Whose Perception?

January 2018

“There is no truth. There is only perception.”  – Gustave Flaubert

I’m sitting here thinking about perception or rather yet the verb of perception (perceive) and trying to understand how police are trained to view threats. Is there some secret to this? How can some officers discern what is real from what is fiction before shooting to kill?

It’s something that bothers me. I’m trying to gain clarity and understanding about this. I have a black son. I don’t like having different rules for him that some of my other friends that aren’t raising black sons don’t have. Are we perceived threats by the color of our skin? By our tone? By our clothes?

As Munch is getting ready to enter the double digits in a couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my son will begin to drive in six short years. That he’ll want to go out and have fun with friends, get a job or get back and forth to practice. On his own. In a car.

However, before that happens, I have to teach him things that could save his life if ever pulled over…

  1. Let me do a visual check before you drive. I’m checking for all working lights so that can’t be an excuse for you getting pulled over.
  2. No more than 2 other friends in the car. Keep your head straight and both hands on the wheel.
  3. Stay calm and clearly answer the questions that are asked. Don’t let someone rile you up. Be respectful.
  4. Call my cell phone before stopping and record the entire conversation on my voicemail if I don’t answer. Speak loud and clear.

  5. Keep your license and registration card in your wallet and your wallet in the cup holder. Don’t reach for anything.

 

I guess I’m perceiving that the officer that stops my son will see him as human. A young man. A man worthy to make it home to mama.

P

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “P” is for Perception. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Objective

Objective

A mother with almost 10 years of experience in raising a black boy seeks a position where I can foresee the future. I’m highly intelligent with an ability to multi-task my projects, people and presence in my son’s life. My background in Human Resources allows me to find multiple ways to effectively communicate my expectations with my son. I view discipline as a way to influence positive behavior and have achieved successful results. I’m both strong willed and determined, which is a requirement when trying to navigate two different parenting styles in two households. I value developing my son into a young man that will live to watch his great grandchildren playing in the backyard which is why I’m looking for a position that will allow me to confirm that all I’ve done and continue to do will be enough. That he will live.

O

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “O” is for Objective. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Knowledge

 

October 2017

I’m sitting here trying to explain to Munch the importance of taking turns in class. He likes his teacher and is settling in, but he doesn’t understand why the teacher doesn’t call on him. Talking to him is like pulling teeth some times. I need definitive and direct answers about what is happening in class. I need to assess whether or not the class environment is working.

He continues to talk and says well I answered that question right. I respond “So, your teacher did call on you today in class?” “Yeah” he replies “But, I wanted to answer more questions”. I smile and tell him that I understand but it is important that the teacher calls on other students as well. I explain how teachers want to give other children the opportunity to answer questions as well, regardless of whether or not they may raise their hands. She needs them to participate.

He smiles. I asked does he understand and he says “Yes, mommy.”

Crisis averted. I search for more in depth analysis of his days because it is important to me that I learn about the complete classroom experience in his words. Before he even started schools, I searched to try and understand the research that was basically telling me that my son would have it harder than I ever did in school. Research that told me the following…

Black boys are more likely to be placed in special education.

Yes, I know it. Read the statistics. Scared me to think that I was sending my 5 year old black boy into a school that didn’t understand him. To a teacher that may not enjoy teaching children or better yet understanding the culture of black boys. I read how teachers like to diagnose and place them in special education. Not my Munch.

Black boys are not reading on grade level.

We spent a lot of time trying to prepare Munch for school. The French Immersion program provided him many benefits of learning another language. I knew that it would boost his scores in English and Math for his ACT and SAT scores that he would take later. I also knew that learning a foreign language would increase the size of his brain. Those things were important. I had to set him up for success. I read to him while he was in my womb and continued to read to him after birth. I made sure that he knew his site words and could read going into kindergarten.

Punishment for black boys is harsher than for any other demographic.

Yes, so many articles told me that Munch would be punished harder than his other peers who may be of a different race based on the color of his skin. I had to teach him things like “No rough housing, keep your hands to your self, keep a minimum of 10 feet between you and the next person when standing in line, etc.” It’s exhausting, but he had to know. He had to know that the lessons that I was teaching him would be of benefit.

Knowledge is powerful. When I read too much I get stressed thinking that Munch will suffer a fate worse than death if I’m not an advocate for him. That’s probably why I am active at his school and in his school. The administration has to know that I appreciate and support them.

K

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “K” is for Knowledge. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Jordan

April 30, 2017

Munch turned 9 today. I’m having a party for him later today. I’m excited. He’s excited. Yet, I’m sad. Every year as I watch him grow I’m in fear of his safety. I try to block it out. I try to think positive, but something happens that reminds me that my son has a bulls eye on his back.

Today it was Jordan Edwards death. Jordan was a straight-A student, talented athlete who came from a two-parent home. Yet, even with those stats he wasn’t safe. He was 15 years old and the day before Munch’s 9th birthday he was murdered.

Munch will be 15 in six years. How can I protect him when it seems that our police are trained to fear their life and shoot without thinking? He didn’t do anything. To many what ifs play in my mind. What if Munch is riding in a car? What if Munch is walking home from the store? What if Munch is playing with his friends outside? I can’t breathe some days thinking about the what ifs. The list is endless.

My mind is in a daze this morning. I must check my emotions, put on some make up and smile because this is the day that I brought forth life. A mother is mourning the loss of her son as I sit preparing to celebrate mine. I will pray for that mother and her family. I will love on my son and kiss harder and love harder than ever before.

This has got to stop.

Black is beautiful.

He is beautiful.

He is loved.

J

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “J” is for Jordan. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Cleveland

November 22, 2014

I’m standing in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner. Munch is in his room watching television and waiting for his dinner. I hear the news. A 12 year old boy named Tamir Rice was just gunned down in a park in Cleveland, Ohio by two police officers. The glass I was holding shatters.

He was 12. The picture shows a sweet smiling little boy. I watch the news with tears as I wonder how anyone could kill a 12 year old boy. What has this world come too? A mother burying her son. This isn’t how the world is supposed to work. We are supposed to have our children bury us after many years lived.

He won’t have that opportunity. I wonder is anywhere safe. I wonder if this little boy’s mom thought that the city of Cleveland was safe. If her street or neighborhood was safe. If she thought that those who were supposed to protect and serve would never harm her son.

Another boy dies. Another mother weeps. A life cut short. How can I protect my four year old son? No guns. No play guns. No Nerf guns. I have to keep Munch safe.

I clean up the broken glass and think that this is life. We’re all broken. The police are broken. This family is broken. The justice system is broken.

No rest for mothers tonight.

 

C

 

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “C” is for Cleveland. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Life’s Not Fair

I had an amazing weekend. Busy, but I got everything I wanted to do done. LOL. You like that right? Everything that I wanted to do. Not everything that I should have done, etc. But, it was perfect.

However, I wanted to tell you what happened when I picked up Munch from after care at school on Friday.  I missed the heck out of that little boy.  It was like my world was set right laying eyes on that beautiful kid of mine. He smiled this big grin and gave me a hug, but I knew something was wrong the minute he hugged me. What’s wrong I asked? “Nothing” he replied. I said, “Munch, I know something is bothering you baby. What is it? What is wrong?” He then told me how he got in trouble today in after care. He said that they were lining up for snack time and a young boy (in kindergarten) yelled out that he wanted to be second in line, but Munch beat him to be second in line. The little boy said to Munch, “Hey, that’s not fair. I wanted to be second.” Munch replied “Life’s not fair”. He said that the little boy was upset and then told the director. Munch said that he didn’t yell at the little boy. He said “I said it matter of fact mommy. I wasn’t mean or yelling” but the director told me that I shouldn’t have said it.

His little eyes were wide with fear. Fear that I would be mad at him. I said “Munch, you did nothing wrong. You were right. Life is not fair and as long as you weren’t mean to him, then you are giving him a dose of reality.” Was I wrong? I don’t think so.

Munch is very sensitive and feels for everyone, but I’m trying to toughen up his exterior to know that not everything will work out for you. You can try your best and still fail and you know what? That’s okay. Life’s not about being fair. Life is about doing the best you can and being a good human being. No one is going to give you anything.

But, could Munch have just given him the spot? Sure, but should he have too? The child wasn’t going to not get a snack. He just wasn’t second in line. I know that some people make think it harsh that I support what he said, but it’s cool. I believe that we should be good people, but we shouldn’t deny ourselves if we choose not too.

I would have been more hurt had the child not gotten a snack and Munch didn’t offer to share his. The reality is that I’m raising a black boy in a “post racial society” where many people think racism is dead. It’s not. He may get pulled over for being black and even though it may not be fair, you need to know how to act. He may be unfairly judged in the classroom or on the streets and it’s not fair, but it is the way it is. I’m teaching him how to survive when life’s not fair, because that’s all you can do.

What are your thoughts?

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Soccer Season is Here

Yay! Can you tell I’m excited? Munch is on a new team and practice began this week. I can’t wait. I ordered a custom soccer shirt to represent him at his games. Yeah, I know I’m pressed, but I’m a mom. What do you expect?

Zeta Soccer Shirt

I have learned to love soccer. Not because Munch is an exceptional player, but the benefits of teamwork. Munch can play, but if he doesn’t want to play I don’t push him. I tell him to pick one sport, any sport, and he will have to commit to a season. Being an only child I need him to experience both teamwork and the winning and losing of games. He needs to know that life is not fair and he will win some and lose some. Soccer helps him with that.

It’s funny though because when he was on a team that made it to the finals and then lost in the first game, everyone cried but Munch. It was a pretty crushing defeat. My sweet boy was more concerned about his snacks and said “I’m not upset because coach said we should have a good time. I did. So, I’m okay.” Yep – out of the mouth of babes.

Munch’s coach this year is a woman and he’s on a co-ed team. Super excited because we’ve never had a woman coach and you know I’m all about that girl power.  I reached out to her to let her know that I will help out in any way possible. They also use the Sports Illustrated app which is new to me, but I’m going to learn to adjust.  Thank God the kid doesn’t need new cleats this year. I’ve had to buy new cleats due to his foot growing for the last 4 years. Woohoo! Win for me.

I’m trying to match up the uniforms and socks exactly. It’s a pet peeve to not be matching, but we’ll see if I can do it. Munch is not to ecstatic. He thought he needed more time. I reminded him that Spring started on March 20th and games are rapidly approaching. He reluctantly agreed.

Oh, and in other news that is not soccer related, Munch’s main teacher has returned to school after being on administrative leave since mid-September. You heard that right. School ends June 9th and he returned on March 28th. Let’s see how the kids adjust. I’m super excited because I truly like this man, but I have to give it to the long-term substitute teacher…she did that thing. She was encouraging, nurturing and really interested in making sure that her children understood the curriculum. She responded to my emails and she will be missed.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.