Dear Black Boy,
You are loved.
It may be hard to understand why your hoodie, locs, or braids scare people.
And gets old watching people tense up when you walk past them on the street.
- Tiring that the bass of your voice is seen as a threat no matter what words come out of your mouth
- Wrong that you get sent to the guidance office for talking out of turn, while your White peers are given a stern warning
- Wack that your style, slang and swag are monetized in commercials, but you’re given a lecture in the halls and by the media for being you
- Confusing that toxic masculinity is forced upon you as both something to be proud of and something to be feared for
- A disservice that your antics are labeled behavioral issues while your White peers are “immature,” “just being boys,” or “troubled” enough to be offered help
- Infuriating when you’re gunned down
- Despicable when those we trust to raise you up, use you for ill
You don’t have to be what people think they see. And what you do as a child isn’t who you are forever, no matter how many people try to make you believe it.
We see you.
You are loved.
Keep your head up!
“Until you’ve shared
my tears, known my fears, in all my years
Only till then, you only know what you think you know”
“Until” – Raheem Devaughn
Paula Chase is the author of the critically acclaimed, So Done. The companion novel, Dough Boys, is a call to see the humanity of young Black males. Chase is the author of seven kidlit novels – a five-book YA series and two books for middle schoolers. She is also the co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf, a website dedicated to highlighting Black kidlit authors under the public’s radar.