When I have parenting questions, I can walk into any bookstore and find an entire section perfectly organized to answer my questions. I even routinely use Google to help me answer questions about what to do with fevers or suspicious bumps. What I’m having difficulty in finding is content on how I’m supposed to raise MY children in a nation that just recently here in Fort Worth allowed a public servant to verbally harass and arrest an innocent citizen, or a nation that can scream and march “All Lives Matter” one day, and then turn their backs silently the next when the victim doesn’t match their “all lives” outcry.
My children are young, innocent, and believe that everyone is treated the same. I whole-heartily wish they could keep that positive view of the world, but I know sooner or later, that ideology will crash before them. They will realize that people will judge them based off what they see and not what they know. I wish I could help them understand that they will be placed into figurative boxes that stereotype them into being something that they are not. One of my biggest fears for my children is the fact that I KNOW they will face racial discrimination. This pains me because just like them, I once too thought that everyone was treated the same, until the white boys in my 3rd grade class called my Chinese best friend and I a “Chink” and a “Nigger.” We both didn’t know at the time the weight of their words, but we knew that is was wrong and in our youth instead of calling out the bigotry, we laughed it off and chased the boys around the playground, all while my white teachers looked on, knowing exactly what was happening to us. This is my first memory of public school, where I found out, that we are all not the same and a reality that I know my own children might have to face.
What do I tell my kids when they come home and say that they were called out of their name? If I tell them to fight, then my son comes across as the violent black man, and my daughter gets labeled as the angry black woman. If I tell them to ignore the slander, then my son will lose self-worth and bottle up anger which he will lash out in an unexpected way. My daughter will also suffer from pent up frustration, and battle self-esteem issues based off words. Now some people may say that I’m making assumptions, but this is my truth. I saw my brother fly off the handle because someone called him out of his name at school, which I’m aware was after he tried the ignore method a few times. I felt the low self-esteem throughout my school career because I felt like my skin wasn’t bright enough, or my hair wasn’t long and straight. Even though our parents raised us to love who we are, sometimes those words are not enough when you are asked by your white friends “why your hair doesn’t lay down?”
I honestly don’t know what to tell my children and that scares me because I know, no matter how much I speak positive truth to them and help them build their self-worth up, someone out there is going to attempt to knock them down and I can only hope that my words and my actions help keep them safe.
I defiantly have more to say…Part 2 to come tomorrow….