By Kelly Brown-Douglas, originally published in Sojourners Magazine (03.20.17)
My son was about 2 years old. I had taken him to the park to play in a Flintstones-like car that was in the park’s playground. This particular park was next door to an elementary school. After being in the park for about 15 minutes, what appeared to be a class of first graders recessed into the park. Two little boys, one blonde-haired the other redheaded, ran down to the car where my son was playing. Seeing them coming, my son immediately jumped out. Soon the two little boys began fighting over who was going to play in the car. My son looked on with the fascination of a 2-year-old. The little redheaded boy, who seemed to be winning the battle for the car, saw my son looking. He suddenly stopped fighting for the car and turned toward my son. With all the venom that a 7- or 8-year-old boy could muster, he pointed his finger at my son and said, “You better stop looking at us, before I put you in jail where you belong.” This little white boy was angry. A black boy had intruded upon his space. My son was guilty of being black, in the park, and looking. Click HERE to read more.