Lesley McSpadden: “This Could Be Your Child,” She’s right.

Lesley McSpadden and Louis Head, the mother and stepfather of Michael Brown, on August 9th. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY HUY MACH/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/AP

Lesley McSpadden and Louis Head, the mother and stepfather of Michael Brown, on August 9th.
CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY HUY MACH/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/AP

I wrote and deleted several versions of this post about Michael Brown’s murder at the barrel of officer Darren Wilson’s gun because they called for nothing good. I am so angry about this, another senseless and preventable death of a Black child. I’m profoundly, utterly saddened by Brown’s murder and even more so for his mother, Lesley McSpadden’s loss. To lose a child. To bury a baby she conspired with a higher being to give light to. A baby whom she loved, loves, as much as any of us love our own. She loved, loves, her baby as much as any white mother loves her own but didn’t have the social capital or luxury of raising him with a different set of rules. You know exactly what I mean. As mothers of Black and Brown men, we can’t enjoy our children without thinking about the what-ifs. What if I send my son to the store to buy milk and what if the wrong cop, having a bad day, steps to him? What if my son, like any other average teenager, retaliates by resisting authority or mouthing off after feeling provoked? If he’s not white, chances are he may not make it back. Even Republican Senator Rand Paul said as much, naturally in his own words, in a recent appearance on Bill Maher.

I am not surprised as much as really super fucking disgusted by Wilson’s acquittal and the “prosecutor’s” failure to take the half-step to charge the murderer with something, anything: expected FOX 5 and goons to offer the American public a lopsided spin on behalf of The Man; maybe didn’t quite expect but wasn’t shocked by Rudy “9/11” Giuliani’s recent out-of-touch backward-thinking white supremacist remarks to Michael Eric Dyson; Wilson’s “clean conscience,” apparent lack of remorse and dehumanizing remarks about the unarmed Black man he shot down like prey was, well, not surprising; CNN’s Don Lemon offered stinky-shitty-whiny reporting in and OUT of Ferguson but that’s something we are all pretty much getting used to; not surprised as much as appalled at the recent shooting death of a 12 year-old Cleveland boy by, you guessed it, a scared cop; or that police brutality has been all but legalized in America while our deadpan President’s response to the acquittal was, um, deadpan as fuck. Then, earlier today I read about a pregnant woman, Mayra Lazos-Guerrero, who was brutalized in Denver by the cops. Shocked? Nope. I went through a similar ordeal when I was on my way to deliver my daughter almost eighteen years ago. That’s another story, related yes, but for another time.

The facts are pouring in, one more shocking than the next, about the botched abortion that is our justice system but I can’t help but go back and think about Brown’s mother. Her sorrow. I feel terrible for his father, yes. But I’m a mother. I can empathize with a father’s love but I carry a mother’s—a nonwhite mother’s—joy and fear for her children. My son is two-and-a-half. I remember when I first held him. I remember that minutes into it, I panicked. He was healthy and had a strong cry. However, when I looked at his gray little face knowing that his body would soon take on the characteristics that would make him a target of discrimination, violence, hatred, and malevolence, I became anxious. I became sort of unstuck in time, flying through the years, landing in his teens. It made me angry that I couldn’t just live in the moment and enjoy him. I have thought back to those moments every time I think of Lesley McSpadden and all the mothers that came before her and after. #BLACK&BROWNLivesMatter

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

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