Life · Parenting

Why All The Hate?

How would you answer your children when they look at you with a pain in their eyes and ask you, “Why do White people hate Black people?” The question gives me pause. I know that this is the moment that I can no longer hide them from the world. No matter how hard I’ve tried to block it out, the ugliness has seeped in and touched my innocent children. From this moment on they will see themselves as different, as less than and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I floundered on how to respond, do I give them the same trite answer my Mother gave to me because she probably couldn’t answer the questions herself? When I asked her that same question thirty years ago, she said, “Not everyone is like that, you can’t lump them into one group.”

We are lumped into one group. When we protest, we’re called animals. I am not an animal. I don’t behave like an animal. I am an educated person. I have goals and aspirations. I have dreams for my children that do not include them getting shot at a routine traffic stop because they are Black males.

I’m tired of carrying the weight of the stereotypes that are perpetuated by the media against my race. I have three children, they all have the same father. I am not sitting at home collecting welfare and refusing not to work. I believe in hard work, education, and I teach my children the same. I am not loud or obnoxious, neither are my children. I am not the exception to the rule, the stereotype is.

Yet, here we are. Another Black man shot down in the street for nothing more than his Blackness, and the people will protest. We’ll be called animals for being angry that it’s happened yet again. This is not anything new; this is not a recent occurrence. We just have phones now and Facebook to broadcast it to the world. The world has not changed much since 1968, and I fear it never will.

I’m reluctant to answer my children when they ask me questions about race. I need to tread carefully and mask my feelings on the subject. It is my responsibility to teach them how to navigate in a White world and survive. I know the world will change them. It will take away their innocence at a young age. They will be forced to grow up earlier than their peers if they want to succeed in a world where the game is rigged against them.

Still, it begs the question, why?

In some ways, I am still that seven-year-old child, asking my Mother why my brother can’t play outside with his friends in that neighborhood. I still don’t understand why the color of someone’s skin makes them better or worse. I don’t think I ever will, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain it to my children in any way that they will ever understand. Instead, I do what all Black mothers do. I teach them how to behave, how to live in a world where they will be hated, not because they’ve done something wrong but because they were born Black.

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8 thoughts on “Why All The Hate?

  1. I so have a hard time with that. I cannot conceive that you can even consider feeling that way. I am heartbroken. I hate that my black friends feel that way, and think of me, a white person, as someone who sees them as an “animal” — except to tell them all how much I love them, that there is nothing I can do, more than that. Am sick and horrified.

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    1. You wouldn’t believe the number comments on my Facebook page after one of the protests that went wrong and police officers got hurt and people that were my friends calling black people animals and “those” people. I thought to myself how am I supposed to react to this, they are supposed to be my “friends”. I didn’t feel like they were acting like animals, to me it looked like people who were fed up and wanted revenge. I know that revenge doesn’t get anyone anywhere and it doesn’t make you feel better or provide closure. It just sickens me that this is the world we all have to raise our children in because I thought, naively that maybe things would be different by now.

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  2. Painful to read; painful to write; painful to live. By the time you wrote and posted this, another man was shot dead for a broken tail light. This is a national tragedy if it happened just once, in this land of the free, home of the brave. But it happens all the time, it’s accepted and excused. Shame on us, the American people, for allowing this to continue. And continue. Hugs to you brave mama. Hugs and action.

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  3. Michelle, Hatred is a harsh reality in a harsh society. And, we have become a very harsh society. As a seasoned (senior) citizen, I have sensed a maybe not hatred of the elderly, but a dislike or impatience with them. People automatically talk exceptionally loud (we are not all hard of hearing),; repeat things over and over in the loud voice (we do have some sort of retentive ability); and we do understand sarcasm. We are still sharp, an important part of society and have a lot of life to live. So, we ignore the ignorant and remain positive and steadfast in our belief that people will wisen up.

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  4. Michelle, this post makes me want to cry. On behalf of white women everywhere – white people everywhere – can I say I’m sorry for what you go through, for what every black person goes through. It’s insane to attack or judge others because of their race. Apart from anything else, a recent study in Scotland (where I live) found that people had DNA from up to 150 different races, including Saharan tribes. While I realise the racism, xenophobia and any form of dislike of the “other” comes from fear and ignorance, that doesn’t excuse it.

    I have no answer, other than that those of us who don’t hate need to keep reaching out across race, class, country and any other imagined divide and saying, “We love you.”
    I love you. I love you simply because you are a member of the human race. We are all one.

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  5. The difference in treatment absolutely a million percent pisses me off. Especially when so many white people out there ARE acting like animals and behaving in utterly ATROCIOUS ways, and it just gets…brushed off.

    THANK YOU for writing this. It’s because of courageous, wonderful people like you that I’m aware of how privileged I am, and just how fucking far the world has to go yet 😦

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  6. I knew a bigot whom I’ll call “dad”. His brother, a white guy, was in and out of prison, most of his life, for crimes related to drug addiction. I asked him how he could explain that he automatically sees a black person as less than someone like his brother. He admitted it made no sense but he felt that way anyway. He was smart in a lot of ways but in some areas he wasn’t even willing to try to not be stupid.

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