I write this guide to life in the event that I never get to tell my future son myself.
My darling boy,
I have so many thoughts, I don’t know where to begin. There is a lot going on in our country right now—some of which you may one day read about in history class. These times I’m living in seem to be spontaneously perilous. Our country is gripped by turmoil, tragedy, and division. And the common denominator among all these factors is race.
As a Black man in America—the world, rather—people will almost always form an opinion of you before you even open your mouth to introduce yourself. That is out of your control. What is in your control, however, is the power you possess to either prove them wrong, or right.
You will never be able to change what you are, son. And never should you want to. Be proud of who you are, and be proud of your history. But understand, in your life, you will encounter a gauntlet of obstacles that many people will never even know exist. All because of the way you look. And there will be people, even friends, who will never face a tenth of those challenges, who attempt to tell you how you should act—or react—in certain situations. Block it out, always. A bird can’t teach a cat how to climb a tree.
Be respectful in all that you do. It is said that “the true measure of man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Understand that, embrace that. You are no more important than the next man, but you are just as important as him, too. Nothing, including—but not limited to—respect, will be given to you in life.
There will be times you feel like the deck of life is stacked against you. Never let it discourage you. You must work hard, and most times, harder than others. As your grandmother always told me, “you are more than a conqueror”. Take as much pride in the process as you do the success; only then will it be fulfilling.
I wish I could promise you that adhering to all of the aforementioned would guarantee you a life free from conflict and hardship, but I’d be doing you no favors. The road ahead is rough. But there is a road. And Gods be good, it’ll lead you to victory.
I love you.