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  • Writer's pictureBEES

Black Identities - I am who I am. (Part Three)

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

21st Century Parents

How do I teach my children about their blackness in a world where acceptance is changing, but hasn’t changed enough for black people?

I feel that being a black parent is especially challenging as we have to prepare our children for all that is expected, whilst STILL having to explain that it may be a little harder for them as they will have to face some additional challenges due to the colour of their skin. 

At 12, my son just wants to be free to be himself, not a black boy, just a boy. Sometimes I feel like I am having to teach him about the unfairness of the world as we are constantly having to explain the microaggressions to him to help him understand the black interpretation of how teachers and people in power treat him based on our experience, there is such an innocence to him. 

Growing Child

While talking with my 15-year-old daughter, she said that she felt that race was not an issue when she was little, because she never noticed it, but as she has got older, she has become more aware of the differences in her mindset and how people treat her.  

She talked about “Code Switching”.  She is lucky enough to go to a school where the demographic of children is predominantly Black children, followed by Asian with White children being the minority, but she identified that she often has to code switch with her teachers as they do not always understand the way the children talk to each to other and they will often challenge how they behave with each other.  She explained that code switching is necessary as White is still deemed superior. In that moment when she was explaining this to me it made me wonder how far have we really come if this is the narrative of my 15-year-old. 

Have I failed at teaching my child to be unapologetically herself, where she should feel totally free to be herself no matter who she is talking/interacting with? As black parents we have more to think about and a duty to teach our children how to manage themselves in a way that helps them to not compromise themselves while navigating this world. 

We just need to teach them to love themselves! There is nothing that they or any other black person can do about their blackness, so love yourself and those around you wholeheartedly. 

Forward Movement

I am all for breaking generational cycles, but this is not one that I can do by myself or with just my family alone. 

There is very little I can do to change the minds of people that are not in my home or family, that is their journey. 

Honey jar

We have to talk a lot to our children! Often having to bring it down to their level, but more recently as they get older, having to give the frankest version of events. 

I’d love a future where black people are truly free to be who they want to be, and to no longer ask questions like ‘Is it because I am black’. 

We still have a long way to go.  

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