In a world where the mother of a young man had to write a book named The Little Black Book: Survival Commandments for Black Men, we’d love to have a little boy. When we first started thinking about having a family I assumed we’d adopt a cute little Black boy. We’d teach him to wrestle and cook. He’d grow up traveling the world with us. He’d read about Queen Nzinga and always know about his heritage as a Black person on this ball of swirling gases and oceans. There was never any thought to having a girl.
When we began the formal adoption process we had to designate which genders we’d be open to. I never considered having a girl before. My heart began to think that having a little girl in the house, and family, might be nice. There are seven kids in our extended family and only one of them is a girl.
Then I read articles like this one and I start feeling like we need to have as many boys in our family as possible.
From the article:
Black men, especially those who look physically imposing, often have a tough time.
“Someone who is tall and muscular will learn to come into a meeting and sit down quickly,” she said. “They’re trying to lower the big barrier of resistance, one that’s fear-based and born of stereotypes.”
Having darker brown skin can erect another barrier. Mark Ferguson has worked on Wall Street for 20 years. He has an easy smile and firm, confident handshake.
“I think I clean up pretty well _ I dress well, I speak well _ but all that goes out the window when I show up at a meeting full of white men,” says Ferguson of New Jersey, who is 6-foot-4 and dark-skinned. “It’s because they’re afraid of me.”
He is one of these tall Black men. He’s about six foot three on a bad day (he tends to slouch so he appears shorter) and is relatively dark-skinned. We have been in hotels around the world and had non-Black people respond very negatively to him.
I am not a crier.
I generally feel like everyone can control their own destiny, to varying degrees, and that we should stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get up, get out and make it happen, but reading this article and thinking about the difficulties of being a Black person and a Black man specifically make me feel like crying.