Op-Ed: A Letter to My Sons

Dr. Joseph DeJames
Dr. Joseph DeJames

Letter to my sons …

As you face an uncertain future, just remember it’s rooted in a most certain past. Although hidden in plain sight, the truth is upon us hard and fast.

For European wars and mercantilism first created the schism which denied who you were and viewed you through a prism while the cross sought your baptism. Not a baptism seeking salvation but, rather justification of that Passage through the Middle … landing in the West Indies, named as such because the ‘discoverer’ was actually lost at sea.

You were brought here via that unholy trade because of decisions others made where the Caribs, Arawaks, and Taínos were becoming the stuff of lore – all because of Spain’s lust for the gold ore.

At the end of the gold, you were captured and sold to toil in the fields of cane – for the sugar of these Isles would travel for miles even to the cup of the Dane. Fortunes were made by those who stayed in the shade though they remained afraid of the midnight raid … where they may meet your Maroon blade.

Yet the history books seem to overlook the roles that you took … as if you were never really there. For after the abduction you were not a person, just a means of production … and produce indeed while you remained in need, at the whim of the overseer on his steed.

However, despite the whip and it’s crack and the blood on your back, you were not deterred by your plight … and from you came sounds that would be heard the world around, although only seen as three fifths of a white.

Where cotton was king, on the fields where you’d sing, once again you gave all you could offer. Your free toil brought many riches from the soil … once again, only to fill other’s coffers.

Then came Emancipation and all it’s proclamations where you thought you’d finally be equal. Until Jim Crow showed his true face … as slavery’s sequel. You were told you were ‘free’ yet burned black bodies hung from trees … as a sight for all to see.

White hoods in the night and “The Birth of a Nation” led the way to mass incarceration. Movements had begun to change your life’s lot … only to have Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin shot. Protests today are rooted in the past … change better hurry up and get here fast.

Yet still you remain despite the same refrain that leads to constant pain and disappointment. But do not despair for you are my heirs and will receive the anointment. For although through your veins flows the blood of the world, you are viewed as your hue and how your hair curls. You never chose to be born as objects of scorn … to hell with those who see you as less, for you are blessed despite all this mess just as the sun will rise in the new morn.