In 2013 my husband and I sat down and wrote a letter to our unborn son. It was fueled by the frustration and racial inequalities in our educational institutions, justice system, and media representation that reached a fever pitch after the death of Trayvon Martin. Here we are seven years later mourning the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Things seem to be getting worse.
Our son is now three years old and I am more fearful, angry, and disgusted by the lack of empathy, compassion, and courage from our government and local leaders. As an author, I wanted to share these words in hopes that they will one day become untrue and out of touch with America’s reality. Until then, please let our black boys know that their lives have value and that they are a child of God.
A Letter To My Unborn Son
by Dr. Anthony and Belinda Mays
To my future son,
Your life has value.
Despite what America feels, says, or does
You will always have your mother’s love.
Society will try and throw you out,
By lowering expectations and instilling doubt.
But just know that you are wonderfully made,
created by the same God as they.
They will fight against me terminating your entry into this hell,
But once you are here,
They place you on a fast track to jail
Or early grave.
You’ll be expected to fail,
Surprise people when you speak well,
Because the image of you has been defined and exploited,
By hypersensitive media and hip hop’s distorted
Views of what it means to be black.
Saggy pants and hat twisted back,
Ruthless thugs who hate women and love drugs,
Always up to no good shoot ‘em up HIV having thugs.
Uneducated lawless trash.
These are the lies they want you to believe,
And they’ve created systems to insure you see,
That your life is of very little value.
A dead dog warrants more jail time than your lifeless body,
They fear you so they kill you
Physically, Spiritually, Financially.
So, I will do my best to prepare you to fight.
I want you to value education,
So that you’ll recognize the injustices you’ll be facing.
Ignorance is still bliss,
And I want you my son to be pissed
When you’re disrespected, threatened, or dismissed.
I want you to be respectful and always aware,
That you can help redefine the images of black males that’s out there.
My son as you travel in this life there will be challenges at every turn.
Be prideful and always keep your crown held high as others wonder, stare and pass vile judgment.
As difficulties arise, it is important to stay physically agile, mentally nimble, and spiritually fit.
I ask myself will the world be any different upon your arrival.
Keep your eyes focused forward, mind sharp and avoid the cold box that awaits your first mistake.
Despite the statistics, tea-leaves, or fortunes told, your actions and wise
choices will dictate your faith.
A criminal among other things is what they will deem you. Your hue will be their fantasy, their fear, your curse and strength.
Be reflective and diligent as you grow to know society’s worst. Dispel all the worlds’ myths.
Your destiny will demand the discernment of our maker, courage of a lion, power of an elephant, and collective wisdom of our forefathers.
For you will be mistreated, abused, forgotten, disregarded, misused even by your own brother.
Within the throws of it all don’t fall to a common pathology but continue to love and fight.
Meeting every challenge that arises with spiritual vigor, intellectual prowess and physical might.
Labor intentionally and know that there are no weaknesses in your DNA, no shortage of chromosomes, no less.
Created in excellence, an imitation of God, divinity within, a regal figure.
You are not a nigger!
You are Powerful, Wise, and Confident.
You are God’s child,
Exceedingly and wonderfully blessed!