A Black Mother’s Response To A Child’s Call
While George Floyd lay dying on the ground he called out for his mother. I believe every black mother rose up in response to that cry. In her book, If It Wasn’t For The Women, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes notes, “Black women take their own problems very seriously, but they historically are given primacy to the problems faced by their children - their male and female children”. We will beg, borrow, steal, and ask for forgiveness from God. As a Black mother, if I hear a child call “Ma, Mama, Mommy, Mother” or any other term used for one’s mother, I turn around to see who is calling. I could be alone without my child and I respond to the call because I am a Black mother. It doesn’t have to be a Black child calling. I’m responding to the call. Why? Because that’s just what we do.
The hope of the black women has been affected when our fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons are
murdered at the hand of whyte supremacists. I heard a Pastor refer to the Willie Lynch Letter and the goal was to leave black women alone and unprotected. We, Black women, are strong and resilient; but we are also fragile and vulnerable. Those who believe their whytness is more superior to the life of any black or brown body. Because racism is systemic, we need policy reform to begin to address the societal ills that perpetuate any and all types of oppression, including but not limited to gender and ethnic biases against black and brown people.
The public square is yet dominated by men speaking on behalf of black women. I lend my voice to this cry as the mother of a black man. A mother who raised a black boy. A mother who cried many tears at the thought of what COULD happen to my child. A mother, who has taught her son from early childhood how to respond to the police. A mother whose desire has been that my son would grow up and be a productive member of society. A mother who merely wants her son to remember those who are homeless, hungry, unemployed, marginalized, and, disenfranchised with an understanding that but by the grace of God, this could be us. We’ve been homeless, hungry and I’ve lacked employment and continued to be a pillar of strength to my son. A mother who took her son to vote for the first time. A mother. A Black Mother. A black mother who weeps for every black child who gets stopped by the police praying that it doesn’t end in murder. A black mother whose son has been stopped by the police and grace did yet abound because they let him leave…alive.
So, Mr. George Floyd as we know him, Perry Junior, to his family and Big Floyd to his friends, the world witnessed his murder and transition. When he called for his mama, all black mothers responded and are still responding. Our response is our protest using various platforms and calling for policy reform. We are talking loud and we are sayin’ sumthin!!
This reminds me of a time that a black woman stood at the foot of the cross on Calvary, weeping for her son who too called for his mama. Her son was unjustly murdered by the establishment of the day. There is a whole argument we can get into, but I’ll save that for another blog. Mary was her name and Jesus was her son. Black mothers have been shedding tears for our sons for over 2000 years. When will enough be enough? We are tired. We are wailing. We are grieving. We are resisting. We are done dying!
We shed tears for every black man, boy, woman, and girl who are killed at the hands of those who believe they are superior. Like mother Mamie Till, show the world what they did to my boy! Now…let’s make moves to not just reform current policies, but to ratify them as well. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of hearing the cries of our children.