My sweet Baby Bro,
Congratulations! We’re all gathering together this week to celebrate you and your achievements. Getting your Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Going on to rock the world with your knowledge. I’m so proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished.
It seems only yesterday that Mom and Dad told us you were going to be you. Dr. Sis and I were expecting a tiny person who would be named Amy Melissa, another A. M. H. for our collection. When the possibility of a male child came up, we requested a puppy instead. But thankfully, God gives us what we need rather than what we think we want. You came into our lives and completed a little trio beyond what we could have imagined.
Now, you’re graduating from college and moving off into the “real world,” whatever that means. (And yes, grad school is the “real world.”) I wish I could say that this world is better than it used to be, but sometimes I wonder.
This is still a world that seeks to discourage, denigrate, and destroy people like you, black men full of life and love and talent. This world will take one look at your powerful frame and chocolate skin and label you a “thug” or “monster,” little suspecting the brilliant, intuitive, and sensitive soul who lives inside.
I know we’ve taught you many ways to stay safe in this world, to protect your treasure. We laugh about it sometimes, when Dr. Sis and I pretend to be annoyed with you and you throw up your hands in surrender, crying with a smile, “Okay, okay. I got it. Don’t attack me!” We joke to cope because it’s better than the alternative—dealing with the full force of the realization, frustration, and fear that we live in a world full of Michael Browns, Tamir Rices, and Trayvon Martins, young black men much like you. Indeed, we shudder even more because we know it could happen anywhere; Trayvon was gunned down in a neighborhood less than 30 minutes from our parents’ home.
It’s okay to laugh, Baby Bro, to maintain your sanity as you maintain your survival. It’s okay to laugh as you rely on God’s protective grace to keep you safe and help you thrive in this nasty world. It’s okay to laugh because you know you are here to make it a better place.
As you go off to do your thing and live your dream, designing video games that tackle social justice issues, remember your worth. You are a treasure, Baby Bro. You’re a man in tech, which is an advantage for you, but you are black man in tech, so people will try to sell you short. Know your worth and be ready to demand what you deserve. Mom and Dad tell us this all the time, and I still struggle with it a lot, but do as I say, not as I do. You know the drill.
And wherever you go, whatever you do, know that Dr. Sis and I are here for you, proud of you, fiercely loving you. Cradle to the grave, Baby Bro.