black boys masculinity Parenting
In This House Boys Will Not be Boys: Teaching My Son New Lessons on Masculinity9/18/2014
by Crystal Tennille Irby I love my son’s hands. I love to hold them/ kiss them/ help them trace...
I love my son’s hands. I love to hold them/ kiss them/ help them trace letters. His hands amazed me at the tender age of 3 writing Hs on his own. Then minutes later horrified me transforming Legos into a gun which he aimed at me and said “Pow, pow Mommy.” He doesn’t know his cousin’s fibula will be shattered two days later due to a gunshot wound or a week later Chicago will register its 500th homicide. He doesn’t know he will never meet his Uncle because he was shot five times in the back at close range or during my 6th month of pregnancy with him a young Black male was killed in our county every weekend. He doesn’t know more than Kassandra Perkins, Javon Belcher is imprinted in my psyche because more than wondering how to keep my brown boy from falling victim to violence I wonder how to prevent him from becoming a perpetrator. He doesn’t know we’ve done everything in our power to insulate him from exposure to violence. He doesn’t know. He’s just a boy, all boy they say. Let him be. No. Not in this house.
In this house, this mother will always challenge him to consider another’s space, even at the tender age of three because I will not take for granted he has time and eventually he’ll get it. No I’d rather not waste time undoing. I will teach him, this is your body, take care of, be willing to walk away to save it. In this house this mother will teach her son the death of a young woman at the hands of her partner or of young men who look like him must never be conveniently wrapped in a discussion about gun control. He will know there are too many women who now lay silent by being brutally beaten, fatally stabbed or strangled at the hands of the men they next too every night. There are way too many young men who now lay silent because they felt they had no other way to exercise power. Transforming these tragedies into a conversation solely about gun control eats away at my soul and overlooks a glaring stain woven into the psyche of this culture. In this house, boys will be given more than the “guns are dangerous” rhetoric. In this house, my dear son, my brown boy with amazing hands will be given tools to build and I pray he will never seek safety or power through destruction.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock