Doctor Mama Esquire

BS. MA. JD. PhD. Mother of three.

Black Boy’s Tears, Part II

Part I here. He’s crying again. It’s not bedtime today, so I grab him and pull him into my arms and sit on the couch with him. I ask what’s wrong, expecting the same, one word: “Nothing.” I get more than that, though. “Nothing…maybe it’s depression.” “Maybe it’s depression.” When I was 12, I had no idea what “depression” was. I knew what pain and ache and heartbreak were, but […]

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The Day of No Shame

(I usually don’t post two things in one day, but I forgot about putting this here.) #NoShameDay Before the day is over, I wanted to recommit myself to having zero shame about my mental health struggles. I have Biploar II disorder, which means less intense manic episodes than Bipolar I disorder, but often even deeper depressions than those with Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar I. I was diagnosed in 2009 […]

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Black Boy’s Tears, Part I

He’s crying again. The night has come to an end. His brother and sister are in their rooms, and their potential mistreatment of him is seemingly not the reasons for this avalanche of tears. He walks quickly through the living room on the way to his bedroom, but I know something is not right. I know him, his body, and his affect intimately, this eldest child of mine, the one […]

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The American Tradition of Innocence Denied

Innocence: freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil; freedom from guile or cunning; lack of worldly experience or sophistication We often speak of the innocence of children. We consider them to be unaware of the evils of our world. Their brains are growing quickly in sheer size but also in connective pathways. Childhood follows us into adulthood as we realize many of our mannerisms, ideas, and ideologies are formed while […]

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#WhileBlack, The Talk, and Sheltered Black Boys

Two police officers stood in front of the school. They seemed to be doing something close to nothing, chatting with a parent. The parent seemed to know them, but the conversation also appeared…strained. I know this parent; her body language suggested discomfort, annoyance, and a little anger. I was walking with my 12-year-old son and his friend, both black boys, as I passed by the officers and the mom. One […]

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On Dollars and Racial Sense

The two brothers who the city of Philadelphia’s Police Department arrested a few weeks back after a white Starbucks barista called the police for waiting and daring to use the bathroom while black settled their claims with the city of Philadelphia for $1 and a grant of $200,000 to a program for entrepreneurial high school students. They also settled with Starbucks, apparently for an undisclosed amount and the ability to […]

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On White Fears and Black Freedoms

The story is old. A white woman’s fear costs a black man his freedom. The story is old. White woman sees black man where she does not want him to be and tells him to leave. You don’t belong here. Used to be a sidewalk. Now it’s a coffee house. Implicit bias? Overt bias? It really doesn’t matter. They say no, we’re waiting for someone, we aren’t ready to order. […]

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“It’s Not Fair:” A Working-Class Mama with Middle-Class Kids

“It’s not fair.” The first words out of my seven-year old’s mouth after leaving a birthday party turned barbecue at the home of one of her classmates. She had a great time, and her brother too as he tagged along for the party. I sort of knew what she meant when she said those words, but I wanted to be sure. “What’s not fair?” Although she sat in the backseat as […]

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