EB is all of 4 years old and I knew we’d be tackling the conversation of race, appearance and her identity early on. How did I know?
Um, because I’m a Black woman who was once a little Black girl. I was a Black girl who went to mostly White schools and well as mostly Black schools. I’ve had a slew of experiences that helped shape me as it relates to race. I’m grateful for these experiences but can I be real?
In some ways, I hate that I had to deal with them.
Why does a 5-year old have to explain her hair to White kids?
Why does a 10-year old have to explain why she talks “White” to Black kids?
Why does a 17-year old get questioned by church members on why she decided not to go to a Historically Black College or University?
The reality is this – if you’re anything other than White in America, you’re going to get some questions about your race. They’ll come from people who look like you and from people who don’t look like you.
And these questions will start just years after you’ve entered this world.
Because of this, I’m trying my hardest to equip my kids with an enormous amount of self-love and self-appreciation. And I really don’t care what anyone thinks about.
You mad that I only buy my kids black dolls? So.
You mad that my daughter walks around with a headwrap? So.
You don’t understand those thingies in her braids? So.
You annoyed that you don’t understand the slang on her shirt? So.
You get offended when my kid wears a shirt highlighting her melanin? So.
You get put off when you see me rock a Black Girl Magic shirt? So.
You think I do the most when I volunteer to read books written by Black authors to my kids’ classes? I don’t care.
I HAVE to do this. Helping my kids recognize and be proud of their Blackness equips them with the confidence that they’ll need to defend themselves when people ask questions. I didn’t gain this kind of confidence until I was well into my 20s and by then I had to undo a ton of self-loathing.
And can we talk about how pro-Black doesn’t mean anti-EVERYTHING ELSE? Why do people think this? Why can’t they see that my desire and necessity to focus on pro-Blackness is because of the lack of representation in…everything?
Is it possible to teach kids to love themselves while also respecting everyone else? YES.
So keep that in mind the next time you see my kid rockin’ her melanin ABC tee.
It’s not about you.
It’s about HER.
FTC Disclosure: We purchased everything but the head wrap which was sent to us for review.