NFL to Bird Watching While Black — Parenting A Black Male Kid In America

Last week, my son debated passionately against the NFL’s plan to incentivize diverse hiring practices. I am not into sports, but I am into justice.

Lexington brought up logical, 14 year old, questions.

“How would anyone know if the coaches are there because they are great, or because someone made them?”

“How is this fair?”

“What about the people who won’t get jobs because they are white?”

He plays soccer and is an exceptional track runner. It was as if he was trying to wrap the rules of each sport around this NFL initiative.

I responded, “Pretty sure, I’ve told you from day one, that life isn’t fair. If I haven’t, I’m sorry. You know what wasn’t fair? Slavery. No hiring programs could ever make up for slavery, Jim Crow, and so much more. It’s a salve. From what you described, this is an opt-in incentive. No one is going to jail over this. It’s the least that they can do.”

I shared a bit about getting my break into television through diversity hiring programs. Some Obama loving Liberals couldn’t imagine having a woman in their comedy room, or a Black person on a character driven drama about a white guy. He didn’t get it.

I asked him how many years the NFL has been around? He said a hundred.

He asked, “Maybe they will get to be more women, Black people, and LGBTQ, you know, like on their own?”

I answered, “In 100 years, they haven’t done the right thing, once. What makes you think they will?”

He shrugged. I gave up. Sometimes, parents have to step away and reset.

This afternoon, I showed him the Amy Cooper video. That’s the woman who called the police on a Black man who wanted her to leash her dog in Central Park.

“I normally don’t show you this stuff because I don’t want your whole life to be about race. But you need to get it. The man who took this video was Black, respectful, and nonthreatening. He graduated from Harvard. That doesn’t make him a better person than anyone, it just means he’s more educated than most. That calm, Harvard guy asked her to follow a rule. And this woman’s response was autopilot. She retorted to racist stereotypes. She pretended to be in harm’s way. She used her authority and privilege as a white woman to endanger this man’s life. We deal with stuff like this all the time. Even if you do all the right things, you can be discriminated against. And, that’s why I support affirmative action. You can decide for yourself over time.

He thanked me for showing him the video and explaining it. He walked away. I felt kinda alright.

Then, I looked at my phone. Calls to action texts from lots of friends. Chokehold death. Call this DA for charges. Repost this so we can stop these people from killing more of our sons.

I made a mental note to do each item and more. And, then, I cried. Because this is America.

Writer. Wife. Mom.