Dear Black Son:
“Fuck your breath…”
Son those words were said to an African-American man by the name of Eric Courtney Harris when he said he couldn’t breathe to police before they killed him
You’re not a criminal or a slave, I’m telling you this because no one else will tell you this. To the rest of the world you’re a criminal who can be systematically turned into a slave. And son I promise you they’ll try to make you a slave…
You see son they’re going to give you these statistics about how one out of every three black men are likely to go jail in their lifetime, or that one out of every fifteen black men are currently in jail, or that two fifths of African-American youth are confined, oh son I could go on. No one will tell you where this criminalization began, but a few.
That narrative begins with the thirteenth amendment that granted us “freedom”, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States”.
After the thirteenth amendment, slaves were free, but this hurt the Southern economy. So what did they do son? They arrested free black male slaves, young and old for petty crimes in order for the work to still get done. From here son they could sell this narrative that you were a criminal, even though they systematically turned you into a criminal.
Son, basic human rights were never yours. Black leaders fought for your rights, but son white justice prevailed. You see my son, our past leaders won so many battles, but they killed them off son.
They killed Martin, they killed Malcolm, they killed Fred, Harry, Medger, and… and… and…They killed these leaders so the future generations wouldn’t want to fight. They might march, protest, burn the city down, but a leader wouldn’t emerge from the fear of death.
They will tell you not to be militant, but son please be militant. Be black and don’t be apologetic about it, be a black intellect, and if that is militant then so be it.
When you look back into history don’t fall for the war on crime and all that shit that politicians said. The war on crime was a war on you. You see son, they couldn’t plain out say war on niggers like they use to. Painting you as a criminal helped vilify you in society and sadly other blacks started believing these narratives of you being a criminal.
Son, you’re not a slave to some state, or belong in a 6 x 9 prison cell. You’re not a street solider living to die. Dying isn’t the only reason you have to live son, your death in this world doesn’t mean more than the long life you can live. My black son, don’t kill your black brother or sister over anything at all. My black son, please live I beg of you.
There is so much beauty in you and your life son, but they will tell you that celebrating your blackness is against them. Fuck them son, don’t submit to their oppression son. Be comfortable in your black skin, because it’s beautiful and it’s yours.
All the dead black bodies son, oh son I pray for you even though I don’t know who you are or where you are right now.
I pray you can eat skittles, drink Arizona tea, wear hoodies, drive a car, walk down the street, or go to college. I pray for your strength, your pain, your weakness; son I pray.
As years turned to decades and decades turned to centuries, politicians began to target you and used the idea of locking up criminal black men at the forefront of their campaigns. You see son you were never a criminal, it was just a convenient narrative for society to create.
This criminal narrative that was given to you oozed through our community, leading you to kill and steal from your brother and sister. You look at your life as a street solider who has a responsibility to die fighting for the streets. Son, you’re not a street solider, dying isn’t your glory road. Promise me that you’ll live a full life, but how you ask?
Live your life by not being uncomfortable about who you are and live your life by educating yourself on who you are. Once you find out who you are, teach all the young black boys who they are. You see son they have told you who you are, but now it’s time for you to take the narrative into your hands and tell the true story of black men.
Don’t die son…