How To Raise A Black Boy

eric Jordan campbell


Does the juxtaposition of the words"Black” “Lives” &”Matter" make you upset?

Black bodies hanging from poplar trees; would you have wept?

When a black child is murdered by police,

Do you ask "why," or "why didn't he get on his knees"?

When armed shooters with lack of color

Are still allowed to see their mothers;

Black fathers taken from their children before birth;

Black children six feet beneath earth.


I remember asking Mom why I couldn't have a nerf gun.

I promised I wouldn't shoot at or hurt anyone.

Mom, it's cold; why can't I wear my hood at night?

It's not in my eyes—I promise I can see alright.

Danny and Nick are doing it, why can't I play ding-dong-ditch?

Jesus Christ, mom, stop being such a goddamn witch.

Always viewed my parents as overprotective;

Dad was a bit aggressive about keeping me sheltered…

All because they were trying to keep me alive.

I was never awarded my adolescence;

Coming home from school to added lessons.

Wasn't afforded the luxury of silly decisions

Because of others’ misinformed religions.

I never knew what it was like to be boisterous and careless;

My mother feared some cop would point at me and care less.

I could have amounted to merely words on a tombstone

Instead of you reading my thoughts, my words being known.

Now I understand why I wasn't allowed to make mistakes,

Seeing black victims’ juvenile crimes resurrected

All whilst the white shooter didn't get a court date.


I know now.

I know now that my life doesn't matter more than that of a deer:

"Is it hunting season on a niggas ass" wasn't a joke, but actually


Black bodies no longer hang on poplar trees;

Black bodies now lie in the streets.


Silence is empowering the other side,

So I no longer jail my tongue behind my teeth.



A 24-year-old poet from New York now residing in Atlanta, Eric Jordan Campbell speaks his truth to let others know they're not alone.