My Open Letter to My Black Sons
I Apologize for What is To Come
When I found out that I was expecting each of you, I loved you both before I had the pleasure of laying eyes on you. My dreams and wishes for you and your future were grand and vast. Even as infants, I knew unequivocally that you were placed on the Earth for great things. Now here we are in the year 2020, you are seven and ten years old with a lifetime ahead of you, at least that is what I pray. A lifetime...what does that really mean? Most believe it is living well into your twilight years, old and gray, having lived a full and enriching life. There is now a new definition of lifetime based upon how long you physically survive all of the obstacles and tribulations that will be placed before you. For many that idea of a lifetime, is aborted before it can be fully realized.
Randall, my first born king. You are the sweetest, funniest and most gentle spirit I know. You are always the one that roots for the underdog and are there to make sure that everyone around you has their opportunity to shine and be great. Your childlike innocence makes my heart leap. You and your brother are very low maintenance kids. It doesn't take much to make you guys happy, you still get excited about the little things. You are smart, talented, athletic and so humble about all of it. You never like being the center of attention but your natural abilities force you there quite often. You are uncomfortable when you are acknowledged and would rather be in the background instead of the forefront. There has never been a kid that you didn't want to engage with and call friend.
Then there is my Robby. My beautiful, bright-eyed old soul. I had no idea of the person that you would become. You have exceeded my expectations on so many occasions that I gave up trying to predict what would happen next. I often say that you have been here several times before, such and old soul for such a young boy. You are so wise beyond your years and often surprise everyone you encounter by you ability to hold very detailed and meaningful conversations. You are extremely astute and very intellectual, you challenge me on a daily basis and I wouldn't have it any other way. You are so observant and deeply engaged in everything around you. You are a sponge desiring to learn and understand. Such a charmer, you have the ability to make the coldest heart melt with a simple bat of those big, beautiful eyes. You emulate your big brother and want to do everything he does. You are growing up so fast, yet sometimes you wish you were still a baby. When you tell me this, you have no idea of how much I wish for this as well. I would press a restart button to have the both of you as babies again so that I could protect you from what you will have to endure in this world.
I grew up in a time where social media was not a thing (That sounds really old!). Your grand parents were able to shield me from the atrocities of the world. I would say I was fairly sheltered growing up and didn't really understand all that was happening until I went away to college. I was so naïve in so many ways. In some ways I am happy that I grew up believing the worst that would happen was not being a part of the in crowd at school, yet part of me wishes I had known and understood more. When I stepped onto the Highest of Seven Hills, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), I soon became aware that the Black community was not the Black utopia I had created in my mind. I was surrounded by beautiful young people of all shades and backgrounds. All of were there for an opportunity to get a piece of the American Dream. We were seeking that magic ticket of higher education that we believed was the key to unlock all the doors for success and greatness. Even in the bubble of beauty that FAMU was, I saw that we were not all treated equally. Outside of the sanctity of the campus, there were people rooting against us, hoping that we would fail, doing things to thwart our dreams of bettering ourselves. For me seeing Black people achieve and obtain advanced degrees was my norm, as we come from a family of educators and professionals. This was not the same experience for others that attended FAMU, for some they were the first in their family to attend college. What a wake up call that was! The storybook that my parents had written for me, was not the story of many others I encountered. Things that I saw and experienced at FAMU, shaped and molded a new reality of this world.
Now here I am, having to make the decision as to if I will allow you retain your innocent view of the world, or tell you the true reality of this world. Everything in my wants to protect you and shield you from anything that is bad and scary. I am not ready for you to know the truth of what is really happening; however if I continue to shelter you, you will be under-prepared for the reality that will soon be coming your way. As a mother it is not only my duty to protect your from harm, but it is also my responsibility to impart knowledge and wisdom into you so that you will be properly armed to survive. Sooner than I would care to admit, you will be entering into young adulthood and all that adulthood brings. It would be selfish and irresponsible of me to release you to the wolves without giving you ammunition so that you will have a fighting chance.
What I am about to tell you will be scary and shocking. I will be taking away your innocence and you will never be the same again. It is not my intent to cause you to want to hide and remain in a state of fear. I need for you to take in my words and hide them away so that you may pull upon them when they are needed. My reason and rationale is to prepare you and arm you with the knowledge you will need, so that you will not be caught off guard when the wolves in sheep's clothing cross your path. They are coming, you won't recognize them now, but the older you get, you will begin to see pass their smiles and disguises. I can no longer sugar coat things for you. I have to prepare you for what's to come, because it is coming soon.
As you get older you will get stronger and wiser. As you grow taller and get bigger, there are those that will be intimidated and threatened by your strength. Your regality as a Black King will be seen as a threat and there are those that will want to take your reign. You will be hunted, hunted by weak minded people that will judge you solely on your beautiful black skin. They will not take an opportunity to know you and experience you. I task you with one thing and one thing only, stay alive! We know that every being on this Earth will die one day, but it is my desire that you are not stolen before you have lived your lifetime. God has a purpose and plan for your life and I want you to remain here until those purposes and plans are fulfilled. Use your intellect to outsmart your enemies. There are still good people in this world, but you are going to have to learn to recognize those that wish you harm. Stay aware, don't let you guard down ever. You must remain hyper-vigilant in recognizing the signs for those that do not have your best interests at heart. You will need to understand that remaining calm on the outside, even when you are infuriated on the inside, will be your superpower. Many will tell you that this is a weakness, being less than a man, but I tell you this may be the deciding factor for you completing the mission, STAY ALIVE! Walk away if you need to, be polite if you have to, stay calm, don't argue, don't raise your voice so that you will eliminate the perception of a threat. You will need to smile through your anguish even when it hurts. I understand that you will want to yell, cry and fight, but you must always focus on the mission.
You are part of an endangered species. The Black man is being exterminated. While I can't save everyone, I will leave this Earth trying to make sure that your mission is completed. I feel with every fiber of my being that the two of you were placed on this Earth to change this world for the better. You are special and I will do my part as your mother to pour into you and protect you for as long as I am able. I will validate you everyday so that you will know how blessed, gifted and highly favored you are. You are beautiful in body, mind and spirit. You are descendants of greatness and greatness is demanded of you. I love you with all that I am. I am sorry that I could not change the world for you, but we can change our piece of the world by living in our greatness. This is your first nudge out of the nest so that you may spread your wings and fly into your destiny.
Love you always and forever,