I worry about my son, should he ever go to Florida or any place where someone may misunderstand what he is doing and kill him. I worry about my son, to even bring him into this world where we are still so torn up about subjects of race and personal appearance.
I worry about my son, who may yet not be able to act in the same way as his friends and neighbors without putting his own life at greater risk. I worry about my son, for in my hope to bring about a family that crosses racial divides he may not yet find his way to adulthood and to the fulfillment of his dreams.
Let me tell you this, I do not currently have a son or any child. However, it has been my hope to be a father and to share with that child the same love I have found from my God, my family and my community.
Nevertheless, when children are followed and killed for looking suspicious I worry about how suspicious my child may look when he walks down the street at night. I worry about my own inability to explain to him what it means to be a man with dark skin since my own skin is so light.
No one, no child nor adult, should have to act differently because of the color of his or her skin. No one should have someone with a gun following him or her down the street after stopping by the store for a snack.
I have been so pleased, for the most part, of how society has accepted my marriage to a bi-racial woman. I had been thinking that the U.S. society has come so far in countering racism.
Unfortunately, it only takes one incident to remind us that there is much further to go before we will truly know that “there is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28).
I want my child to live. I want him to enjoy life. And, I want him to feel free to walk home alone from the store so that he, too, may grow up one day to experience the hope and joy of fatherhood.