Special rules apply for raising a boy who is brown

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There is a clause in the rules for empowering a black boy.

I am the mother of a 6-year-old African-American boy who loves sports, Star Wars and harassing his sister. Like other children his age, he is learning how to ride a bike. His love can be felt in his hugs and smile.

He is full of life and lives in a world where he believes he can be and do anything he dreams. In this world, he has been taught, his voice and presence not only matter but are valued.

What happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is heartbreaking because it points to a flaw in the reality of parenting a black boy. No matter how many people are involved in loving and empowering him to become a high-functioning member of society, many other people see only color and a prejudicial idea of who he is.

As I watched early news reports about Michael Brown, my heart sank for his parents, and I was reminded of the small-print clause in the rules of empowerment for a son who is brown.

In raising my son to be an upstanding citizen of the world, I teach him to speak up because his opinion matters, to walk into every room with confidence and to never feel intimidated by anyone because we are all created equal.

Mike Brown’s death, however, reminds me that one day I will have to tell my son the truth.

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