Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Juju Monster


Friday, September 15, 2006

Emmett Till and the Proliferation of Baby-Boys

My daughter, in her role as the family soothsayer, cautioned me that early one morning in the not too distant future, some woman was going to kick in my door, point a trembling finger at me, and cry, “You! I hold you responsible for creating this baby-boy I married!”

I doubt that’ll ever happen, and if it did she wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. I have my disclaimer already prepared for any woman crazy in love enough to marry my son. It reads:

I, the besotted one, do hereby acknowledge that Terris McMahan Grimes, soon to be know as the “Mother-in-law” and eventually to be know as “that woman,” did nurture, instruct, discipline, and raise said son, Jared Grimes, according to the highest standards of the African American community. I do hereby indemnify and hold harmless Terris McMahan Grimes should said son forget his raising, lose his ever loving mind, act a fool, or show his behind.

I’m no lawyer, but I think that’ll cover me.

I’ve heard it said that we black mothers raise our daughters, but spoil our sons. I try to be objective about how I parented my son, which was the same way I parented my daughter. I raised them both and spoiled them some. I don’t believe in parenting with pain, so I didn’t whup them, but I taught them right from wrong. My son’s a caring, loving, compassionate person. What more could you ask?

I admit I parented out of fear. Some people fear the things that go bump in the night, I feared the evils that all too often befall black boys. So I might have hugged him more than his father, bless his heart, thought appropriate. His dad thought a hug would make him weak, I thought the lack of hugs wouldn’t make him strong. I thought we should build a hedge around him, lavish as much love on him as we did his sister, because the world out there was waiting for him with a beat down.

And besides, I was raising a child, not a ghetto-bred pit bull.

And besides, I remember Emmett Till.

I was just seven-year-old when Emmett was murdered, but I remember it like I was forty the day it happened. My parents wept. It was all over Jet Magazine. Pictures, articles, I was drawn to them. I couldn’t turn away. They told me a frightful truth—it wasn’t safe to be a black boy and the joy of being a mother of one was tempered with fear.

More tomorrow unless you’d like me to change the subject…

More blogs about mother from another continent.