My dear sons:
I have raised you to be proud of who you are and where you come from. I have taught you to honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives just so you can live in a nice neighborhood and attend an ethnically diverse school. I have shown you how to carry yourselves in an environment where you, as my grandmother would say, are the only “fly in a pan of buttermilk.” I have even taught you to look out for and support your brothas and sistas.
Even though I’ve taught you this, I have a confession to make:
I am more comfortable with you hanging out with your White friends rather than your Black friends.
Now before you label your dad as being hypocritical or a sell out, please hear me out.
You see boys, your Caucasian friends come into our home and immediately say, “Hello Mr. Everett.” When I converse with them I find out they are college bound, attend church regularly, and participate in community service activities. A few of them have even traveled to third world countries on missions trips. I am quite impressed by their actions and future goals.
On the other hand your Black friends, not all but some, enter our home without removing their hats and their pants are sagging. I try to talk with them but their short one word answers and lack of eye contact tells me they really don’t want to engage in a conversation and it’s hard to trust them. When I ask about their future I get an “I don’t know yet” answer. Not to mention, whenever you guys seem to find trouble or disobey me and your mom, you’re with your Black friends.
So am I saying I want you sever ties with your Black friends? Absolutely not! I want you to remember the standards that I have set for you. I want you to bring out the best in everyone you meet. I want everyone to see the God in you. There are many of your friends who aren’t fortunate to live in a home with their mom and dad. Some of your friends never had anyone to challenge them to dream big. Some may have never learned simple things like respect for self and others.
So I’m challenging you to know how to separate good from bad. Let your friends know what you expect from them and what they should expect from you. Boys, this is a special responsibility I’m giving you. With this responsibility, you have the power to change lives for the better…and eventually change the world’s perception of we are…Black men.