The Education of Kevin Powell

Letter to a Young Man

By Kevin Powell, special to Utne Reader


I have read the very open and very fearless email you sent to me several times since it first arrived a few months ago. I know we have met in person, and had a good talk about life, about manhood; but something of your words on my computer has been shadowing me, whispering to me time and again that you deserve a greater response, that I need to give you the sort of exchange I wish an older man had had with me when I was in my very early 20s, as you are now.

I am humbled by your words, by your thoughts that I have somehow figured out this thing called manhood, that I am leading a movement to redefine how we men and boys see ourselves, this world, how we relate to women and girls on this earth. No, Sam, I do not have it figured out, not even close, nor am I leading any movement. I remain a very imperfect human being, a very imperfect man.

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