A Letter To My Black Child Going To College In The USA

What I’d like you to know about staying safe

Hello friends,

As many of my friends see their kids go off to study abroad, there’s one topic that’s always top of mind: will our children be safe in countries known to be unsafe for Black people? Some have chosen to keep theirs close to home, while others have let them go with trepidation. In thinking about that, this letter came to mind. I didn’t write it when my own child first went, but we had these discussions.

My beloved Black child,

As I write this, I know that the clock is ticking on you going out into the world, and you’re going to the USA, a place that’s not known as a safe place for people who look like us. As you move through those predominantly white spaces, there are some things I want you to remember.

First, because I want you to come back in one piece, be wary of your dealings with law enforcement. It’s not just a few bad apples; the whole service grew out of being slavecatchers and there’s still a huge tendency among many to see Black people as criminal and to shoot first and ask questions later.

I don’t want you to be one of those statistics.

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