As a black man, I’m reminded every day how bad the world can be towards us. Sometimes, it feels like we are always disregarded and silenced. So here’s a letter to those, as well as myself to know that we still have value in society.
Dear black boy,
You are not forgotten. In fact, the opposite is true. I know it doesn’t feel that way tho. Because of the way we are often portrayed in the media, or how we get treated in real life. The world can make us feel so ignorant, like criminals and worse — slaves. Did you still think that we would still feel this way after all we’ve been through? Yeah, me neither. You would probably think that more of us would be investing our lives in bettering the world, but actually there are more of us incarcerated than in college. We are still seen as lesser than or less desirable in society, especially when we are still finding ourselves. Why does it feel like everyone else can have journeys of self-discovery, but it’s frowned upon when we do it? Are we not allowed to make mistakes along the way?
I’m sure you can remember being told, “You have to work twice as hard to get half as far” by someone older than you. This sucks but it’s still true. We have to work harder to be good men because so many of us were raised by only women. We have to work harder in school because who is going to open doors for those who come after us? We have to work harder to be fathers because we are breaking the cycle. We have to work harder in society because the world will wipe us out if we let them.
When was the last time you cried? Do you remember the last time you expressed some emotion without judgment from others? Especially from black men? If no one else tells, you have full permission to express your emotions. All of them. Even the ones that you think are unpleasant. Please don’t let the world continue to make you rough. We come from survivors so you don’t have to be emotionless to be strong. You are strong enough.
Sometimes it feels like we can’t escape certain situations we may have been born into or brought on ourselves, but it is possible to rise above. Rise above hate and all of its forms. Choose to rise above so we can remove some of the hate that plagues our communities. Rise above so we can stop giving other communities the chance to laugh at us while we are trying our best to survive. Rise above so that no one looks at us and thinks of the word “low.”
Can you remember the first person who broke your heart? Have you healed? A lot of times, our first heartbreak comes way before we get into a romantic relationship. So who broke yours? Take the time to heal from the things from your childhood so you can grow. We need this from you. You need this for yourself.
Praying is only part of the answer. You also have to be committed to doing the work. No more excuses in which you blame other people. You are better than that. You can take responsibility without losing respect. It’s okay to fall and get back up again. No matter how many times you fall, your support system will be there for you. So be transparent, so people can help you.
You’ll probably always notice when you’re the only black person in the room. How could you forget when you’re being treated differently? Try to not to be a token. Whether you are in class or at work, don’t take on the pressure of feeling you have to represent everyone with your skin tone. You are human. You can’t take on everyone’s issues.
The world just doesn’t know how to appreciate you, so appreciate yourself. Appreciate others. Be kind and righteous. Do you really need more reasons for doing the right thing?
I know you’re scared, frustrated, lost and you believe the world hates you, but remember this:
You are not forgotten. We see you. You are loved.