I'm A White Mother Of A Black Son, And I Won't Stop Talking About Racism

by Lauren
Lauren Jordan's son standing and looking at the lake
Lauren Jordan

“Do you think you’d care as much about racism or talk about race as much if I was white?”

My son asked me this at 7:45 a.m. in the car on the way to school last week.

I was speechless for a second and then realized he was looking for an answer.


“You don’t think so?”

“I want desperately to tell you that I would, but I don’t think that’s true. I would care. But being your mom makes me view the world very differently. I wouldn’t be the same person.”

I haven’t stopped thinking about this. I have spent so much time the past seven and half years thinking about who I need to be and become in order to raise a happy, safe, strong, proud, and comfortable black son that I never considered who I would be if he was white.

I see the court rulings, watch the news, hear about the shootings, and each time, I visualize my son’s face. People say and post awful things, inappropriately stare and question and behave in ways that are blatantly prejudiced. I walk into rooms and scan the crowd for people of color and cringe if everyone is white. I think about locations of schools, vacations, camps, sports, and even homes in regards to how diverse they are.

None of this would happen if my son was white.

And yet, I feel grateful. I have been given the gift of seeing and acknowledging my privilege. I have the unique and rare experience as a white woman to navigate life with a slightly different lens. I feel more empathetic, more willing to listen, more open to questioning, and more motivated to make change. More motivated to change myself.

I would experience none of this if my son was white.

And yet with that comes a great deal of anger. An intolerance for the intolerant. An impatience with people that I refuse to apologize for. It comes with an annoyance at the world, the current climate, and this country. A dissatisfaction with how things are not progressing. A constant fear that will never lessen.

I know I wouldn’t feel any of this as deeply if my son was white.

So then who would I be?

I try to visualize this and realize it really doesn’t matter. I am exactly who I am supposed to be. I am the mother of a black son who talks a lot about race and racism.

Lauren Jordan