Last week my teenager got in trouble. He got in normal, “I am fifteen and being an idiot with a few of my friends” kind of trouble. I always knew the day would come where we had to address a situation where he would get caught doing something we would certainly not be happy about. I am not much of a worrier, but in anticipation of this day I worried. I didn’t worry if he would ever get in trouble because I knew eventually he would. My son is now a black teenage boy in America and the worries that come with that dynamic are gut wrenching beyond the worries every mother and father have for their teenagers.
I remember distinctly when Micai was twelve, I had to talk to him about riding his bike in the neighborhood and to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee. I remember telling him to keep his hood down and to not cause any ruckus at the store. I feared not that he would steal or do something stupid, rather I feared that someone would assume he is stealing or causing trouble because of how he looks. I cried the whole time he was gone on his first independent trip to the store. It was almost unbearable waiting for him to return. I knew in our particular neighborhood he could be targeted for looking suspicious and I just wanted him back in my home, where he was just our little man with the killer dry wit. Now as he approaches sixteen and explores the world and his boundaries even more, the worries grow and the conversations become even harder.