Monologue: What Am I Supposed To Do?

By Zakeia Tyson-Cross

In the following monologue, Momma Neda’s son attends an Ivy League Medical School in Boston, MA. Nonetheless, Momma Neda still feels her son will never be safe from harm, or have access to the same opportunities as peers. Racism and inequality is the backdrop of America. It’s that one thing that’s embedded within our societal norms that we are still trying to overcome today.

What inspired me to write this monologue? The perspective of mothers of endangered black boys has been grossly absent from literature and theatre arts. I wanted to give a voice to black mothers, especially mothers whose black sons have been subjected to the wrath of racism and hatred or targeted for death. All mothers, no matter their ethnicity, have unconditional concerns regarding the welfare of their children. However, the instincts of black mothers can heighten to paranoia where protection of their sons is concerned, and rightfully so.

MOMMA NEDA (A woman in her late 50’s is in her kitchen preparing dinner.):

Come on in this house, Son! It looks like the sky is about to split in half. All this rain is gone push my turnips before they can catch root good. Go on hand me ya coat. Ain’t nothing change much around here, it’s still the same, just like ya daddy left it. Go on get washed up, so I can feed ya belly. I know those folks at that fancy school ain’t feeding ya good. Lord have mercy, my baby is a man now. Umm. Makes me clutch my chest every time I think about it. What am I supposed to do know now?

(She lifts her head upwards.)

Willie, you sho left us at the wrong time. God bless ya soul. Oh Willie! What am I supposed to do now? Our boy up in Boston at some fancy school. You and I both know those folks don’t care nothing about our son going to some fancy school. If he’s out and sneeze the wrong way, they’ll put him down like a dog. Like a got damn dog! Cause that’s how they think of us. I keep telling him, Willie. To be careful and go bout ya business and don’t bother much with nobody. The Black man never gotten any respect from them, and never will. Willie, you knows it too. I remember that time back in ’70. We stopped by Huey’s to pick up some tools, cause the shed needed fixing. Jonny gave you the wrong change back and, you told him. That fool looked up at you and spit square in ya face. Lord! My heart dropped cause I knew you were bout to do something that was gonna get you kill’t. But you didn’t: ya wanted to, but ya didn’t.

I watched you come home every night, broken. Ya body sore from lifting things a machine shoulda been doing, and your hands hard and stiffer than a wooden plank. They worked you to death! I lost you, Willie. And I’ll be damn if they take our son. My heart sinks every time he gotta go back to Boston. There ain’t no difference between the Bama noose and the one’s up North.

(She releases an exasperated sigh)

We did ok, Willie. That fancy school gonna make our boy a doctor. He bout through too, only two more years. I want him to live and not worry bout living. Ain’t no way to be for somebody to have to worry about not coming home to their own bed at night. God shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and evermore.

(She lowers her head to speak to her son again.)

Son! You done washing up? Come on in the kitchen so momma can feed ya up with some love. Tell me all the new things you learning at that fancy school.

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