I always thought he would be the safe one.
As a woman, I understand that my daughters are inherently vulnerable due to their gender. I am familiar with knowing the right place to park, with being aware of my surroundings and with not walking alone at night.
I also understand that my son with special needs is vulnerable. I am aware that there are people in this world who will take advantage of him or abuse him because he is unable to defend himself.
But I never thought that I would need to be concerned about my other son’s safety. He is strong and intelligent and friendly and handsome. He has courage and skills garnered from six years in the National Guard.
But he is also black.
His blackness does not define him in my eyes, or in his. Because he was raised by white parents, his core identity lies in things outside his race. But his blackness defines him in the eyes of others.
He is a young, black male. And I am beginning to understand that he, too, is vulnerable.