I woke up this morning to police sirens. They seemed to be three or four blocks from my home, maybe even closer. My husband and I looked at each other as we began to come out of our sleep.
"I wonder what's going on?" we asked each other as we sheepishly assumed to ourselves nothing major would really happen in our suburban town in New Jersey. Or, could it? With the recent racial events happening in the country anything is bound to happen—especially for Black people.
A few seconds later the sirens trailed off into the distance and we couldn't hear them anymore. I instantly thought to myself, thank God my husband doesn't have to venture outside our home. We are indeed safer under quarantine.
My family and I have been indoors for the better part of the past two months. We go outside for food and doctor visits. And just like most Americans during this time, we do occasional birthday drive-bys and linger with the mailman a little longer than normal because we miss people.
At first, I couldn't stand it. I wanted to get out and be around the people in my life that mattered. I wanted to go to my favorite stores. I want to hug my friends again. But after a few soul-searching moments, I acquiesced. For me, the saying, "it is what it is," never rang truer.
In recent weeks I've accepted my new normal in a different light. Staying indoors inadvertently serves as a protection from the physical racism Black people face on a regular basis. While we're indoors I don't have to worry about teachers potentially mistreating my son or white people following me with their eyes while I shop in fancy stores.
I'm not naive enough to think that racism doesn't exist virtually. Of course it does. But not being out and about minimizes the chances of me or my loved ones dying on cement with an officer's knee on our throat.
I'm also not naive enough to think that quarantining does not protect Black people from the long-lasting trauma of seeing someone gunned down while jogging, or having the police called on them for birdwatching in Central Park. I will never ever ever forget the sound of George Floyd crying out to his mother while slowly dying.
And through it all, all I can think about is when the world will one day see my sweet 3-year-old boy as a threat to society. Knowing white America will see my baby boy as a thug, causes me relentless pain. I constantly dread the day I'll have to tell him he can't do certain things because he's a Black boy and the world sees him differently than his family.
There may not be any more movies and shows to stream, ice cream to eat or banana breads to bake almost three months into a pandemic, but at least my Black husband, dad, son and uncles are safe. For now.
When the world completely opens up again, I'll have a better appreciation for my Black family. They're all I have in a society that refuses to treat us like human beings.
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