Charles Fox, Jr.
To My Unborn Son, with Love
Son, I wish I could tell you that the world you will be born into is all sunshine, equality, and opportunity. The truth is, simply by virtue of being a Black male in America, you will be confronted with the potential of peril over anything from playing the music you enjoy in your own car to just walking down the street with your friends. You will be at a greater risk of homicide, disproportionate incarceration, and so many other things that I sincerely hope you avoid. As I write this, in the wake of the events of Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis (all of which I will teach you about in greater detail later), and so many countless other tragedies that have befallen our people I feel the need to speak directly to you before you even enter the world.
My child, I know that you will be conceived in love. I imagine the bond that I currently share with your mother will be fortified by your arrival. You will be the physical embodiment of the passion we share for one another. When you are born, we will look at you with a sense of wonderment at the life we have created together. In that moment, as you coo and become acclimated to the world...my heart will sink a bit. From the moment you exit the tranquility and safety of your mother's life giving womb, you will have lost a piece of your innocence and in turn, we will no longer be able to protect you completely. As you grow from boy into man...we will worry. We will agonize over your first steps, your first day of school, your first romance, and so many other things.
As I stare into your young eyes, seeing the promise of life not yet lived and promise yet to be realized, my soul will tremble. I will recall images of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo and so many of the countless young black men who met their tragic ends at the hands of a world that fears and demonizes them. I'll agonize over something most folks take for granted: Sending their son out to play while he wears a hoodie to keep warm. For I know that your skin color, your features, your hair texture and all the things that make you who you are will be liabilities in a country that devalues young Black men as though they were devoid of basic humanity and innocence.
You will be asked to conform, capitulate, and assimilate. Stay strong, young king. You will be influenced by misguided men who resemble you to denigrate and disrespect women who could easily be your sister, cousin, mother or aunt. Stay the course, my son. Value yourself, value others, and value the world around you. Value yourself even when others don't. They often won't. I tell you these things because I love you. I have loved you since the first imaginative thought about you entered my head. I have loved you since I looked into your mother's eyes and envisioned her as the mother of my children. You will carry me inside you long after I am gone. For that reason, the finite amount of time we have on this Earth, I must implore you to see the bigger picture. Understand that you are a part of a larger struggle for equality and fairness in a world which often seems barren of these things. Press on, my son. Do so for the countless ancestors who never received a chance to live. Press on for those souls thrown overboard on slave ships into the ocean to those often misunderstood teens gunned down by the very forces tasked with protecting them. We need you...as you have needed your mother and I to provide for you, we need you to cultivate a legacy in our stead.
There is so much to share with you. There is so much to impart upon you as you begin your journey. Treat others with respect, always. The way you treat people should always reflect your ideals, not your mood at any given moment. Commitment and honor do not yield to the whims of emotion. Folks will try to build themselves up by tearing you down and you cannot allow them to. Always carry yourself with dignity and integrity. No matter what you do, some people will find a reason to dislike and fear you. Their hang-ups are not your concern. Try to focus on what you can control. There is so much more I want to tell you. I suppose I will wait until you manifest in the flesh to address you further. For now, all I can tell you is that as much as it will often seem that you are reviled for who you are, you are loved exponentially more so. I look forward to meeting you, my sweet baby boy. I love you. Peace and blessings be upon you.
© Copyright 2014, Charles Fox, Jr.
Past Articles by Charles Fox