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By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
To all the bold, beautiful, fierce white mothers out there: We need to begin to understand we are in a fight for the souls of our boys. Most of us don’t want to believe that, but it’s true.
The most important thing I will do in my lifetime is mothering. My life’s work is raising boys, white boys to be exact.
My boys are entitled, privileged, and they walk through the world with the kind of impunity many will never know. My beautiful, loving, powerful white boys didn’t choose their privilege, but it doesn’t matter. My boys will have advantages that other boys don’t. My boys can largely live their lives without kind of fear other boys have to understand from an age before they can remember.
Black mothers have to have the “talk” with their sons. That talk is repeated in black homes across the country thousands of times every day as mothers try to train their boys not to get shot by police. It’s a conversation I’m profoundly grateful I have never had to have. However, that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook.
White mothers need to be talking to their boys every day too. We need to be training our boys how not to be a part of the problem in a system that makes prey out of our son’s playmates and peers who don’t look like them. Raising white boys carries a massive burden of responsibility most of us don’t fully understand.
And you might think, “We aren’t racists. Our sons know better than that.”
However, in a society that puts our white boys on a pedestal and erases their wrongs, we are responsible for ensuring our boys don’t just know better. They need to BE better. That is an imperative mission and we can’t take anything for granted. White mothers can no longer raise their white boys by good intentions alone.
We will want to distance ourselves from Kyle Rittenhouse. That boy took a gun to a protest and killed people. He was empowered by his family, his community, and the police. Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Two people are dead because he killed them.
We will want to profess we don’t know him. We will tell ourselves OUR boys would never do a thing like that – and it’s probably true. Our boys probably wouldn’t. However, my dear, loving, non-racist white sisters, Kyle Rittenhouse belongs to all of us. Kyle Rittenhouse is our son. We raised him in a culture that led him to believe he had the right to take lives.
We have to take responsibility for what we have created, what we have allowed, what we allow to continue. We can’t pretend we don’t know Kyle Rittenhouse. We’ve all known a Kyle Rittenhouse whether we want to admit it or not.
We have a profoundly serious problem with our boys. Many of them are not ok. They are lost in the sea of their own privilege. Almost all school shooters or mass shooters of any kind are white boys or white men.
In a system when being white means never having to say you’re sorry, we’ve got to figure out who’s responsible. I can’t help but believe we have to start at the beginning. We have to start with white mothers.
It’s easy to blame Kyle’s mama. She raised him in a militia environment and probably helped teach him to shoot that gun. However, until we are all prepared to take responsibility for all our Kyles, we will continue to do nothing more than pass the buck in a system that isn’t changing.
They are going to tell us to focus on the victims and we should.
They are going to suggest we shouldn’t say Kyle’s name because doing so draws attention to the horrible things he did. They are going to tell us Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn’t be the story…
but the problem is we have made all our Kyle’s invisible for too long.
We have tried to pretend they aren’t there by forgetting them as quickly as we possibly can.
We can’t keep sidestepping our part of the problem by continuing to protect our sons so we can continue to stay wrapped safely in our own privilege – and when I say, “our sons” I mean ALL our sons. Pretending Kyle Rittenhouse is someone else’s problem is doing just that.
If you are a white mother, I am asking you to burn the photo of Kyle Rittenhouse into your brain. Say his name. Own him.
And let us not forget, #healinpowerjacobblake.
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