As parents we have a list of things we want to make sure our kids have some knowledge of and if you’re anything like me, you may have lost sleep over it.
Tying shoes, closing Ziplock bags, packing lunch for school
Perfecting that toilet bowl aim
Now I know these things are a work in progress and the toilet thing will be a problem for their future wives I’m sure, but I’ll keep working on them and hope something sets in!
Last month I sat down and podcasted with my oldest son about Martin Luther King Jr day; the struggle to explain social injustice, civil rights, and evil in the world to a biracial six-year-old is real.
How do we explain the ugly, but necessary historic mistakes and tragedies to our kids without them gaining a poor opinion of humanity in general?
My own experiences with racism are why I oppose anyone saying who can and can’t be a citizen here. You ever get told to go ‘back to Africa?’
Homie, I ain’t ever been there. I’ve been to Deutschland before, Texas, and Kiefer, Oklahoma. You want me to go back to one of those? And why, exactly? Am I infringing on your MAGA rights? I won’t even go into that but I will ask you, how great are we if our country is divided over the treatment of minorities seeking asylum from a harsh environment? How fantastic are we if we have the deaths of children under our belts after tossing them face first into facilities based on the fact that their parents came here illegally?
Explaining Black History Month to your biracial six-year-old. Parents, what parts of our history do you think are essential for your children to know, and why? What things do you plan to omit or save for school, and how do you explain to your children that despite the evil and oppression in the world people are out there fighting for equal rights for all? How do you explain to them that we are in another pivotal season as a country socially, and our behavior towards others can define us many years down the road? How are you explaining peaceful protest to your strong-willed kid?
Take the guy whose yearbook published him in blackface next to a Klansman in costume in the 80’s. As a person who genuinely enjoys offensive comedy and has for years I found it hilarious that he can’t seem to remember if one of the dudes in the picture was actually him or not.
Lemme tell you a personal story: In 1999 or 2000, my best friend and I decided to be each other for Halloween. Sweet idea, huh? The sweetest ever. Best homie from third grade calls me the night before school and says, aye, I’m coming over first thing in the morning and we are gonna paint ourselves to be each other. I was gung-ho. Totally down. The thing is, I was literally one of the only black students in my high school. So ol girl shows up with dark brown paint, and white paint and in my upstairs bathroom we proceed to paint each other. We didn’t choose flesh-toned white, we chose eggshell wall white. We all know my skin is the color of a smooth delicious caramel, but Tates was the color of tree bark.
That’s right, friends. I went to school in whiteface.
And I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING
We thought it was hilarious, and nobody even tried to stop us.
So, if I was in whiteface, my homegirl that I’d known since I was eight, played ball with until I was eighteen went in blackface.
I’m not completely sure, but we won a contest- I do know that picture of us is in our yearbook, so if I ever run for office I better go ahead and drop this disclaimer below:
Y’all. WE DIDN’T KNOW.
WE HAD NO IDEA.
I didn’t find out until later on in the day that what we did was technically wrong and my mom sat me down and gave me a teachable moment about why painting your skin to be another color is offensive. I was that many days old when I found out the black painted jockeys and pickaninny decor some of y’all have in your yards are offensive.
So I tell that story for this reason; as parents when do we start explaining to our children the reason behind things being socially unacceptable?
When I see this dude, this college student in blackface next to a person in costume known for murder and such it makes me wonder, what did he know or not know about what he was doing?
We were seventeen or eighteen, this dude was a grown ass man doing medical student stuff. It’s obvious that no adult in his life sat him and down and was like, bro…. Unacceptable.
But… It was the 80s back when gays, all races, women, and children were free game. Everybody has their own boundaries as to what’s actually funny, right?
I still can’t laugh. I don’t even think it was funny when I did it now, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know till then but how much can you expect a teenage girl surrounded by white people every day to know what is and isn’t racially acceptable. My home was “black world”, and once I stepped outside I was in “white world” and that is a completely different story to address. All I can really say is that in our situation we were dressed to be each other. She wasn’t going as some black kid, she was going as her best friend Shannon. We weren’t making a joke of who we were, we were celebrating each other and we got real extra with it.
We also didn’t call in one of our friends in to dress in their Paw Paw’s robes for the event.
So don’t we think that in order for stuff like this to not happen we should make our children knowledgeable of some parts in our history in hopes of inciting more empathy and compassion in them?
Cause our kids are gonna bring shame upon our family in some way regardless; trust me when I say you don’t want it to be because they think racism is funny.
So for Black History Month I’m going to attempt a tiny series featuring my little dude, and any parent and child interested in being part of the podcast. We literally have 12 days left of February so we better get started!
Message me if you’re interested in being part of our Black History Month podcast minis, starring my little dude!