I’ll never teach you that skin color doesn’t matter when it really does. As you continue to grow I’ll do my best to equip you with tools to survive in this cruel world. I’ll always strive to make sure you know who you are in a world that despised you from the moment you entered it, all because you’re black.
On behalf of those who’ll never apologize for how they perceive you, I will. I’m sorry you’ll have to work twice as hard to prove your self-worth and intelligence all because you were born with darker skin. I’m sorry that no matter what I do to prepare you for this life it’ll never be enough. You’ll be fully qualified for a job and turned down all because of the color of your skin. No matter how many rules I write for you, society will rewrite them with their own rules for a black man.
In a world where you should be free to wear what you want, I’ll have to teach you what you should and shouldn’t wear. Early on you’ll have to know that a hoodie is not just a hoodie, it could be a death sentence. I’ll have to teach you how to show respect and demand it back. How to be confident and how to carry yourself with dignity. You’ll accuse me for being overbearing and you may not like me at times. I need you to understand that I don’t do it to be overbearing, I do it because it’s a matter of life or death.
I’ll never tell you that racism doesn’t exist. I’ve felt it myself. I’ve been followed through stores, and have immediately become uncomfortable entering them. Every time I see a police car behind me I become afraid, not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because-society has conditioned me to feel this way. I’m immediately aware that I am black every time I leave my house.
Despite everything I may tell you, I want you to know all white people aren’t your enemy. Don’t let others convince you that they are. I want you to never be fearful of what you know, but instead use it as your weapon to propel you into something greater. May you always know kindness and despite how others may treat you, you don’t do the same.
As much as I’d desperately like to return you back to my womb where you’re safe, I can’t. I pray that you never know what it’s like to be angry or hurt by a stranger whose already prejudged you. This life of racism I wish you never had to know, but you will. All I can do is hope against hope that despite what you may face in this life it doesn’t defeat you. I only hope that you take the negativity you’ll receive and turn it into something good.
I know everything I’ve said may have you feeling afraid and confused. But I ask that you live your life unafraid. May you always have a childlike heart that see the good in people despite what they may see in you. I pray that even when society is against you that you always choose love over hate and respect over disrespect. But mostly what I pray for in this crazy, messed up world is that I never have to know it without you because of someone’s hatred.