Protect them? United we will! Moms of Black Boys United continues our mission to protect our Black sons, and people are noticing. On Wednesday, September 27, Huffington Post featured a heartfelt op-ed written our very own Kara L. Higgins, who also volunteers as a MUSC newsletter writer, in response to President Donald Trump's attacks on America's football players for exercising their right to protest.
This MOBB United mom's op-ed was featured on September 27, 2017 by Huffington Post.
I am that B____
By Kara L. Higgins
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a 30-something, working American mom. I don’t identify with Democrats or Republicans; I’m a middle of the road kinda girl. I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, women’s health care provider and Naval Reserve Officer. I have five kids, and I live somewhere in the middle of America. I’m also that B___ that President Trump called out last week.
My son is a football player. He’s also Black. And he’s the kid that every white, corn-fed football fan wants on their team. Neighbors jokingly place bets on which Division 1 team he’ll play for someday. He’s strong, fast, and a naturally crazy-good athlete.
My same Black athlete also is the boy that recently, while on vacation in Florida, reminded me of Florida’s gun laws and Trayvon Martin’s death and said that he wanted to hold my hand whenever we entered a public place. We, his very white parents and older siblings, listened as he and his Black brother told us how every time they are in a public place without their family, they feel afraid. Afraid that white people don’t like them and policemen think they are “bad guys”. While we personally know police officers in our church and community, it took a pep talk to get him to stand next to a State Trooper during a recent college football event. It’s not fair to the officer, whom I believe entered his profession with the intention to serve and protect, is being feared by a little boy. But I also believe that the officer, like too many Americans, has not had the personal relationships with Black friends that would strengthen his belief in equality and shatter his preconceived fears of Black America. Being my son’s mama, my eyes have been opened wide to his experience being Black in America.
Kara L. Higgins and her sons
Kara L. Higgins and her family
A few years ago, friends, I would not have been offended if you joked about my Black son being a better athlete than my white one. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have worried if he wandered around our local high school stadium without me by his side, protecting him from crowds of white people. And I may not have even noticed when that security guard at Target followed him as he went to look for a can of tomatoes for me.
But now I see it. I see how my friends that once wanted to hold and snuggle my African babies will quickly complain that the athletes of their favorite team need to keep politics out of sports. I carry it in my heart when congregants in my church will joke around with my boys, yet lecture me that Black Lives Matter is promoting police brutality. I feel completely betrayed when my white Evangelicals side with our President in saying that kneeling isn’t about race; it’s about disrespecting the flag. You can talk to my son about what skills he can offer your team, but you can't listen to him when he shares his experience as a Black American.
Don’t you see that America is not a flag or a ritual? America is built on the ideal we don’t have to be the same to be equal. America’s patriotism is in serving one another in times of despair and crisis. America’s patriotism is not an exercise toward the flag, but in joining together for the greater good of others, and in protecting those that cannot defend themselves.
America, I want you know that every mom of every Black boy in America sees you. We see that you want our sons scoring touchdowns and standing quietly on the sidelines while their friends, their fathers and the men with whom they identify are profiled, labeled, misunderstood and made to stay quiet. I want you to understand that kneeling is about not getting arrested or shot. It’s about generating a dialogue that America needs: This anthem represents pride and patriotism to some, but to others, a history of oppression. We still need to fight for liberty and justice. And I want you to know that every mom of these Black boys is committed to using education, politics, prayer and unity to bring liberty and justice for all Black boys and men too.
Yes, Mr. President, I am that B____, with that son, on that field.
Kara L. Higgins, is a volunteer writer and member of MOBB United for Social Change, Inc., a non-profit organization formed by concerned mothers who want to work together to make a difference in how Black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. What started as a Facebook group of about 30 women has grown into an online community of more than 180,000 moms nationwide and globally, representing every race, age, religion, socioeconomic background, marital status and education level. Learn more @ mobbunited.org