Portfolio > insomnia

violent history weighs on me
every time I take my son out
of our home
to a park or playground
tae kwon do practice
comic book store
medical appointment
out to dinner
or school
phones are deployed before
facts are confirmed
he’s white
I’m black
a dark man
living with
laughing with
and loving a white child

I love my blackness

nothing unusual about a dark skin woman
toting white kids around town - societal nanny complex
or the Different Strokes complex
Mr. Drummond
Sandra Bullock
Angelina Jolie
endless paparazzi shots
nurtured optics
white mom/ black child trope
few parallel examples exist for my son and me

my son’s whiteness doesn’t negate my blackness
but I’m often afraid
of a country built
on the fear
loathing and labor
of Black men
of me - the bogeyman

my son’s whiteness does not negate
a noose
America’s ghastly love of lynching
steeped in fears of miscegenation
offensive glares
racist legislative policies
systemic racism
implicit bias

he has yet to notice

but I see people eyeing us
in confusion daily
and worry for the day
when we’re out in public
and he refuses to
hold the safety rail
my hand
stop at the crosswalk
or some form of simple direction

I fear my resulting discipline
direct, stern, loving
might catch the eye
of some well-meaning white person
who challenges my parenting
questions my legitimacy
entirely baffled
calls the police

I wish we lived in a world where this was mere hyperbole
I wish such fears where far-fetched
but unlike my dreams of becoming a father
this wish will probably never come true

much like my mother before me
I go about the quotidian duties of being
a sleep-deprived parent
too absorbed in my son's innocent reality
to allow myself to fully live
in fear

My Son's Whiteness