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Raising A Black Child In America Today

Although I’m not a mother yet, I’ll always remember hearing certain phrases over and over again when I was little. “Always ask for a receipt and a shopping bag when you leave a store, even if you’re just getting a pack of gum. Be prepared to work 10x harder in life just to get ahead…” the list goes on and on. While I was just a little girl at the time, those words stayed with me throughout my childhood and now as an adult, they finally make sense. These words were important because they were helping me understand how to be black in America, before I even understood what being black in America meant.

 

I can only imagine the hesitation a parent feels when having to explain to their black son or daughter that as they grow older, their presence might make some people feel uncomfortable, while still helping them understand how valuable they are to society. Those conversations will need to include that although you may be a good kid, you might “fit a description”, and here’s how to react when you do. That sometimes, you might get pulled over just for being brown, without any rhyme or reason. It’s unfortunate that in a black household, conversations about the “birds and the bees” will sometimes have to be coupled with how to deal with racism. And while we can try to pretend that racism doesn’t exist anymore, the sad truth is that it does, no matter how sensitive or taboo the topic may be.

 

I can only imagine the disappoint a black mother must feel when her child comes home crying because their classmate(s) made fun of their hair or skin color. The hesitation of telling her son that his behavior will always be seen as more disruptive at school because he’s brown. That if they are playing with a toy gun in a park, they will more than likely be seen as an adult with a pistol rather than a child with a toy. I can only imagine the fear a mother must feel when their children aren’t in their grasp.

 

While raising a black child in America today will have it’s challenges, it’s those challenges that make black children grow up to be strong, smart, and confident adults. We’ve successfully been able to overcome obstacles when the odds were stacked against us and prove to the world that we truly can be anything we want to be. Sure we might have to work ten times harder than our counterparts, but that notion of hard work and dedication that was instilled in us as such a young age is what makes us who we are today.

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