Dear Black Mom: – a response #IAmListening

Sarah Anthofer

Dear Black Mom,

You wrote me a touching letter and I want to respond. You know I love you too. We’ve been neighbors, friends, confidants and my life is better because you are in it. Thank you for the times we’ve spent sharing our hopes and dreams. Thank you for the hours of encouragement and helping me find the humor in our daily struggles. Thank you for so generously sharing your own failures, triumphs and the juice boxes. Know this – I’ve got your back mama. I love your kids. I love your child’s silly smiles and giggles and how he makes my silly child smile and giggle. And I promise that I will stand up to racism when I see it. I will confront it. I will say something to the person who unfairly judges you and I will make it a point not to let the many little injustices pass silently. I will make it a point to let my babies know it is unacceptable. As friends, as co-mama’s in the fight to do something better for our children, I will commit to that for you.  

I need you to commit to me too. Be patient with me. Understand that my perspective on the world is vastly different than yours and that words and phrases may have very different meanings as a result. So ask me to clarify and teach me from your perspective. Remember, I need education on the way you see the world because my years of experience have been steeped in a tradition of inequality that I am likely unknowingly blind to. I need to trust that you will do this gently so I don’t fear you will think I’m a racist when I don’t understand. That word hurts me because it’s the furthest thing from what I want. I need you. I need you to rescue me from my bubble and my tendency to lean on my experiences as the one clear truth.

My dear friend, I know you, like me, have committed to teaching your children to be people of integrity and principle. I wouldn’t be friends with you otherwise. Please don’t overlook that Michael Brown had just robbed a store, assaulted a woman and a police officer. [Editor’s Update: Video shows that Michael Brown put money on the counter. It was not a robbery. Facts about the assaults are still unknown. August 25, 10PM PST]. I know you know that. I know you are speaking to me about injustices that are pervasive and a part of the much larger pattern of race and privilege in America today. Understand, I can’t overlook his culpability. I am seeing his ownership in bringing about the terrible tragedy. So if we are going to help each other, we both need to deal with those facts. 

I really am on your team. Now that we are talking, now that we are speaking honestly about this legacy of racism and inequality in our country, let’s not stop talking. Let’s go deeper and get to the uncomfortable but too often unsaid things that have been plaguing us for far too many generations. But we both need to face the facts. We can’t let each other off the hook by ignoring the problems from your perspective and from mine. 

You have to know people will hide behind half-truths. The people who will only say “but it was his fault” or “it’s only because he was black.” After Ferguson, after Trayvon Martin, we can’t afford to be them anymore. Because when we leave out the part of the truth that makes us sad or uncomfortable it delays us from getting to the real issues and to, God-willing, fix them in our lifetime.  

Your friend in the fight with you,

White Mom

Editor’s Note (updated): This letter was written by Sarah Anthofer as a comment in response to Keesha Beckford’s post, “Dear White Mom:”. After reading it, we contacted Sarah and asked her if we could share her letter. This was her response:

I was really moved by Keesha’s words.  I wrote the response thinking of the many diverse moms I love and all our babies. I wrote it thinking of the things I have said or thought or heard said or thought about race from that “white mom” perspective – and it’s admittedly a narrow one. (…) I really want to be a part of a meaningful and necessary conversation. 

Personally, I am learning to listen with a keener ear. #IAmListening

~Val Curtis, Editor-in-chief of BonBon Break

NOTE: Comments on this post have been closed. After receiving 1000 comments of various natures on the original post, it became impossible to monitor and the conversation became inhumane. PLEASE continue the conversation on your social media channels, in your homes and in your community.


Dear White Moms - a response to activities in Ferguson and beyond


This post was written by Sarah Anthofer exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC

All of the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of BonBon Break Media, LLC

Photo credit: iStockphoto