A letter to my son….

The Teenage Twitter sex scandal is still on my mind.  While I appreciate (most of) the men who have taken time to speak to the young woman about life and love.  Who’s talking you the young men?  As the mother of a boy, I wonder what I would say if my child was a willing participant in that kind of activity…..

Dear Son,

I always imagined your name would be on the lips of millions; although I hoped it would be to sing your praises, to celebrate your accomplishments, to extol you as a leader of men.  What I dared not imagine is that you would be best known as an accomplice in the humiliation and degradation of a young woman.

Son, I cry.

I have failed you.  Your father has failed you.  Society has failed you.

Despite my best attempts to provide you with what you need to survive: food, clothing and shelter, I could not provide you with an example of what real a man looks like.  While I have always been careful not to speak ill of your father, times like this call for the truth.  Your father knows not what he does.  His role models were the lowest of men.  Me who believed the number of women they conquered was the only measure of their value as human beings.  This false sense of worth, which is really worthlessness disguised, was passed on to your father, and clearly has been passed down to you.    Only God knows if there’s hope for him, but I know there is hope for you and I believe that you still have a chance to buck the stereotypes and prove to the world that a black man’s value should be determined by the size of his intellect, his heart and his contributions to the world.  But, it’s going to take work, and if no one else is interested in showing you how, I will.  My dear son, this is a matter of life and death.

First, You must apologize to that young lady, publicly.  Then apologize to your sisters, your grandmother, aunts, and to me.  And even apologize to your future daughters.  It is promised that your children will one day feel the burden of your actions.  I know you’re young and raising children is the furthest thing from your mind, but one day you’ll see.  One way or another, a real man has to take responsibility for his actions.

Get new friends.  Anyone who would encourage you to risk your reputation and possibly your freedom is not your friend.  Don’t fall victim to other people’s opinions of you.  A real man is a leader

Respect yourself.  Despite what your (former) friends may say, allowing yourself to be associated with this kind of activity shows you have absolutely no respect for yourself as an intelligent, decent human being. Real men respect themselves so they can respect others.

You’re lucky my dear, you still have time to repent.  You have time to prove everyone who assumes you’re nothing but a hyper sexual, irresponsible, stupid, monster of a future black man wrong.  You have a chance to prove that despite your mistakes, you can rise above them and right your wrongs.  You have people who believe in you and will continue to teach you, but only for so long.  At some point you will be out there on your own, forced to fend for yourself.   Unfortunately, you won’t always get a second chance, so don’t waste this one.  He who knows better does better – so do better my love, do better.

I love you.


Shawna Renee is the host of Cocoa Mode on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a health and wellness coach.  Twitter: @cocoamode       Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cocoamode


Add yours →

  1. Hi Shawana I love your show. I listen to you all the time. You are one fine sister

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I wish I could see this as a NYT or WP op-ed.

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