REPRINT FROM THE FRESH EXPRESS, SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
Do you know that you are handsome, brilliant and powerful beyond measure?Â My dream for you is that you will grow to possess incontrovertible knowledge of your beauty, intelligence and infinite potential.Â I pray that you will come to see your dark skin and your coily crown as the physical manifestations of your ties to the proud and resilient African Diaspora.Â Most of all, I hope that you will love yourself and in loving yourself you will love and be good to all others, including black women and girls.
My love, I am writing to you because Iâ€™ve felt sickened by the actions of hatred perpetrated by some black men and boys against black women and girls.Â The obvious crimes against humanity in Dunbar and Cleveland left me asking whether the male perpetrators were monsters or men.Â But this brewing hatred or lack of love for black women also manifests in more subtle and seemingly innocuous ways.
Certain successful hip hop artists are producing the soundtrack for misogyny as they reduce black women to mere sexual objects despite the fact that they are intimately aware of black women as mothers, sisters, teachers, care-takers, professionals and friends as well as lovers.Â Some of black Americaâ€™s most prominent men in media consistently glorify non-black women and women who look non-black, excluding women with the hues and hair textures of their own mothers from the images theyâ€™ve employed to represent beauty.Â Meanwhile, it has become almost commonplace for some black men to regard black women as unworthy of what sister Carmen calls â€œthe most basic contemporary sexual decency of wearing a condomâ€ and certainly undeserving of commitment, before God and men, to love and cherish a woman until death.
I am under no illusions.Â I sincerely believe the Dunbar black men who brutally gang-raped a 35 year-old black mother, forced her to have sex with her own son, and poured alcohol, nail polish remover, and ammonia on the her to destroy evidence were once lovely giggling babies like you.Â The eighteen black teen boys and men who violently gang raped an 11 year-old brown girl in Cleveland once lovingly nestled in their mothersâ€™ bosoms for both nutrients and nurturing.
The hip hop artists who religiously rap about black women as bitches and hoes deserving nothing but sexual domination were once toddlers and their first words for black women were mama and nana.Â The now wealthy media moguls who believe that only mixed-race black women or non-black women deserve to be images of desirability once looked up adoringly at their dark mothersâ€™ faces.Â Finally, the black men who have five children by five baby mamas but have never once desired to make any of those black women their lawfully wedded wives were once loyal like you.Â They cried every weekday morning pleading for their black mothers not to go to work because no nanny or baby sitterâ€™s care could replace their motherâ€™s love.
My darling baby boy, I donâ€™t know what happens in between infancy and adolescence that has caused certain black men who were once loving black baby boys like you to turn against women who look like their own mothers.Â I donâ€™t know what childhood occurrence distinguishes those black men from the many black men like your father and uncles who choose to honor and respect all black women and to love, cherish, marry and procreate with only one. Could it be that certain black men are so myopic in vision that their love and loyalty can only extend to women who literally share 50% of the same genes as them?Â Could it be that those black men are so short-sighted that they do not see how their own actions feed a culture of hatred, lack of respect and lack of love towards their own mothers, sisters, and daughters.Â Could it be that those black men lack such love and respect generally that they have none to give?
I will always love you, respect you, protect you, fight for you and be the biggest fan of your existence.Â In my eyes, you are and will always be a magical miracle from the Almighty.Â I pray that in truly knowing that you are a miracle you will not feel in any shape or form tempted to prove your self-worth or manhood by harming others, especially women and girls.Â I pray that in knowing your own beauty that you will never exclude women who look like you from your images of desirability.Â Finally, I pray that in recognizing that you are worthy of being cherished and loved for as long as you live that you will commit to cherishing and loving someone, particularly the woman who bears your child.
About the author:
Ama Karikari-YawsonÂ attended Harvard undergrad and received her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her MBA from The Wharton School. she is practicing corporate law in New York City while living in Brooklyn with her toddler son and husband.