Being Black Is My Greatest Blessing

Updated: Jun 19

“Pursue your dreams,” my mom said five years ago. “Above all, trust God.”

The living room is bear much like the rest of my mom’s house. The last furniture is sold.  The money—every nickel and dime that was either earned or borrowed—goes from mom’s hand directly to mine. 

“Pursue your dreams,” my mom said five years ago. “Above all, trust God.” 

I left her. I left other family members and friends, too. “When will we see each other again?”  The question remained open-ended.  I left Haiti, the only home I knew. I left for the United States.  

This was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but I was compelled by a greater vision.  

In the United States, it was common for someone that I’d met for the first time to call me “the Black Haitian kid.” Thank you for seeing me: Yes, I’m Black (with a big smile). Thanks for recognizing the beautiful country I’m from.

It was annoying, however, to be called “the Black Haitian kid” by someone I already knew. Now that we’ve already met (a few times I might add) will you call me by my name? By the way, I’m 21. So technically, I’m not a kid.  I’m a man.    

I came to Utah where Blacks makeup less than 2 percent of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

I was asked, what felt like a million times, “what the heck are you sayingI’ll repeat myself.  Like you said, I have a thick accent. I hope we can chat and connect.

Any hopes for communal dialogue was made sacrilege through people’s sneers, laughs, and imitations of my accent. I felt hurt. Potential connections failed. I remained alone.  

I observed immediate mistrust from others.  I had reached out to people. Yet, I was cut off in mid-sentence. “Hi, my name is—” There was a bit of hesitation.  

I extended my hand out—I saw my black skin, the ebony that swathed the very hands that built the Americas— again and again and again, until…

Connections solidified. Cross-racial friendships grew. 

“Will you marry me?” 

“Of course,” said the love of my life. 

An inter-racial marriage was formed. Three multiracial children followed.  I was no longer alone.  

These blessings struggled and broke through the burden of stony ground. 

“Can you count the stars?” asked God to man. So are my innumerable blessings. Chief among them is my being born black, a powerful Black man whose knee sits on the collective necks of racist systems until hegemony can no longer breathe.

The greatest blessing of being Black is in itself the fountainhead from which all other blessings rise and fall into my life:

  • The unity of Black brothas. This, in turn, moves us to  ‘electrify’ and invest into the Black community.  These are the very same outcomes that scared the FBI during J. Edgar Hoover’s administration.  

  • Empathy, a trait we experientially learned and freely exercise for any marginalized group throughout the world.  

  • Black excellence in art that serves as a force for racial integration: from Jazz music to dance moves rooted in Black culture. 

  • Black excellence in all domains and academia, the proliferative fruits of descendants whose roots trace back to Africa, the origin of science, math and engineering. 

These are only a few of the blessings that are like the alluvium of Togo’s Mono River Delta. Its natural paradise cradles my humanity.  Below the watery surface, is the preservation of everything good and dignified that slavery tried to erode away. At the mouth, comes my future—rushing, mighty, unalterable.

Authors : Williamson Sintyl & JenJen Francis

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