Dear Black Man

Dear Black Man,

First off, let me be so bold to say that you are just so beautiful. Your skin, your hair, your smile, your rhythm, your swagger. Everybody wants to be you, which is why I don’t understand why you’re being hunted to extinction. They spent years trying to emulate your spirit, your resolve, and your absolute coolness. And now that they’ve taken what they want of your culture, they’re done with you. But I’m not done with you.

They took you from your home, and they gave you a new name. They took you so far from your home, that you forgot what your name ever was. They beat you, they tormented you, and they told you that you were ugly. They made you work in the fields, and serve their family. They told you that you were stupid, but you weren’t stupid. You fought for hundreds of years for your freedom – something that they know nothing about. And yet, you weren’t done.

They made you fight in their wars. You died too many times in the name of a country that would later forsake you. You died and were buried without a name, because your name wasn’t important to them. All that mattered to them was that you did as you were told. You fought for our country, hoping that this would make you an American. And yet, you weren’t. Not really. They never gave you a chance to become an American, because to them, you were a tool. Your death in these conflicts was just a means to an end. We mourned you, but our tears were as meaningless as the wars you fought. But you soldiered on, like you always have. And yet, you weren’t done.

They made you mad because of how unjust they are, and you marched. You were sprayed with fire hoses, lynched in the streets, and made to be the devil of American society. All you wanted was change. You raised your fist to start a revolution, but what you wanted wasn’t revolutionary. You just wanted to be treated like everyone else. You wanted to vote, you wanted to live, and you wanted to be free. Just like every other American. Whether you were peaceful, or you did it by any means necessary. You did what black men do, and you took care of business. You took care of me. We shall overcome. And yet, you weren’t done.

They made you out to be a buffoon. They gave you cheap drugs and alcohol to make sure that you were distracted. They gave you reasons to hate each other. They created a centuries-long, nationwide joke that you were the butt of. They made you out to be a criminal, and uneducated, and they scoffed at your attempts to rectify these issues. They shot you in the streets, and on a BART platform, and in front of your infant daughter. They made you hate yourself, and anyone who looked like you. They made you try to forget how beautiful and brave you are, but they are failing and that is why they are scared of you.

The white man is not your enemy. America is not your enemy. Your enemy is and always has been the system of oppression designed to make you think of yourself as lesser than “them”. But you’re not. You cannot believe the things that people will tell you about yourself. You are scholars, and creators of amazing things. You are wonderful fathers, husbands, friends, and role models. You are the foundation on which this country is built. You are America. They should thank you for your impact on the creation of this country. I implore you not to let anyone let you believe that you don’t belong here.

To my black man, upon whom’s back America was born, we truly owe you everything. They tried to take you from your kingdom, but they can’t take the crown from your head. You are stronger, braver and more resilient than anyone gives you credit for. You’re going to have to be strong for a little while longer, but that has never been a problem for you before. I’ll do what I can to help. Send my love to your mother.

Love you always and always and always, etc.,

Black Woman

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3 thoughts on “Dear Black Man

  1. Although I’m sure this sentiment was heartfelt, it is another example of a generalization. I’m sure “they” is referring to white people but I and the majority of my generation consider and treat everyone with respect. This type of prose, in my opinion, only continues to divide people even further.

    1. Hey there friend! First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my post and comment. It’s really great that we live in a country where we can discuss our dissenting views in a respectful way! I absolutely agree that there are a lot of articles and pieces of media floating around that can be really divisive. As I said in this piece, however, the enemy of the black man is *not* white people.

      “The white man is not your enemy. America is not your enemy. Your enemy is and always has been the system of oppression designed to make you think of yourself as lesser than ‘them’.”

      Yes, this was a system built by white people because when the country was founded, blacks were seen as property and not people. We don’t blame the white people of today for what’s going on. We’re just trying to get everyone to understand how it benefits whites more than it benefits blacks.

      Black men have been criminalized in American media and pop culture for a very long time. This post was not meant to divide, nor to point fingers at white people. This article is meant to be a love letter to men like my father, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and friends. A community that is braver, more resilient, and more valuable than people give them credit for.

      Anyways, thanks for commenting!

      Love always,
      Alex

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