My three best friends are black men. What does this say about me? Nothing really. There have times in my life when my three best friends were white men. So why do I bring this up?
I bring this up because it's still early in the morning and I haven't talked to my best friends today. Haven't received a text, a dm or a phone call. And I may not. Did they go out last night? And if they did, did they make it home okay? Did they make it home alive? I realize these are rather extreme questions I am asking. Ones that would not even cross my mind if my three best friends were white.
They are not white. They are black. And every time they go out they run the risk of being misjudged or misinterpreted simply because they are black. These men are three of the kindest, caring and most amazing people that I know. One is a principal, one is a hip hop artist and one is a CEO. I am truly honored to call each one of them my friend.
But did they make it home last night?
I still don't know.
If this is something that crosses my mind then what in the Hell must cross their mind when they are simply driving home. And they realize they have a taillight out. Maybe they forgot their wallet. Or are they speeding just a little bit.
High School graduation this past year was special for me. In this graduating class were kids that I have known and connected with since they were in the fourth grade. And in this class were three young men with whom I bonded with like I rarely have before. They all three happen to be black. The kind of young men you hope your daughter ends up with some day. I can only hope that my daughter would be so lucky.
I still don't know if my friends made it home last night.
I have an eleven year old daughter who, before I want to admit it, will be dating. Each of my friends has a daughter too. One of them has two. What if the guys they date are black? Should we/will we worry more about their safety than if they were dating a white boy?
Your damn right we will!
You watch the news. You read the papers. Young black men are being stopped, profiled and killed despite being innocent. Despite following every directive they are given. Sometimes they are by themselves when they are stopped and sometimes they are with their girlfriends or wives.
So what do we do?
Something has to change. This can't continue.
What can I do?
I don't know. I can continue write and share what I am seeing and feeling and thinking. What if more of us did? Would it change anything? I don't know that answer either. But I am going to keep writing and sharing what I am seeing and what I am thinking and what I am feeling.
I can at least do that much.
I wonder if my friends made it home last night.
Did the title of this piece grab your attention?
It was meant to.
Was it extreme? Disturbing? Over the top?
I don't think so, but I don't know.
One thing I do know is that somebody's friend somewhere did not make it home last night and it wasn't because they did anything wrong. It was because they were black.