This is not a fairy or fable. This isn’t one of my historical reference blogs or a post to honor someone. This is non-fiction. This blog is about living the facts of raising two young black men. My nephews, who are now the ages of 20 and 16. In particular the oldest who stands a little over 6’1″ with skin stained to the hue of blackberries.
This is about his dubious eyes when I tried to explain I needed to have a conversation about his skin tone and it had nothing to do with science or medicine. No, it wasn’t me fussing because he forgot to put lotion on his elbows again. It was about politics and its’ rapacious attachment to control. The greed of it all and the pretentious stare down the broad of your nose. The side of politics that tries to keep African Americans comfortably controlled to avoid another time span of collective awareness or us developing a community of critical thinkers. This conversation was to show him how living outside of himself will keep him hungry. How, breathing below his intuition will have him comfortable with eating from a blood stained hand that has slapped him repeatedly and then make him feel actuated to say, ‘thank you.’ “I know you’d rather be downstairs playing video games, but I need you to hear me out…’
He is not from my body but from my heart. He is from my desires of him never learning to believe his doubts. Every parents dream right? I keep safe in my heart the time he was being teased by his cousins about his name, Tajh Jelani, ‘Almighty Prince/Crown.’ I told him that with a name like that it was easier for God to find him. Surprisingly enough, that answer was satisfying. Or, it was enough to have him think about it. A few years later, his younger brother, Tariq Jamal, ‘Beautiful Morning Star’, asked me why I picked that name for him. Before I could answer, Tajh responded, “because God can find you quicker.” Tariq seemed to be soothed just as his brother had a few years earlier. And these are the stories of apples and cinnamon or trains and trucks I want to relate to my beloved nephews. But the fact is, even though they are protected by prayer on the sides and in back of them, something is waiting in front. And it is well oiled and camafloughed as justice. It has several names. Too many to name here! It is vile and fueled by emotion so I won’t give it a name to place it in vibration. But it is there to teach him about his place in society. And its’ teachings are wrong so ‘I need a few more minutes…’
‘You are feared. The fear is you will one day re-member your brilliance. You will re-member that fear does not exist in an abundant soul such as yours. You are second chance and from a lineage of dare and possibility. Your body is the prototype. Your skin is blessed. And the propaganda is grand enough to distract you to focus only on your physical so you dare not think about thinking. You are the tallest of your friends and the darkest of your friends and you will be sought first. You can be in the back seat with a seat belt on and a bible in your lap. Simply because of the way you look you will be the first to get down on the ground. And this will be confusing and offend you. You will be served your first taste of injustice. I need you to stay calm. I need you to give your winning face. You know the face you give when you are about to yell, “Uno!” We have no idea you are getting ready to win and you hide your emotion, this is called a poker face. I need you to give it. I need you to remember the officers name and what they are stopping you for. I need you to come home. I need you to believe me right now. This incident may be a reality for you one day. I need you to call me before you get in the car with a friend that has been drinking or smoking. Even if you are high or drunk yourself. This isn’t one of my stories. This talk may be as important if not equally important as the sex talk we had a couple of years ago. I hope you are listening.’
And I’m sure this was “the talk” given to:
Sean Bell*Eric Garner*your cousin*Trayvon Martin*Oscar Grant*your uncle*Michael Brown*Jordan Davis*your brother*Renisha McBride*your aunt*……..
Have you had “the talk” with your black child today?