Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things That Appear Scary But Really Are Not's descriptions of fear are defined as such:


  [feer]  Show IPA
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.,whether the threat is   real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. foreboding,    apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright,panic, horror, trepidation, qualm. 

a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: anabnormal fear of heights. phobia, aversion; bêtenoire, bogy, bogey, bugbear. 

concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.

reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God. awe, respect, reverence, veneration.

something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of:   Cancer is a common fear.

anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur: Having grown up during  the Great Depression, he had constant fear of running out of money.

For the purposes of my explanation I have scratched number four off my list. I would like to address those things we come across that tend to produce a phisological reaction know as fear. I would like to explore why such a large number of people fear images such as the one below:

This is actually a very random picture that was taken a year before the political agenda of wearing hoodies was ignited by the death of Trayvon Martin. It's just two little boys being silly in a shopping mall. In the midst of our tomfoolery, never in a million years did it cross my boys looked menacing. Quite frankly their posture and facial expressions also speak to the fact that intimidating, shady, gangsta, or a hardcore image is pretty far from the look they were even trying to portray.

I must say as a parent with the responsibility of raising 3 black males, I am not only sensitive, but dare I say paranoid with the fact they are viewed by so many in society as thugs. Regardless of their background, they will be prejudged. Regardless of the standards set by their parents, they will be prejudged. Regardless of their actual temperament, disposition, or motivation, they will be prejudged. There is an automatic prejudgement that takes place concerning young black males. 

I have made personal painstaking efforts to combat so many of the commonly known stereotypes. When my first son was was born, I made up my mind that boy was going to be a scholar. I didn't care if he never did anything other than informally kick a ball around at the park. He was not going to be a stereotypical black boy. You know the type: athletic but not necessarily with good grades. I come from a family of good athletes. My husband is a good athlete. If I wasn't such a laid back person I could be athletic....ish. Well, I can at least look athletic. I could totally be an actress playing the roll of an athlete. At any rate, I had no intention of having my son be prejudged by one of the most common stereotypes known to African American males. 

So I dragged this poor kid to every library program, musical interactive program, art gallery, and had his passport stamps more times than people 5 times his age before he even started kindergarten. All in an effort to produce a well rounded, cultured, savvy young man. I wanted people to be in awe of him, and walk away feeling ashamed that they ever thought to pre-judge him. 

But here are the cold hard facts about raising a young black male. The bigger and blacker they get, the more menacing they are perceived....period. He could be fluent in seven different languages, and move with etiquette akin to the queen of England, and those facts are not going to change. 

I could now throw at you enough statistics to disprove a vast majority of your preconceived notions about how and why black males are the lowest most menacing members of society. I could launch into a tirade on the whoas of institutional racism. However, I have also learned and more importantly, been reminded with the death of Trayvon Martin, that people who feel that way cannot be persuaded into a different mindset. It is a reality that people who feel that way will move in "fear" and respond accordingly. 

What this means to me is that my method of operation and motivation must change. The amazingly smart scholars that you see above. Who get advanced test scores, honor and merit roll awards, college scholarship referrals in middle school, leadership certificates, and yes just so happen to be among the absolute best soccer players not only in the county, but dare I say the state, are going to have to move more cautiously then friends of theirs just because they are black. And I as a mother will continuously reinforce a simple yet profound concept that I hope serves as a consolation in an unfair world. The truth that I will always love them more than anyone else can ever hate them.
Young Scholars Induction Ceremony

One of the areas most talented

They wear more than hoodies

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