How do you accurately teach your children about racism?
Should Can you? Sorry if this hits a sore spot for some but it’s the unfortunate reality in many all Black American households. Whether we want to admit it or not, race bubbles at the surface of education, government, politics, sports, entertainment and, as of late, any other subset of everyday life. The issue of skin color could no more easily be removed from Cam Newton’s “dabbing” in the end zone and the open letter response it spurred from a mom to the Charlotte Observer than it could be from the over 365 days that have passed without a formal charge being brought against officer Timothy Loehmann for the death of 12-year-old Tamar Rice.
Race is the bone and invisible spine that runs through the arm of each instance telling us that a different skin tone would have yielded a different outcome.
We are just too bombarded on a day-to-day basis to pretend to “plead the 5th” on its effects; you can’t deny it. You aren’t allowed to. You can only acknowledge the varying degrees of its impact you’ve been witness to. If you’re reading this and saying, “I don’t see race at all,” I’m talking specifically to you and I ask: how do you teach YOUR children about this? I would like to take this time to make a clear distinction: if you don’t teach your children ABOUT racism you allow someone to teach it TO them. I am sure a few people have a plan of active ignorance as the best policy to combat the ideology so ingrained into our society. If it isn’t a problem in their household, it doesn’t affect them.
But it does.
You are always teaching, whether you know it or not. Your children are always watching what you say or do and how you interact with other people. So while you might not believe you have implicitly told your son or daughter about different races, you have. Your children will pick up on the queues you give them as well as the ones that society bombards them with, so your goal as a parent is to create stronger queues to follow.
One of my biggest challenges as a black father is knowing just how ugly the world is and the ultimate power it takes to shield my children from it. There is a delicate balance of knowledge and guilt in knowing it could be more damaging by letting them not see the ugliness. I often wonder if Sasha and Malia’s father grapples with this issue knowing how strong his shield can be. As a single father of twin African-American girls, I have adopted the philosophy that “it takes a village.” I don’t have a last name attached to the highest job in the land. I need the help of a collection of people in order to produce the environment I think my girls deserve to develop to their highest potential, I can’t do it alone.
[Warning: this is disturbing] Check out this video.
Now besides the woman’s vile and ignorant rant, there was an even more repulsive act transpiring in the background; the education of her children on how to interact with a person of color. Forever etched into their minds will be their mother calling this black man a n*****. She validated screaming profanities as a conducive way to display her dislike for — according to the video — starting his car. The lessons learned are how to convey anger when you are upset and how to do it when the object of that anger is a person of color. I can’t imagine this being the first time those children have seen their mother upset but by their quiet demeanor I would guess that even THEY knew it was embarrassing and “not quite right.”
Read the full article at Blavity.com.