Everyday at work, I watch white people and their kids interact. They always give them words of encouragement; telling them they’re great, they’re doing a great job, explaining things to them. Even if they’re doing the most simplest things.
Then, I think about my parenting skills and those around me and even my moms parenting skills.
It’s totally different.
Just recently, I brought this conversation up with my homegirl, because we both have teenage boys.
BLACK teenage boys.
It’s obvious that white people and black people parent different.
Nowadays, I hear a lot of people in the black community comparing and making it seem like, black parenting is wrong and white parenting is the right way to parent.
I don’t think theres a right or wrong way to parent. Yes, in the black community kids get yelled at more, while in the white community (from what I’ve seen) parents tend to talk nicely to their children or even turn a blind eye when they’re doing something wrong.
I myself was starting to believe white parenting was right. We do need to start encouraging our children more for anything they do, be it big or small; stop yelling; push them out into the world and make them fearless.
But as I started thinking about these things, I realized that WE don’t have that luxury. Not that I haven’t always known this, but as I was thinking that we should try to turn a new leaf on parenting, even if we wanted to, even if we could…
It’s hard to come that realization as a parent of a young black boy. I want my son to have the confidence to accomplish anything, to break barriers, to want more, to speak up for himself, to not be afraid, to go anywhere or do anything, to be the best at every single thing he does.
But before he opens that door to conquer the world,
I’m afraid. Mainly for his life and also his mental health.
My son is 14 and I’m afraid for him to walk two blocks to his MMA class, and although we live in a very nice quiet neighborhood; there could be that one person who doesn’t think he belongs here or he might LOOK like someone they might be afraid of and his life could be in danger.
White kids don’t have to fear that someone might call the police on them, just because of how they look or someone don’t think they “belong” there.
I think as black parents, we fear for our kids so much nowadays, because stories of our young children being killed are becoming more common. We have to watch our backs against cops, people who think we don’t belong and worst of all… our own people. Sometimes we try to shield our kids so much, that I feel like we could possibly be hindering them from becoming GREAT, just because we fear for their lives.
When I reference metal health, I think about a snippet from J. Cole’s verse in his song “Friends”
“There’s all sorts of trauma from drama that children see
Type of shit that normally would call for therapy
But you know just how it go in our community
Keep that shit inside it don’t matter how hard it be…”
The more our children see injustices of people of their skin type, the more traumatizing life may be for them. One example that comes to mind is that little boy in Brooklyn that was in the bodega and the white lady accused him of touching her butt. If you watched the video, when the white woman said she was calling the cops and he saw her on the phone talking, the kid started crying hysterically. He thought he was going to jail, for something he didn’t do.
Our black boys have been taken away from their mothers INTENTIONALLY for over 100 years.
Will there ever be a time where we can release our black children out into the world without being fearful for their lives just because of the color of their skin?
*This post was short on purpose, I just wanted to open up a conversation that will be touched on again.