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  • Little black boys dream too...
  • Coleman G. Howard

Little black boys dream too...

As I write this, my heart is heavy because I have been following the story of the young man, Michael Brown, who was killed in the middle of the road, in the middle of the day, a few weeks ago in Ferguson, Missouri.

With today being the day of his funeral, I can’t help but to think about my baby boy who is also 18 years old and who started college on the same day Michael Brown was going to start college. I don’t know how to tell my son that he is more at risk because of the color of his skin but he his. I hate this is the world that he lives in, because you always want things to be better for your kids than they were for you.

About a year ago I was having a conversation with one of my friends/mentees, who just so happen to be from St. Louis, and I was talking to him about how important it is for kids to dream and to also believe and understand that those dreams are possible, no matter how crazy they may sound because God can make the impossible, possible. I was letting him know that even at the age of 42, I am the biggest dreamer in the world.

He told me he stopped dreaming at about 9 or 10 years old. I could not believe what I was hearing because one of my favorite games I would play with my kids when they were growing up was a game called, “if you could dream to be anything in the world, what would you be?”, the answers were so full of hope, so full of energy and so full of life because they had no clue that the skin they were given could potentially be and in some cases would be, a dream killer.

There was no way I was going to tell my little black boys that one of their dreams couldn’t become a reality because every other little boy believes that their dreams will become a reality, so why not the dreams of my little black boys? When my son was 5 years old, we were playing “if you could dream…”, I asked him the question and he said he wanted to be a school bus driver and an astronaut.

Then he asked if it was possible to be both. I told him of course you can be both. I explained to him that he could drive the school bus Monday thru Thursday and he could fly to outer space on Friday morning and come back on Sunday afternoon. The look on his face was a look that I will never forget.

He no longer wants to be either of those professions but I do know, on that day, he learned how to dream and that no dream is to big to dream. I really don’t know when our little black boys begin to get looked at differently but I do know, that it does happen. I want to remind everyone, that all little boys dream and even little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and being just like their dad, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and riding the school bus to kindergarten for their first day of school, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and playing pro basketball and hitting the winning shot, pro football and throwing the winning touchdown or pro baseball and hitting the winning home run, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and becoming a superhero and saving the world when they’re running around the house in a pair batman underoos, with a sock for a mask and a pillow case for a cape, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and becoming the star quarterback and the captain of the football team and marring the prettiest girl in the school, who just so happens to be the captain of the cheerleading team, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and going to college to get a good education so they can get a good job. Meeting friends that they will have for the rest of their life and if that thing doesn’t work out with the captain of the cheerleading team, in college is where little black boys dream about meeting their wife, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and becoming a firefighter to put out fires and safe people or a police officer to arrest the bad guys and make their neighborhood safe, because that’s what all little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and becoming a lawyer to help get people out of jail or a doctor to make their grandma feel better and to help sick people in their neighborhood, because that’s what little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

Little black boys dream about growing up and becoming an astronaut and going to outer space to walk on the moon, because that’s little boys do. Little black boys dream too.

I could go on and on about the things that little black boys dream about becoming when they’re growing up but it’s the things that they don’t grow up dreaming about becoming that is stealing their dreams away, one by one.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and having their beautiful black skin, be seen as anything but, beautiful black skin. Because little black boys dream about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and going to a school where the teachers are underpaid, the books are outdated, the ceilings are leaking and on top of all that, they still have to walk through a metal detector. Because little black boys dream about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up turning 16 and getting their drivers license so they can get stopped by the police every other day for driving a car that is too nice in a neighborhood that is too bad. Because little black boys dream about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and being more likely to drop out of high school than they are to graduate high school. Because little black boys are dreaming about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and being more likely to end up in a prison cell than they are to end up in a college classroom. Because little black boys are dreaming about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and being twice as likely to be unemployed as everyone else. Because little black boys are dream about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and becoming the boogie man and having everyone be afraid of them. Because little black boys are afraid of the boogie man too and little black boys dream about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and being gunned down when they are no longer little black boys, because little black boys are dreaming about everything except that.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and becoming Trayvon Martin, at least not the Trayvon Martin that George Zimmerman introduced to the world, but had the real Trayvon Martin been allowed to live out his dreams, maybe other little black boys would be growing up dreaming of becoming the next Trayvon Martain. Because from what I can tell, Trayvon Martin, was just like me when I was 17, just like my son when he was 17 and just like most other little black boys when they were 17, we liked skittles too.

Little black boys don’t dream about growing up and becoming Michael Brown, at least not the Michael Brown that Officer Wilson introduced to the world, but had the real Michael Brown been allowed to live out his dreams, maybe other little black boys would be growing up dreaming of becoming the next Michael Brown. Because from what I can tell, Michael Brown, was just like me when I was 18, just like my son who is 18 and just like most other little boys who are 18, we were excited about our first day of college too.

I am a dreamer so I can’t stop dreaming, even when I know some of my dreams may never come true, I dream. Right now I’m dreaming a dream that has been passed down from the boughs of the slave ship, to the auction block, to my great grandfather, to my grandfather, to my father, to me and now I’m passing it down to my son, and that’s the dream, that when he has a son, his son will truly have the opportunity to just be, a little black boy with dreams too. And even when he grows up to become, 6’3 and 285 lbs, please remember, that he’s still someone’s little black boy.

Dreams have the ability to change the world. Dreams don’t have an age. Dreams don’t have a gender. Dreams don’t have a race. Dreams don’t discriminate. For these reasons and so many more, is why, little black boys dream too.

Coleman G. Howard

  • Coleman G. Howard

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