Don’t cry; please, do better

“So, we’re having lunch here when we spot a kid walking across the street and into our yard.” A young black teenager. Perhaps ten years old.

Something wasn’t quite right, and then I noticed he had his hands up.

What had he been up to? Grabbing a stray ball that had landed in our yard. He walked slowly and steadily, his gaze fixed on the road ahead. He appeared jittery.

It struck me so strongly that I felt compelled to go out and assure him that he was safe. Then I was afraid that by walking out there, I would scare him.

He’s ten years old. He’s already figured out how to make himself appear less dangerous by obtaining his ball. He’s ten years old. He is a black man.

What have we done here, people?

This should not be the standard.

How could we have accepted a young boy living in such terror? We need to improve.

We ought to live with a greater sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished—people who are white.

My daughter, who is only a few years younger than this youngster, is terrified of bees. He’s afraid that a white man will harm him.

That can’t be the norm for us. It can’t, for the love of all that is decent and right.

I’m not sure I understand what’s going on, but I know we have to do better.

Everyone deserves to be loved. Experiment with things that are outside of your comfort zone.

We’re seeing much too much hatred and fear.

It’s getting a ball in a neighbor’s yard today and getting shot while jogging tomorrow. Alternatively, you could drive. Alternatively, you might sleep. It’s a little too heavy.

Let’s make it our mission to build a world where the little black boy across the street can receive his ball without having to reach for it.”

Courtesy of L.C. Branch

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