Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.
Black women in America live in fear daily as we watch our grandfathers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers, sons, uncles and nephews leave home. We live with the knowledge that sending our men to the store for a carton of eggs can end in sudden tragedy.
I’ve heard the saying that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. I’ve also heard that F.E.A.R is an irrational emotion that is often described as (False Evidence Appearing Real). But for black women in America, F.E.A.R is a very real emotion that means a (Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality).
Every mother has to have a conversation with their children about stranger-danger, being a leader and not a follower, how to be a friend, doing well in school, bullying, eating their vegetables and the importance of protecting their bodies.
However, black women have the unfortunate circumstance, in which they have to talk to their kids, particularly their sons, about racial profiling; how to behave when being stopped by a cop; understanding that they’re always considered a suspect; understanding that they are guilty until proven innocent (so be docile when you’re stopped by the cops, so you can survive to tell your story); the Constitution wasn’t written with you in mind so laws don’t apply to you in the same way; and you have to be twice as good as everyone else just to be considered.
Having these conversations with our sons is our Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality and protect them. The reality is that mainstream America will view our black sons as a threat. White women cross the street or clutch their purses when they see my very tall, beautiful, intelligent, well-mannered, articulate, well-groomed black sons walking toward them or waiting like gentlemen to hold the door for them.
The reality is that our sons are always in the wrong place at the wrong time just because they are black. The reality that black women are trying frantically to avoid is that our sons were born with three strikes (being black, male and intelligent) and a bounty on their lives.
Black wives are just like wives of other races and other cultures in that we love our husbands, we support our husbands, we pray for our husbands, and we want the best for our husbands.
Black wives are also concerned about the welfare of our husbands in the state of the world today. We don’t want our husbands to be the victims of a senseless shooting at the hands of white terrorists in church or at the movies, or to lose their jobs due to corporate downsizing. We want the same things that wives of other races want.
Additionally, we want the mental and emotional luxury of not having to worry daily about our husband’s lives mattering to others just as much as they matter to us. The Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality in America is real for black women married to black men. We have to pray that our husbands are not maliciously targeted or not viciously beaten for being caught driving while black in the “wrong” model of car, are not identified as a suspect and not convicted for life for a crime they didn’t commit or not shot at point blank range in cold blood on their way home from their bachelor party or while selling CDs in front of a convenience store or in front of their family for complying with the law during a stop for a “broken” tail light.
Black women have to pray that their husband’s untimely death is not the next video they see as they scroll down their timeline on social media. The truth is that others try to downplay or ignore the reality that black men are targeted in America and are quickly becoming an endangered species. But the reality is that black women deal with the fear every day.
It is virtually impossible for women of other races to understand the dichotomy of emotions that a black mother feels the moment she births a black male child. It’s impossible to fully understand how a black wife feels the moment she says “I do” or how a black child feels when she or he is silently praying that their father returns home at the end of the day. Yes the black woman’s F.E.A.R is real in America, and we struggle daily in a Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality for our black men.
Yes, all lives matter. Black Americans are simply asking that America recognize that our lives matter just as much as everyone else. We don’t want special treatment. We want fair and equal treatment. Affirmative Action would not be necessary if America would affirm the systemic injustices committed against black people in the work place and move toward true equality and justice for all. The Civil Rights movement would not have been necessary if America treated its black citizens with human dignity, decency and respect, and we all enjoyed the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
BMWK family, is the black woman’s biggest F.E.A.R in America valid?