(For Noah) Life is different when you’re the mother of a black boy. Late for dinner. Wringing hands. Racing thoughts, …where could he be? You see, The rules are different for him, then they are for the white me. Even though we are of kin, there are divergent regulations for concentrated melanin. He can’t make a purchase without being profiled at a store. I always have to worry when he walks out my door. He can’t be in the park when the sun goes down. How can I protect him from malicious pitfalls when I’m not around? He can’t wear a hoodie when the weather gets cold. I’m forever waiting for the worst to unfold. He can’t bite back when he’s being called a “ni**er.” They want him to take the bait, so they can pull the trigger. They won’t care he made the honor roll. They won’t care that he sings. They won’t care that he loves history. They won’t care about the beautiful things. They won’t care about any of it… just as long as the darkest target gets hit. Wringing hands. Racing thoughts, …where could he be? YOU SEE? Life is different when you’re the mother of a black boy.
Gina Maria Manchego
3 Questions for Gina
What was your process for creating this work?
The process for “Mother of a Black Boy” was an exercise in cultural expression. An assertive recognition of the racial strife that is omnipresent in our society. Additionally it was a necessary outlet for the fear I contend with as my son is coming of age as a black male in America.
What is the significance of the form you chose?
I wrote “Mother of a Black Boy” in a rhyming cadence to make the content stick in the psychology of those who consumed it. I wanted to make the poem short and easily digestible to the reader, whilst focusing on the gravity of the theme.
What is the significance of this work to you?
I was almost too afraid to write this poem because it was so personal. However, it’s my most courageous piece of work to date, so I knew it had to be shared. My son has to be brave everyday just living in the skin he’s in. I wanted to convey that I stand along with him as an advocate and ally through my writing.
Gina Maria Manchego is a multi-medium artist and poet. She has been penning since childhood, her goal is to create dynamic scenes with the written word. Gina lives in the wild mountains of Colorado, USA.