Yesterday I sat down with my daughter and asked her what was wrong. She is ten years old, a wondrous soul and beauty. She and her sister are the lights of my life. But last night she was quiet at dinner, and I knew that something wasn’t right in her world. Expressing her feelings doesn’t come easily to her. I often have to wait and push and wait and push until she finally tells me what is going on inside.
The day before she had been to the Museum of the City of New York. One of the exhibits was about Black Lives Matter. She saw a photo of a little girl with a sign that said, I Hope I Don’t Get Killed For Being Black Today.
According to my daughter, there was also a list of Black people that had been killed by the police.
My daughter is Black. Last night when she finally opened up, and tears started to roll down her face, she told me she was worried about being shot. She is ten years old. My heart broke, and I knew that the day that I knew was coming, and that I have feared, had arrived.
She had discovered what it meant to be Black in America.
As I held her, I told her that she was safe and that we had moved to where we live now so that she and her sister would remain safe. I pointed out how President and Michelle Obama had thrived, as did their daughters, and even though bad things can happen that we would make sure they didn’t happen to her or her sister. I made a promise that she would be safe. At ten, I wasn’t willing to do anything less.
Time and experience will educate her and as she grows we will make sure that she knows how to behave when approached by a cop. We will give her the social tools and self-confidence to respond to the ugly of the world.
Last night I just held her.