I’ve always told my son, “You can be anything you want to be.” Before Shani Davis’ won gold, POTUS was elected – prior to Neil deGrasse Tyson gracing our screen in Cosmos. What was once – is still – momentous to me is his normal: ‘I like ice skating, why not? The President’s black – and? Of course African Americans do astrophysics!’
Initially it was comical: trying to impart the earth-shattering significance of things he finds hopelessly mundane. Laying the groundwork for ‘the dream’ was hard, I guess living it is easy.
He’s twelve now – almost my height and swears he ‘doesn’t see color.’ His possibilities are infinite, yes, but there’s a cruel catch: “You can be anything you want to be, but first, you must survive. And your survival is dependent on knowing this: you are young, black, male – perceived guilty until proven innocent, aggressive, ‘a demon,’ America’s prime suspect. We all bear the burden of knowing the procedures and pathology that come with that.”