When they hand you your child, silent or screaming, slimy and fresh from the pipe or towelled up and swaddled well, no mother should know that their son or daughter has a 21 percent higher chance than mine or yours to be shot by police. Many mothers in America, however, know exactly that. Like Barbara Gollubier, who posted a letter on Facebook from the point of view of her absolutely adorable tiny human, Deymian.
The full text of the above post is as follow:
My name is Deymian.
My dad is black and my mom is white. In America, that makes me black.
By the time I am 4 years old most white people will think I’m older than I am. By the time I am 10 years old– white people will think I’m 14 or 15.
I am 21 x more likely to be shot by police than my white counterparts.
If I am killed by police, there is almost no chance that I will receive justice.
I have a 1 in 15 chance of spending time in prison.
I am 5X more likely to be jailed for minor drug offenses than my white counterparts and those sentences are likely to be more harsh.
If I get in trouble at school, I am more likely to be suspended or expelled for minor infractions, while my white friends will get counseling and help and second chances.
I can count on being marginalized by teachers and school administrators who will assume that I’m not smart or that all I want to do is sports.
I am growing up in a country where my mom and dad face constant microagressions simply for being together and having me; I will witness this. It will be part of my daily life and my parents will have to explain it to me.
I am growing up in a country that makes excuses for the state-sanctioned murder of boys and girls who look like me. Police will shoot me in less than 2 seconds (in a state where people have the right to carry real guns) and never ask if it was just a toy gun. And then white people everywhere will shake their heads and say, “he shouldn’t have had that toy gun,” or, “he really doesn’t look 12.”
By the time I’m 12 white people will be scared of me.
But I will still only be 12.
I’m counting on my parents to teach me how to navigate this scary world. I’m counting on my parents to fill in the educational gaps, when school fails me.
But I will rebel– because I’m a kid.
I’m counting on luck to assure that my little rebellions (playing with toy guns even though my parents made it clear that I’m not allowed…) don’t get me killed.
My name is Deymian.
Heartbreakingly, this is a realistic way to look at the world for many of our children. Children who sit together in class, who may play on the same football team or are in the same choir, may never see the same world their friends see. Children raised to stand up for him will be ridiculed for speaking up, they will be told they are making a big deal out of nothing. He, and they, will be told that they are just trying to get attention. Or, even worse, they will be called names that are not repeatable and treated as less than human, and many will turn a blind eye.
Some will be murdered by the Police that we are taught will keep us safe, while playing in a park, while running and laughing and being children. Some know better than to hope for justice — but many know they must fight for it.
This is the world that Tamir Rice, and millions of other children, are living in. Millions of families, less likely to succeed, not because of who they are but because of who we are as a nation. Millions of tiny humans, just because they are melanin rich, should not have to be taught to surrender immediately to any person who appears to be an authority figure or they may be killed.
It is up to us to reject this world, to fight racism it in every aspect, for all of our children.
Feature image via Facebook
Full text used with permission.