Walking Targets

Imagine a woman has two adopted sons

One white, the other black

And by the end of this conversation you’ll know

which is which

without me ever having said their race

The different conversations she’s going to

have to have with each

Because though, she wants them to see the world the same

They’ll experience it differently

That only a person that’s part of the problem would pretend the world is going to

treat them the same

That even early childhood studies have found one of them are more disciplined than the other from Grades K through 12

From the time they enter

until they either drop

or get their ass out

A target of implicit bias at the age of 5

One of these boys will be seen as responsible for their actions

at an age where the other one still benefits from the assumption that children are essentially innocent, or if not innocent then due to his mental health

Really only applies to one

One of them will be three times more likely to be suspended in a race that’s supposed to be the same

That by the time he’s in his teens

he could be easily dying on the street for

walking home with a bag of candy

playing in a park

or simply running around with another group of teens

That his mother may very well end up visiting him behind bars

or behind the hashtag on a justice for poster that reads

Rest in Peace

And not because he’s bad, but because the justice system is meant to humiliate him or oppress him

By any means necessary

Yes, she taught him to appreciate and respect the police but quite a few of them

would see him


That it doesn’t matter if he’s protesting peacefully

Calling for an end to violence

Marching silently or taking a knee

Some will always make him out to guilty because his existence threatens their peace

You will see pictures him on TV, not with his Cap and Gown,

Nor the countless pictures of him dapper dressed to impress

They will stress to find the most humiliating images of him possible, even when he is the victim

That mother will have to tell her son that Police killed 1,099 people in 2019

That was people that look like him 24% of the time though they only account for 13% of the population

That 99% of killings by police from


did not result in officers being charged with a crime, even less were convicted

The other boy may never have to face those problems

We only pray he doesn’t grow up and forget that they are brothers and regardless of their skin tone, they should always be treated the same

While a mother will always worry for her children, the worry is different when you know one is considered a walking target.


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