Learn Your Lesson, Khalifa

Dear Kalifa,
I’m writing to you as a big sister, as someone who has faced similar reactions to this crown we carry on our heads.
You have a light in your eyes and a promise in your smile that I hope these stiff-necked fools that run our country will never put out. I see your face in the newspapers and all I can think is, what a hateful, stupid society we live in.
You understand now why so many children your age and younger are being drawn into criminal activity?
Because we obviously don’t believe in our young people. We haven’t figured out that giving our children a chance to prove themselves is important. Sr Adrianna took one look at you and made a value judgment, in a way that is shockingly un-Christian.
I wonder if she ever turned away a child with a weave? If she ever thought that an 11-year-old with straightened hair was less likely to have a positive self-image than a girl of her age with natural hair.
Imagine that. God made you so perfect. In her own image and likeness God created you and here come these adults to tell you that something about you is not right.
It’s a kind of heights in a way. She expressed fears of you being indisciplined as if your hair being in its natural state was such a total and complete rejection of everything institutionalised religion has come to stand for.
Perhaps it is a kind of backhanded compliment that she is intimidated by your locks. That they said to her “no.” Which is not a word people like to hear in a “yes massa” setting.
Still, I want to apologise to you on behalf of all the adults who burden innocent children with all their many hang-ups.
Maybe when they were small, nobody told them they were beautiful and blessed.
I don’t want to just give you empty words. I want you to know that there are those of us who are ashamed but not surprised that in the 21st century people can be so backward thinking.
That we could be an independent republic but our Attorney General could have no qualms about saying that private institutions have a right to discriminate.
It’s more bitter than aloes to swallow. That you can be the most articulate, the most intelligent, the most respectful and people will still see you as a dutty, stinkin’ Rasta.
I urge you not to be disheartened. I’m sending you all the positive vibrations that you make the most of this.
Better you get it now, yes sistren. Better you learn at this crucial stage in your life when your other peers are going through their rite of passage of getting the kinks straightened out, just as they are coming into their sense of beauty. Better you have a grounding in who you really are and how you can only believe in yourself because if you had to depend on any of those stiff-necked fools you would die waiting.
Better you understand that people’s minds are still closed to anything that is not their narrow, limited view of what is normal.
If anything your locks are a symbol of commitment. A statement that you, guided by your mother, remain unshaken by trends.
You are still young and every day is a new experience. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and create. The only rule you need to know is that there are no rules. They’re all just making it up as they go along.
Learn this lesson now. Learn that this society is dishonest about its unity. Learn that we are fragmented and confused and led by people who say one thing about celebrating difference and do another by setting standards of what is normal and acceptable.
Learn now that religion defies God in so many ways. Religion distorts the message and the messenger. This God that Sr Adrianna serves must be a dotish one that creates beings that he does not love; gives them the choice to be but then condemns them for being the wrong thing.
Do not see it as a misfortune that you live in a society where people do not want to accept your difference.
That is the universe telling you that you are in the right place and the right time to make people change their minds.
That school, this education system, this entire society has done a disservice to you, Kalifa. I want to apologise to you since the ones who should say sorry probably never will.
Get what you have to get now out of this here Babylonian system that is in power now. Be in it but not of it. Understand how it works, arm yourself with information and most of all stay focused.
Because you know now that you have a role to play in making sure it falls.

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