My Dear Children,
There are some things that I must tell you. I have to be honest. I can’t sugar-coat it, I can’t wing it. Nothing but the truth can be said about what I need to tell you.
Yes, you already know this, but what you may not realize is that society is going to look at you differently. Your skin color plays a huge part in how people treat you. I know, it shouldn’t be that way but it is. I cannot tell you why because I’m not exactly sure why. Just know that mommy and daddy loves you two very much.
To My Son:
My smart and handsome little boy. You’re going to be a very tall and possibly huge man. That and your skin color is going to intimidate people. There are going to be preconceived notions that you’re violent, angry, a thug even, just on that alone. You may – most probably will – get treated differently and probably harassed by law enforcement. Keep your head down, don’t get angry, respect them, don’t make any sudden moves, keep your hands where they can see them. Hopefully, the cop that day may not taze or shoot you anyway. If you know you haven’t done anything and you were just going home, don’t think it’s your fault. It’s not. It’s society. It’s hunting season and black people are getting killed at least 15 times a week at the time of this being written.
You will have to work 10x harder than the white man to get anywhere. The system is built to see you fail. Don’t let it break you. Show these people who are. You’re smart, independent and you don’t need to be white to get far. Don’t limit yourself to football or basketball just because someone took one look at you and say that’s all you’ll amount to. History tries to erase and take claim to everything we’ve created. We’re geniuses. If you want to be a scientist, a doctor, hell, even a race car driver, go for it. It’s your life.
Just know that society base their views on how dark your skin is. The lighter you are, the smarter they think you are. As a mom, I have to tell you these things because I love you. I wish there was someone there to tell these things to me when I was a child. I hope throughout the years as you get older that I have the strength and the knowledge to help you.
Cops are getting away with murder, the government is no better. Hell, you don’t have to be a cop to get away with murder, just be white. They don’t need a reason to kill you. Society doesn’t really need a legitimate reason to hate you, you just have to have a fucked up disposition that’s out of your control; your skin color.
Don’t hate yourself, and please don’t hate me. I don’t want you to ever regret being born. Don’t give the racists or the bigots the satisfaction. Colorism, classism and racism is alive and kicking. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
To my daughter,
My sweet and beautiful daughter. Mommy loves you and your brother so very much. The world is going to treat you so unfairly, mama. You get paid less, especially if you’re black. But on the flip-side you’ll probably get a job faster than someone darker than you because you’re high-colored. People will ask you if you have a white parent, or “what are you, exactly?” Hopefully you have your father’s sense of humor and smarts to give them a quick and educative response.
You will have to work so much harder than anyone else to get a high-paying job. The work-force don’t take kind to women working. Especially if you go into welding or any other job where there are mostly men. Don’t let that stop you, mama. It damn sure isn’t stopping me.
Not only do you have to worry about how society sees you, you have to worry about how black women and men see you. Why? Because of your lighter skin. Black people are not kind to each other when it comes to things like that.
There are other things in life that you and I will explore together because as a woman, I’m still learning and realizing things for myself.
Life is not kind to us. We’re treated unfairly and are seen in a dirty light. As long as I’m living, you two won’t have to stand in that light alone. Your parents got your back. We can’t protect you forever or keep you from the world that’s out there. Everyone isn’t racist. Everyone aren’t bigots, or prejudice. There are genuinely nice and caring people out there, it’s just that there are fewer and fewer as time goes on. Keep your eyes open, be aware, be smart, be conscious, be safe.
Mommy and daddy loves you!