If you’ve been following along with everything going on currently in the country, you may have noticed that racism is a thing. I originally had a whole different post to start the month off, but I thought it was important to talk about what it means to be the mom of an Afro-Latino son.
If you listened to this episode of the Swirl and Sip Podcast, you’ll hear me talk about the fear I had when I found out I was going to have a little boy. While I was excited to have a son, I just knew that he would come out with a beautiful caramel color and look more Black than Puerto Rican, and honestly that worried me. In fact, the opposite happened. Stokely looked every bit of Puerto Rican when he was born. Only as he’s gotten older has he started to look more and more mixed.
I worried about having a son. It’s because I know the world will view him as a Black man. In this country, Black men are feared, seen as threats, and are disposable. Growing up, I encountered my own forms of racist comments like “where are you from” and “you speak English well”. My husband told me his own stories of hearing a parent call him the n-word at a youth soccer game (around the age of 7). We’re both no strangers to racism in America.
Stokely’s name comes from the racism of this country. He is named after Stokely Carmichael. Stokely Carmichael was the founder of the Black Power movement, “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party, and leader of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party. He was one of the original freedom riders and one of the most powerful and controversial Black leaders of the 60s. J. Edgar Hoover himself thought he was the man most likely to succeed Malcolm X as America’s “black messiah”.
My husband chose our son’s name. And it is a POWERFUL name. It is a name that will bring change. Most white person have no idea who my son is named after. They ask if it’s a “family name”. 99% of Black people know immediately.
There’s a point in little Black and Brown children’s lives where they go from being cute to being threats. Black and Brown little boys are feared. Black and Brown little girls are sexualized. I know that I will have to explain to Stokely early that the world will look at him differently. I know that I’ll have to teach him that he can’t do the same things as little white children. And I know that all of that will take away his innocence way earlier than it should. I hope that all the marching, protesting, and work being done today, will make his life better.