My Brother’s Keeper by amina wadud

amina 2014 - cropped

When my son was a teenager, living with his father in another state, he came to visit me in the suburbs of Virginia.  He is nearly 6 feet tall, chestnut brown skinned.  Like many suburbs there is no concept of the corner store.  But about a half mile from our house was a gas station, with the usual quick shop that was pretty much the same thing as the corner store in residential urban centers.  To get to this gas station by car was a short run.  There was a shortcut through the woods behind my house, so that anyone trying to reach the store by foot could cut off some of the distance required in a car. I suggested this out of the way path to him.  He told me in no short order.  “Mom, I’m a Black male.  I can’t be sneaking out of the woods at almost dark in this part of the world.”

I was embarrassed to think I had not considered how potentially perilous this might be, but starkly reminded what it is like to survive as a young Black male in the US, still today.

I remember reading an article that stated unequivocally that the income of the average college graduate Black male was about equal to the income of the average white high school graduate.  I made the point with both my sons: college education was not an option.  It was mandatory, to even begin to compete.  I guess they got the message because both went straight through college directly after high school (and one of them even returned later for a law degree).  My three daughters, on the other hand took a more circular path meanwhile. All of them went to college, but none of them either went directly from high school or route maintained a direct course through to the first degree.  Continue reading “My Brother’s Keeper by amina wadud”

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