1.) You are messing with your child’s identity as a Black person
I don’t know how many times I will have to say it, but if a Black person does it, then it is a thing Black people do. Reading comics, watching Star Trek, snowboarding, mountain climbing, spelunking, princess core, cosplaying, gaming, watching anime. We are into everything!
Secondly, this can cause your child to have a conflict with themselves and other Black people. Imagine your child is into things that maybe not a lot of Black people in your area are into. And they’re rejected by Black kids at their school, but also by YOU.
Their parent, who should support them in their endeavors even if it’s something, you aren’t into. But you’re not supportive, you’re no better than their bullies. And how can your kid tell you about being bullied, when you’re saying the same things the bullies are.
For some, the easiest thing to do in these situations is to reject their Blackness. Why hang out with Black people if all they are going to do is bully me, and try to force me to be someone I’m not. Some Black people I see who have very very few Black friends, often have histories of rejection by Black people. For being different than the status quo of Blackness where they were. Some are fine with calling themselves a “coon” for their beliefs and don’t really care if they have Black friends.
Now this isn’t everyone,but I’ve seen this,some people manage to make it through all of this ,mostly ok. Some stay away from all of us.
2.)Your child will never be themselves around you.
Seeing Black adults who grew through this being happy that they are free to do the “white things” they love without judgment, is the saddest and most angering thing I’ve heard this year. Your child hides a part of them when they are around you. Respecting your parents is one thing, but that’s different than them hiding their musical taste and their hobbies from you.
Hiding them because you’ll deny their Blackness if you see them. You’ll spoil every mood. So rather than be themselves. They put on a maks of your “Black normal”.They perform the type of Blackness that you want.
And you’ll never get to know your child. Because they can’t trust that you’re a safe place, that they can just be themselves.
They shuck and jive for you because that’s what you said you wanted. Right?
3.) They might just choose to not be around you.
Some Black adults may fake themselves around their parents. But you have to understand some won’t. They aren’t going to pretend for you. They just aren’t going to deal with you.
And you may ask yourselves, why you don’t see them a lot…
Especially if they have children because they aren’t going to take the chance that you’ll reject their child’s Blackness. They are raising strong Black kids to be independent and to love their culture. Who will also be unapologetically themselves.
And they know the only thing you offer their child is a binding box.
I’ve seen Black adults who had a deal with their parents questioning their Blackness their whole life, and it’s heartbreaking. I was lucky. My mom didn’t get me, but she NEVER questioned my Blackness because of my hobbies. She knew me wearing black wouldn’t stop me from being followed in stores. And that watching anime won’t stop micro-aggressions.
I was so lucky, the concept of parents questioning their child’s Blackness didn’t make sense to me. But the older I got the more people I met who had the same story. Blerds whose parents saw their nerdiness and somehow correlated that to whiteness. This really doesn’t make sense with things like anime, which is Japanese, but I digress.
Very few Blerds had supportive parents unless the parents were Blerds themselves. Many caught flack everywhere and didn’t have a single place where they could be themselves. It didn’t take me long to realize, that my childhood freedom though it should be the norm, was an outlier.
Don’t get me, bullies will always try to get people to conform. “The nail that sticks out will get hammered down”, conformity to culture and society is global. But the one thing your child should know is that their Blackness is unquestionable. And you, the parent, should be the first person to build that sense of confidence.
Their foundation should be so strong that when anyone, Black, White, or whatever, tells them their hobby is white, that they can laugh in their face. And they can go back to that hobby will full confidence in themselves and the love for that thing.
Be that parent.
Because there aren’t white things.
But there are many things Black people have been “gatekeeped” from or things that class and the wealth gap have made unavailable to us. For example, people talk about Black people not swimming. But have you ever asked yourself WHY? It’s the same history with hiking, things that “people” didn’t want to share with us.
And don’t get me started on the Whitewashing of rock history. It’s so bad that many Black people don’t know who created Rock & Roll, and helped create grunge. How can our children being a part of a genre our ancestors created, be considered acting white?
So unpack your biases, and give your kids an uninhibited bubble of safety, known as home. Let your home be the place where your child can be them, even when the world doesn’t.
The world will always try to push your child into a box. It’s your job to let them know that they’re more than that.