Teachers nowadays love to teach about slavery and love even more to have students act out slave auctions such as having white children buy black children, having black children in chains, taking children to cotton fields, having racist questions on tests, among other things. They call this “teaching about slavery.” While I’ve never been taught in this way, they also love to leave a lot of the actual trauma, horror, evil, and downright diabolical things done during slavery out of the story. So, they basically teach around the truth and that’s fine for the children, who are too young. However, what about the teenagers, who need to know?
Well, as we’ve discovered… they leave out those terrible acts b/c they’re making an effort to cover up the guilt and shame white people feel for being the descendants of such horrible, hateful, evil, and abusive people. They love to say that racism doesn’t really exist and black people should get over it b/c it was a long time ago. However, they fail to realize the emotional, generational, psychological, mental, and physical impact that it still has on Black people, as a whole, and on individual families, today.
There are many things that are changing as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement and we all know that it’s long overdue. There are school name changes, statues are being torn down/beheaded, streets are being renamed, racist logos are being changed, and the whole world is looking at how important Black people really have been to this country. Slowly, but surely changes are being made.
So, my question becomes… what are you teaching your children about everything that is happening around them? How are you explaining what’s going on right now? Are you teaching them about their ancestors? Are you teaching them about substantial black historical figures? Are you watch documentaries with them and answering questions? Are you finding educational historical programs and facts to show them?
My nephew, who is 7 years old, went to see Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC a few weeks ago and they were holding a #BLM rally the same day. After viewing the lettering on the street, he went with his mom and brother to the rally. The speaker called my nephew up to the stage and asked him if he had anything to say. He said, “Black Lives Matter.” The speaker asked him to say it again. He said, “BLACK LIVES MATTER!!“
His mom said there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd after that. Of course, she was probably exaggerating, but still, it was a powerful moment. That’s something, my nephew, at 7 years old, will remember for the rest of his life. Now, I don’t know what he knows about racism or what his mom has been teaching him b/c I’m not always around him, but he knows how important his life is and he knows that his life matters. That’s what’s most important!
I just want to bring to your attention that our children are very observant and they are very smart. We can’t underestimate them b/c they are children. They do what they see their parents do b/c parents are their first teachers. So, when you react to a certain thing in a certain way, they will react the same way b/c they have watched you do it. Teach them about Black inventors, historical figures, loving their skin, colorism, etc.
We already know the schools won’t teach them in a way that will be best for them and they will remember your words better anyway. Most importantly b/c you took the time to talk to them and answer their questions about this very different and difficult part of life we’ve all had to experience, with love and patience. ❤