The real fear of a black parent

Belinda Gilmore,
Maceo, KY

It was early 2016, and I was on the phone talking to a friend I had not seen in a while. We were discussing life since she had to leave work due to a health issue. We both have a son the same age that would graduate high school in August. She was telling me about her son and how he was working because he had just gotten his first car. She went on to tell me that he has some new friends that live in the next town over, but she was afraid for him to go there (she lives in Breckinridge Country, Kentucky). I was confused, so I asked her why. She told me about some Klan activity that had taken place in the area before. I proceeded to question her fear. I acknowledged that there were still equality issues, but in the last decade the country had come so far. I went on to point out that we have a black president which I never thought would happen earlier in life. She stood firm and told me I just don’t understand. I didn’t.
The 2016 election campaign began. As a society, we are all attached in some way through social media. I only used Facebook to stay connected with family. I began to see so much hate being shared. I stopped opening it completely. I would only access Twitter because you are not required to follow certain individuals. Violence was coming to light more than I ever remember previously mainly toward black people but not limited to them. Then the election happened, and people quit being politically correct which brought me to the realization of how many people were before. I naively thought society was truly changing. I thought of my friend and all the things she will fear that I will never have to. I called my friend one day late in the year. Before we got too far into the conversation, I got a bit emotional and said, “I need to apologize to you,”

 

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