A Letter to My Future Black Baby
Future Black Baby —
Hello to you and yours! I’m your future black mother, and you’re my future black bundle of joy. (Actually, I have no idea if you’ll be black. My current partner is white, and things are going swimmingly, so you might be beige. Also, maybe you won’t be so joyful. You might be a miserable mung bean of a baby). I know that neither of us exist yet, but I thought, “why wait for material cause?” Well, ha-ha, I have more material cause than you currently have, but guess what? I’ll have a lot more things because I’ll be an adult and you’ll be a baby.
We’re not even close to being a family, but it’s important that we start pretending now. The future is going to be a stressful place full of loud Regis Philbin clones, so we need all the preparation we can afford. I need all the preparation I can afford. Your welfare and Afro-centric wellness are at the top of my to-do-later-in-the-future list.
Some of your needs I can’t predict, but some of them I can. For example, your name. As much as I’ll enjoy calling you The Blackest (Beigest) Baby Alive, you’ll need a name that will impress people. Most parents in the future will waive the right to name their offspring, which means children will choose their own names. But… I don’t know, is this a risk you’re willing to incur? Because you don’t (can’t, won’t) speak English very well, and you’re not very well-read. Your pool of human names will be shallow, but my pool runs deep.
I’d really like to name you something like Baby 3000 (like André 3000, but a baby), or The Thinnest Baby, or DVD Blu-Baby, or The iBaby Touch, or AT&Baby, or The Micro Baby, or The Macro Baby, or Harriet, or Babyface, or Alive Baby, or The Realest Baby Alive, or Real Live Babies (if you’re a set of twins), or Extremist Baby, or Justin Timberbaby, or Dr. Baby, or Machine Gun Baby, or Ghost Baby. Maybe even Tyler, The Baby, or The Best Baby, or Baby Luther King, Jr., or DMXBABY. Etcetera.
I’m more than prepared to name you, but can I be real? Okay, this is me being real: I’m not prepared to comb your hair. Honestly, there’s no telling what it’ll look like. Not only are you a black (or beige) baby, you’re a black (beige) baby from the future! This could mean a number of things. Most of them are terrible:
a) You’re born with a sew-in, synthetic weave.
b) Through case-based reasoning, you’ve perfected the Jheri curl.
c) Your weave is bionic.
d) Your Jheri curl is bionic.
All of these things could happen. None of these things could happen. A startling combination of these things (namely items b and d) could happen. Whatever happens, I promise you that my partner and I will learn how to braid your hair, even if you accidentally short circuit, and electrically burn our fingertips.
On a related note: Are you a robot? It’s okay if you are, but we need to know.
I promise to hold off on the slave narratives, but I really hope you enjoy magical realism, because it will make up the majority of your bedtime reading.
On an unrelated note: Do you know how to do the Cupid Shuffle? It’s okay if you don’t, but we need to know.
Now, assuming we time this pregnancy correctly, you shouldn’t have to worry about BET. Before you’re born, Spike Lee and Dr. Boyce Watkins will lead a media coup that will unseat BET founder and autocrat Robert L. Johnson. In the following year, Lee and Watkins will launch a network recovery program titled “Black to Basics: A Return to Healthy Black Programming.” Tyler Perry will undergo gender reassignment surgery, and he will emerge as their first success story (don’t ask me how I know this, just accept that I know this).
Future Baby, I hope you know that I will love you. I will support your artistic hustle, I will encourage your academic grind, I will protect your culture, and I will breastfeed you to the best of my ability.
I promise, you will survive in America.
— Your Future Black Mother
Eudora Peterson is a comedian without child.