BLACK, 12 TO 14 YEARS OLD MALE
Derrick’s birth was planned years before his mother and father got married. His name was decided upon in homeroom class between social studies and trigonometry. Had he been a girl he would have been Dianna Gayle. They dreamed and talked of raising moral, productive, well educated, America loving, God loving children. When Derrick Darnell was born, it was as though there should have been a star seen in the east. He was beautiful and perfect. He would be his mom and dad’s humble offering to the world. Willie Freeman’s dad left him and his mother when he was seventeen years old. Everyone believed he left for another woman, it was learned later that he left to be alone. The pressure of being a good father and husband became too much for him. Embarrassed that he could not make a substantial living to maintain an upper class lifestyle he folded. Willie pledged that he would always put God and his family first before any worldly aspirations. Derrick Darnell would be his proving ground of what could happen when a man has his priorities right. Willie saw America as an extension of his Christian principles. When he made the decision to join the army he saw this as an active demonstration of putting God first. Even though he left for his tour in Afghanistan shortly after Derrick Darnell was born, he knew that his service to his country would provide a tremendous and powerful model from which his young son could benefit. Willie knew that it takes two parents, a husband and a wife, a man and a woman together to raise a mentally and morally strong child to successful adulthood. He felt however, that he had selected a wife with such integrity and love for God that in the event something bad occurred, she could carry on the parenting mission. Well something bad did occur. Willie’s tank took a direct mortar attack and he was killed instantly. Derrick was too young to remember his dad, but Brenda, his mother kept his memory alive and vibrant. Derrick absolutely adored his mother. She was his best friend and she adored him right back. But then, puberty creeped in like a serpent in the garden, offering Derrick the exotic fruits of rap music, gangster lifestyle, hot girls who were eager to explore their sexual fantasies and a media that bestowed its blessings on the most debase expressions of life. While Derrick had not grabbed and bitten into the degenerate apple yet, its appeal was just beginning to bud. Brenda and Derrick had had long talks about these evils that would come soon to tempt him. Brenda would have faithful brothers from her church spend time with Derrick to provide a man’s point of view. Derrick was adamant in his pledge to his mother, the church fellowship and to himself that none of it would ever appeal to him, but charismatic allures invaded his happy world and he began to quietly question if his mom, dad and the church were as wise as he had always thought. He felt the growing draw of adulthood, though faintly at first. He needed to know what of these temptations were really God given tools to launch him into independent living and thinking and which were deceptions to keep him under their subjection.
Brenda also raised Derrick to be a mainstream American and not as a stifled minority. She promoted that only the productive, righteous and intelligent manifestations of people that shared his complexion was worthy to be esteemed as Black. Brenda resented the assertions that slang, immorality and victimhood characterized the Black race and she would have none of it. Derrick accepted dependence on family, but at the same time his dependence on his peers and the media was replacing the vestiges of true his family training. At the very least Derrick wanted to try these counter experiences to decide for himself which course he would take into adulthood.