I always talked to my children about accepting everyone no matter what color they are because color has no barrier. But I remember one summer day my son was outside playing with the next-door neighbor and the little boy called my son a [n-word].
He came in the house later that day and asked me, “Mom what is a [n-word]?” First, my jaw dropped and then I asked my son to repeat himself and he did. Then I asked him, “Where did you hear such a hateful word?” and he said from the next-door neighbor, the little boy he was playing with. The little boy kept on calling him [n-word] that whole day. I told my son that wasn’t a nice word to say, and it goes to show that no matter how you raise your children, you still have the ones that have so much hate in their hearts that they are teaching their children to hate. Hate is taught at home by the parents. No mother should have to worry about her child, but the world we are living in now, that seems to be the new normal. Being an African American man in this new normal could get you killed if you are out jogging like Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered when he was just out jogging, minding his own business. When he was shot like a dog in the streets because two white men had nothing better to do. This is what the country is coming to.
And we can’t forget about George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin because he was wearing a hoodie. The most recent is George Floyd, killed by the people that are supposed to protect and serve. When the officer put his knee on his neck and heard him say he couldn’t breathe, it didn’t matter, because that officer took his badge to the next level and killed an innocent man. Hearing George Floyd calling out to his mother should stay with those cops for the rest of their lives.
I know racism has been out there for years but to be honest, it has gotten worse since Donald Trump came into office. Racism has become the new normal. But they are just following their leader Donald Trump. You don’t want to turn on the TV because of all the African Americans that are getting killed just because, in this time, you really don’t have to have a reason to hate and kill.
I am so afraid of the world we are living in that I call my son just to make sure he is okay. Wondering if I am going to receive that call. That’s a mother’s worst nightmare: to live in fear every day not knowing if their child is going to be on ABC News or Fox News or CNN because he got killed for jaywalking or jogging or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I remember when I was a child and my grandmother would sit us down and tell us what it was like when she was growing up. And I remember feeling the tears running down my face because of the hate she experienced. And all I could remember is telling her how sorry I am that she had to go through such hate and disrespect, telling myself that when I had children, I didn’t want them to ever experience such hate in the world. But when I look at the world we are living in now, it reminds me of my grandmother’s story. History is repeating itself and we are living in my grandmother’s world. From the hatred to hanging and watching my children seeing and experiencing so much hate firsthand—it is a mother’s worst nightmare.
We have become the laughing stock of the world because we have a leader that ruined our country in four years. He is watching people die from a virus he won’t recognize, and unemployment has hit the roof, but according to Trump, we are in a good place. Donald Trump won’t listen to the doctors that are just as concerned about this virus as the public. We have not had any good leadership because he forgot about the American people. It’s not about bringing our country together, it’s not about the killing of African Americans, it’s all about Donald Trump winning a second term, and that sickened me to my core, that there is so much hate in the world we are living in right now. Donald Trump should be trying to bring this country together; instead, we are drifting farther apart as a country. And the other countries see how broken our country is right now and that is another concern we will have to deal with. We don’t have a leader to protect our country.
Linda Washington is the mother of four adult children. She has also devoted ten plus years of her life working as a nurse and recently plunged into book writing and became a published author with her book, Forbidden and Broken Finding Love Behind the Scars. Linda is also a recording artist with her second single called “Missing You.”
We, Too, Are America is made possible through “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” an initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Council through a grant from the Mellon Foundation.