we expect others to see the possibilities we have for our own sons, we must be willing to see possibilities in all of our boys, no matter where they live, what school they attend, or what their parents do for a living.
They are our boys, and in them, we must see the future!
Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development and a wife and mother focused on spreading positivity; one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Follow Nicole on Twitter @RealTalkNic
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