How? by Delina Hill-Brooker

How

 

How do you talk to your children about racism and Black History? How do you talk to them about certain stories in The Bible? All of the biblical stories are not “feel good” stories. The story of the crucifixion is a horrible and graphic story. I remember hearing and learning about it as a child, and I don’t remember feeling a certain type of way about it, but I can’t remember if I learned it in steps or not. Even coming from a “proud” African American family, I can’t remember learning any Black History from my own family, what I do remember is learning it at school, from a white teacher, and feeling embarrassed that I didn’t know and that she was the one that was telling me.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t too interested in Black History, or any History in general until about five years ago. I am ashamed and astonished at how little I learned and knew. I’m sure that my children know more than I did at my age about Black History, but I still don’t think that they know enough. Is there a line where you over expose them to things? Ram it down their throat, make them militant? That’s not what I want, but I want them to be well aware.

I think that I have sheltered them, because I didn’t want them to feel like they weren’t playing on an equal playing field, but I also know and understand that in order to get to where you are trying to go, you have to know where you’ve been. And unfortunately we are not on an equal playing field, and they need to know why and understand why they have to work harder to have the same things as others.

I’m sure that my children know more than I am aware that they know about life in general. In today’s society, no matter how hard we try we can’t shield them from everything. With the topics of religion and race, I’d rather focus on the ways that we are alike verses different.

How do we de-program (on all sides) what has been embedded in us for so many centuries? How do we begin the conversations? How can we empower our children, while informing them? Am I being too sensitive? I’m asking because I don’t have the answers. I know that there is no perfect parent and more than one solution, but I think that it is something that needs to be talked about, not only with my children, but with all.

It’s a shame that we can’t simply teach our children how to love everyone and treat everyone with dignity and respect, because again, you have to know your history and where you come from in order to fully understand why things were, and are the way they are.

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