I’ve had this as a draft for a while now:
I’ve debated posting something about the Trayvon Martin verdict but it has been on my mind EVERY DAY for the last couple of weeks. Being the daughter of a black man, the niece and cousin of many black men and the sister of 2 young black boys has had this topic in my face for ALL of my life. Since becoming the mother of a black boy I think it became even more clear that I NEED to be aware of the cause and affects of blackness in America.
I am very grateful to be a part of a family that has always made it a MUST to be aware of our history and some of the current rediculousness that blacks continue to be confronted with in America (the land of opportunity where dreams come true). It seems as if it’s only on paper when it comes to equal access and opportunity. So many of us have had to deal with the systems that continue to force blacks to HAVE to work harder than nonblacks to be on the same playing fields. From the delivery room, to the classroom, to the work place and everywhere in between there is a battle to have access to what is available and of good quality.
Since becoming a mom, I have becoming a lot more aware of the importance of not just knowing my history BUT understanding and knowing how to pass it on. I have spent a lot of time reflecting these last couple of years and although I majored in African American studies as an undergrad student at Temple University (c/o 2005), I think it is now that I am actually READY to receive and absorb the information I was seeking then. I am often frustrated with myself for wasting time and not getting as much out of my readings as I am getting out of what I read today especially when it comes to the African people. I have admired many of my family members and peers who took a stand against many of the injustices that continue to marginalize our community. A lot of my reflection has lead me to wonder if I am doing my part for my people or if what I am doing is enough.
As I look at my son now, I begin to think of how I will instill many of the values that were once very strong in my community but are now hard to find. It is now up to me to help shape the direction we will go and I believe our history plays a huge role in that process. Not to mention being able to explain the history of my hubby’s country as well.
So I ask myself “HOW?!?!” How do I learn the REAL history of our people? How do I pass this on? How do I create an environment in my home that creates a hunger for the knowledge of this history? How do I find the right methods and channels to pass on what I learn in a way that will create stronger individuals who can continue the fight our ancestors started?
I am raising a black boy in a world with a lot of people expecting him to fail just because of that and I just can’t allow that to be a part of his equation. It is evident that in order for me to make him aware of his rights and responsibilities as a black male I must also be aware of the challenges that he will face. I don’t believe that fear should guide his life but an awareness of the reality of the world we live in. It’s extremely frustrating that this reality is as unfair and unjust as it is especially after all that has been done and continues to be done to fight it. Isn’t America supposed to be a “melting pot” for all nations and wouldn’t that make us all a part of the same community?
What are your thoughts? And how do you create a hunger for learning history for you children?