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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

White Mother Musings

       This is a painful week of Thanksgiving. The proudly American holiday of counting our blessings and of celebrating and sharing our abundance, occurring at the same time as all of the ugly truths and falsehoods in Ferguson remind us, yet again, of all that we have not accomplished as a nation. An ugly old legacy we just can't seem to process.
      I don't want to add to the divisiveness, which is so severe, that maybe, just maybe, some good can come from it. So I'm not blogging on the subject to engage in debate, simply as a bit of reflection.
      I just keep thinking of the Mom. Michael Brown's mother, Mrs. Lesley McSpadden.
      I have a son who is 6.4 and 250 lbs. too. I've had some fears for him since he achieved that size. My son, too, did some stupid things when he was a teenager. Mine too had several "brushes with the law", (though his were for marijuana and nothing violent). And the law where I live always allowed, even encouraged, me to throw wads of cash at them as a resolution. Which I always did. I have never had to worry, or even contemplate, that he would be shot six times. Shot dead.
      Sadly, I know many people will annihilate my analogy to justify the death, saying it was necessary and/or deserved. I have heard the arguments. They have accepted the old-as-the-Emancipation Proclamation self-defense testimony of a white man of equal size calling the suspect a hulk and a demon. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that that were true (though I don't find it all credible or even remotely believable in this case), we should still ask, we should still care, why? Why would any of that behavior have occurred? If the suspects were white youth what would have been different?
      What if he were your son?
      I'm going to share again the poem I wrote after the Zimmerman verdict, and am so sorry for the Browns. I wish them peace and comfort this week and always. What I know for sure is that while I can sympathize I cannot know their sorrow. I simply cannot know it. I can imagine it is unbearable, but I will never know.

My son and a friend in the back of my car a few years back.

      Lastly, since my blog is supposed to be about writing, I leave you with this excerpt from a 1960 American masterpiece of literature;

“The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
                                                                       ~ from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

For the Other Parents

Since the year 1863
there has been a talk many American parents
have to have with their American sons
at just about the time that their son’s
voices begin to change, and their muscles
harden into impending manhood,
at just about the time that referring
to the boy as boy becomes something else.
They say things like these,
things I have never had to say to my son,
nor have any of my ancestors
since the year 1863.


There will be times, from now on
when people will be afraid of you.
You have to be aware of this at all times,
to develop a sense for it, to feel it
before it turns bad, because
very bad things can happen to you
when people are afraid of you.
You can’t play with toy guns anymore,
or swords, or pick up pipes, or even sticks.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Try not to go anywhere alone,
especially at night.
If you’re being followed try to find someone
so you’re not alone.
Cooperate with authorities even when
your dignity makes that hard.
Don’t do anything with your hands but put them up.
Don’t worry about winning or losing.
Your goal is to survive.
Let them stand their hallowed ground
that they’re afraid of you taking.
You just stay alive.
And always - remember
there is nothing wrong with you,
nothing wrong with the way you look.
You are who you have always been
and that is the ground that
you have to stand.

by Tammi J Truax
all right reserved

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