#DangerousBlackKids A Love Letter From Hood Feminists to Our Children

We were on the phone yesterday, still reeling from yet another bizarre court case where a murdered child was on trial for existing in public. My oldest son is 14, taller than me, with a man’s voice and the over-sized hands and feet that come with imminent, but not yet reached physical maturity. To me, he is the embodiment of a roaming piece of my heart. I carried him, nursed him, and taught him. He will always be my baby. He is his father’s buddy. They communicate in a language of comics, art, video games, and jokes that are so very them. My youngest son adores his big brother, and while he is also my baby, I can see that like his older brother some day he will be a giant in my house. I worry for all of them in that way that you do when society says that the people you love are worth less, and frames their very existence as a crime. Trayvon Martin’s death and Jordan Davis’ death are the most recent, but far from the only examples of this phenomenon that they called lynching until very recently.

They worry for me, because violence doesn’t observe gender lines and Rekia Boyd’s death wasn’t that long ago. Renisha McBride’s death is even more recent. And each time, the slain are on trial first, long before their killers have to worry about consequences. These stories have become so common that my friends and I have developed our own rituals around the outrage cycles required to force a trial, and around the results of the trials. We talk online and off, suggest self care tactics, and hug each other’s babies regularly. I am Tete Mikki to Jamie’s son, and while I fuss about his tiny size and random toddler outbursts, he is my baby as much as any of the others. Jamie knows my sons, has babysat them, nagged them, and demanded they stop teasing her about being so short. So, when we sat on the phone, we were half going through our normal rituals and half boiling over from outrage exhaustion. It does some thing awful to your spirit to constantly have to insist on your humanity, and the humanity of those you love. To be part of a community so frequently demonized, in refutation of documented history and current events, is to be forced to fight for your life and the lives of strangers constantly. We talked about a baby picture posted by @miss_hellion, the myth of black danger, and we started brainstorming hashtags.

#DangerousBlackKids is not about proving our worthiness to live to those who would handwave our murders. It is not about being respectable enough to deserve life. It is about being human in public, with each other, for each other. It is a reminder to ourselves that we will never be the monsters society would like us to be, that we are complex, complicated, and eminently worthy of life because we are here. We will always be here. We will fuss, feud, fight, and be a family regardless of what outsiders want to see. Our children are precious to us, to their friends, to the communities that we inhabit. And no matter how many times we have to fight for them, or for ourselves, we will keep fighting for as long as it takes to win. Because we are always worth it. We will never stand silent in the face of destructive forces. Just as we work within our communities to heal them, we will work outside our communities to stop the next generation of traumas from being inflicted.


  1. Dbarabin · February 17, 2014

    Thank you!

  2. Mary Stan · February 17, 2014


  3. Da Realist 1 · February 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on 2 Dope Sistahs and commented:
    I’ve been trying to articulate my thoughts about the Jordan Davis case, but it’s extremely difficult to make these thoughts into words. This post by karnythia spoke to me.

  4. merelyquirky · February 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on Merely Quirky.

  5. Team Oyeniyi · February 17, 2014

    Wonderful work. May I reblog?

    • karnythia · February 17, 2014

      Sure, go right ahead. Thank you.

  6. Team Oyeniyi · February 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on Love versus Goliath : A Partner Visa Journey and commented:
    Following on from my article about the Dunn trial from an Australian mother’s perspective, I noticed the #DangerousBlackKids hashtag on Twitter which brought me to this beautiful piece of writing.

    I would like to share this mother’s words with as many readers as I can, everywhere!

  7. Pingback: #DangerousBlackKids: Black Twitter’s response to Dunn verdict : Polypartisan
  8. brickhousedc · February 18, 2014

    Haven’t even been able to put into words my thoughts & my fears with my sun. I have been in tears because Black motherhood is so precarious, fearing for my Black boy & fearing as a Black woman.

  9. Lindsay · February 18, 2014

    You are a truly incredible writer. As I finished reading this, the first thought that came to mind was this:

    This shattered my heart into a million pieces, and then rebuilt it into something more beautiful.

    Thank you.

  10. Christian Feminism Today · February 19, 2014

    This will be the Christian Feminism Today Link of the Day on February 19.

    We pray for the day that is coming, when each beautiful version of humanity is precious to us all.

  11. Pingback: #DangerousBlackKids A Love Letter From Hood Feminists to Our Children | Wild Women Wisdom
  12. Sehar S. · February 20, 2014

    Reblogged this on Seharyeli and commented:
    “#DangerousBlackKids is not about proving our worthiness to live to those who would handwave our murders. It is not about being respectable enough to deserve life. It is about being human in public, with each other, for each other…”

  13. Pingback: Sunday links, 2/23/14 | Tutus And Tiny Hats
  14. Randallstown Mom · April 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on Message in a Blogger.

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