I became a mom 19 months ago and since day 1 my husband and I have been conscious of cultivating a space in which Blackness is the default for our son. In a sea of overwhelming whiteness this isn’t an easy task.
Everything must go through a filter.
When he was ready for daycare, we toured a few places. One of the places was nearby and seemed like a good option—a strong connection to nature, encouraged child-led development. Sounds great, right? I go for the tour and see nothing but Black women teaching white babies with some “coloreds” sprinkled in. It’s 2021 and Black mammies are still in full effect. And I mean no disrespect to the women educators, I’m sure they are wonderful at what they do but a spade is a spade is a spade. Needles to say, our son was not going there.
Our son loves to read. In a play subscription he has, a book is usually included. Almost every time a white character is featured. And if the character is not explicitly white, the attempt at “racial diversity” features a white-looking character. Where do those books go? Right in the trash.
Before you think I have a problem, hear me out. I have a Black (Moorish American, Indigenous) son. But almost damn near everywhere you turn in this country you would think he was the “minority,” the “person of color,” “the underserved.” All these terms that identifies him as the odd one out.
Everywhere you turn there is another projection of whiteness as the ideal and a characterization of Blackness as the deficiency.
Well, we do our best not to play that in this house. We teach our son that he is indigenous not only to this land we stand on, but to this entire planet. We teach him about his ancestors, the Moors, who ruled Spain and taught Europeans civilization.
Half of the work we have to do as moms, as parents, as family members is create an environment absent of white supremacists imposed thinking and the other half is to fill the subconscious and conscious mind with knowledge of self.
A colleague shared this thread on Twitter from Michael Harriot and I just loved every bit of it. I identified greatly with his mom and her work to cultivate a home where him and his siblings received constant affirmation. Moms out here are doing some powerful work. Check it out.