New Friend: I’m Afraid to Stay Here

I’m afraid that if I stay here I’ll be forced to have the talk with my son. Not the sex talk, but the what to do if you’re stopped by the police talk. “Keep your hands on the steering wheel, and announce what you’re doing before you reach for your wallet – announce what you’re doing before you reach for anything. Never run.”

I’m afraid that the parents of his prom date won’t be comfortable with letting their daughter hold his hand. I’m afraid of telling him why she’s dating him. I’m afraid to tell him that he can’t afford to go through a rebellious phase like his white friends. I’m afraid that we won’t survive in America.

A black man is killed by the police every twenty-eight hours; I’m afraid that he’ll grow up without a father, like his father. I’m afraid people won’t take this seriously because I’m not black enough. I’m afraid that I’m not white enough.

I’m afraid that writing this will make him see me as a stereotype. I’m afraid his mother will never understand me. I’m afraid that the world is privileged enough not to care. Little black boys don’t need a gun when your perceptions are loaded with fear. I’m afraid to stay here.

Giovanni Kavota

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