A White Mother’s Angst

Editor’s Note: We welcome yet another voice to the blog. That of a white mother to a dark-skinned boy. Tammy and I have been friends for decades. Our kids attended the same schools. I worked with her husband, Mike, a retired Oregon State Police Lt.  We need to listen closely to the mothers whose sons face discrimination every time they walk out the front door into a world of people who judge them simply by the color of their skin.


By Tammy McCullough

In the early 1500’s Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a slim book on the subject of power. The Prince. The main point of his manual. Divide the masses that you may conquer them; separate them and you can rule them.
He showed how a person or action that has been regarded evil, immoral, and manipulative, is now referred to as “Machiavellian”.

Our youngest son, who came to live with us at age 12, is smart, loving, funny, and unbelievably
unsinkable in his conviction of a better future. He is a survivor. I won’t go into detail about
the years before us (that’s his story to tell). What you should know is I am his White Mother.
His skin is the shade of dark caramel. Chocolate bliss. Coffee with cream.


We do not know his true origins. He was abandoned at birth in a hospital on the other side of
the world. Now he is mine. I love him. We are bound, not by blood, but by the love that sees
with the scales fallen from our eye’s, kind of love. A parent’s kind of love. God’s kind of love.

After three months of quarantine we have started to emerge once again into society. Some of us have had heavier loads to carry. This pandemic has widened the gap between white and black, rich, and poor, us and them. I don’t like the tone. An ominous percussion under everyday activities. The rhythm of anger rising to the surface…. It’s always been there. Cradled in a swamp of ignorance. Not talked about in polite circles.


And then… George Floyd was murdered…This is chilling for a mother with a son of color. My spirit recoils. My faith fights to be heard above the tumultuous rabble of frightening thoughts that he may be next… Oh God!

I have never had a loud voice politically. I affirm my beliefs to family and close friends but never have labored on electoral campaigns. Until now. This. George Floyd. White Supremacy. Systemic Racism. A Prejudiced President.
This. I cannot ignore.

When our present leadership winds false words of divisiveness around the contours of “free speech” choking life out of our democracy.

This, I cannot ignore.

The noose tightens. The cords of unity dissolve. Our right to peacefully assemble when naming a wrong is sprayed with noxious gas and peppered with bullets of brute intellect. This. This, I cannot ignore.

If we the people do not stand up for what is right and descent who will? Our leaders? They have not proven themselves of such acts of heroism. Certainly not our president.

We. WE are the voices of reason! WE will now be heard! WE will now make this country what it was originally intended to be. A DEMOCRACY. WHERE ARE MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

WE will not let Machiavellian leaders split and dominate. WE will raise our voices and our votes to BE BETTER THAN THIS!

A White Mother’s Angst.

“Divide the masses that you may conquer them; separate them and you can rule them”.


Bio: Tammy McCullough is the mother to three sons.  The older two are biological and her youngest is of Khmer-Thai decent born in Thailand. She currently resides in Bend, Oregon with her husband of 42 years.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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