Transracial Parenting »

Be Careful

Every day it seems like I get a police report saying that a young, black man has been gunned down and killed in New Orleans. It’s like we’re at war here and for those of us raising a young, black child, it is downright frightening. All these boys killed before they are even men. Think of the fathers they would have been, the mentors to young boys they could have been, the brothers, uncles, and lovers they should have been.

I met a man at the coffee shop the other day and he introduced himself as a journalist. We spoke over coffee and he said he was a child of the 7th Ward and remembered all his life that his mother had said, “Be Careful,” each time he left the house. She said this well after he had grown into a young adult and even when he was already a man. “Be Careful” is the wishes of every mother, especially a mother of a young, black male in this city.

A friend said her mother had also always said “be careful” every time she left the house and she wonders now why could her mother have said, “Have fun!” instead.

I know why, because I feared having a black son living in this city. I feared that one day he would be standing on the wrong corner at the wrong time and because of the color of his skin and his gender he would be a target. I try to keep those thoughts at bay, I try not to have my fears writ large on my son’s yet to arrive future. But “be careful” seems to roll off my tongue even now, even before he has left the house on his own, even now that he looks to anyone like a cute little boy and not some shadowy archetype.

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by Rachel Dangermond

+ - 1 comment

July 4, 2013 - 11:37 pm

Anna - I have cut off communication with both of my peatnrs. I came out and they had separate, but equally troubling reactions. They both believe strongly that I am not transgender, no matter what I say, and I felt like I needed to be away to deal with my transition and begin to feel confident in my identity.I don’t like the two references to peatnrs’ money in the article. My decision to not speak with my peatnrs has nothing at all to do with money. I think it’s a very parent-centric view to cite examples where children want money, it’s too easy to dismiss as being the petulance of jilted children.My father compared me to an axe-murderer. My mother said that I was being selfish and disrespectful in wearing women’s clothing, and that if I respected her I would wear men’s clothing. I really don’t appreciate this article, or taking sides in family disputes on spec. And then they send me e-mails all the time telling me about how my silence is hurting them. I say to them *nothing*.I am feeling very angry right now, on a day devoted to mothers, when I want so badly to be with my mother but know that it would hurt so bad to do, that you would post this kind of an article, Helen. In the TG community there are many, many people who are estranged from their families, with any number of different stories. We feel enough shame all around us already.

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