Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Give Me Some Skin

Trula - 34
Cleveland, OH
3 children - 2 boys (8), (11), 1 girl (17)

There is great power and affirmation in raising black children in a racist culture who are conscious and proud of who they are; who have no desire to be white or look white or 'act' white, any of that. And by acting white I don't mean what you sound like or what kind of music you listen to or whatever. It's the conscious imitation of what some people think white folks are's hard to put my finger on but I know it when I see it.

When I was a child I didn't want to be white, but I had a difficult time being the only black child in my school class or at camp. I felt singled out a lot of the time and I got easily upset and flustered at questions about my skin color, hair
texture, slavery, etc.

My kids don't have that and it knocks me out. They don't have the apprehension around white people that I had at similar ages. They have a confidence in themselves that took me decades to master. Little one time Scott had this white friend over and they were coloring. The boy asked Scott to pass him the 'skin color' crayon. So Scott passed him a brown crayon, he didn't even blink. The kid was like, no I meant my skin color. Scott then says, "you should have said so, because when you say skin color I
automatically think of brown. I'm brown and most people in the world are brown." The kid was like, "I didn't know that!" Then they started talking about their Yugioh cards.

I didn't say anything...I was just knocked out by how Scott responded to that. When I was a kid I hated it, absolutely hated it when white kids started that 'skin color' crayon nonsense. Me at that age? I would have just passed the peach crayon and felt upset in silence, because I would have assumed that's what they meant...even though my own skin is brown.

Scott's response tells me that he is viewing the world from his perspective as a black person, not the skewed, reflected perspective of white people. It didn't even occur to him to care or wonder if the white boy would get upset if he passed him the brown crayon. I think being freed from caring what white people think is an important step in achieving black consciousness. For black children who never have this 'caring what white folks think' mentality, there is no telling what they can/will do as adults.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Scared of my own damn people

Bronx, N.Y
3 children - 2 boys (15), (11) and 1 girl (9)

I was thinking of homseschooling my son. As you can imagine there are many reasons, but when push comes to shove, I think I have to admit that fear of Black people has led me to this decision. Now, I won't say fear of my people is the only reason, but it is a big reason; maybe sixty to seventy percent of the reason.

My youngest son Shane will be entering junior high school this fall and that scares me to death. Not only is the New York City school system overcrowded and understaffed, but its is woefully inept and dangerous as hell. Junior high school and high school was bad when I went and some twenty years later, it has only gotten worse.

I live near a junior highschool, the one my son is suppose to be attending this fall and what I see from these kids every afternoon when I am picking up my children is enough to scare any Mother and scared I am.

But not just me, my son is scared as well.

Every afteroon I am treated to my daily dose of cursing, fighting and stealing. These kids have the filthiest mouths and aren't afraid to use them…. even on adults.The young guys (usually Black) are always either fighting (attacking someone) or looking for a fight. I often overhear their conversations and it always has something to do with "F**king dat nigga up". But the person who has it the worse is the poor guy who runs the corner store. It is his place
of business that these guys come to, to steal. I see dudes in there with cellphones and the most up to date gear, stealing twenty-five cent juices.

I have been witnessing this for years and it has progressively gotten worse.We now have cops rolling through the neighborhood telling kids to go home over the bullhorn, and as I watch these guys loitering around I can't help wonder where their parents are. When I got out of school I was expected to be home by a certain time and God help my behind if I was not.

I wrote all this to say, that I never thought the day would come where I would fear my own people but that time has indeed come. Actually, I don't fear them, I fear what they will do to my child and the effects it will have on him and his education.

You can't learn in a school or classroon that is out of control.You can't learn if you fear going to school. You can't learn if you fear being attacked or called names for actually doing your work and trying to get an education. It's not talked about much, but I think a good number of kids who drop out of school do so out a fear.It's not just the bad kids or hoodlums who drop out.Many kids simply fear for their lives.I knew many such kids when I was in school and I don't plan on allowing this to happen to my son.

Homeschooling my son is not a done deal as private school or maybe even Catholic school is an option his Dad and I are keeping open. But my heart is definitely set on schooling him myself. Not only do I think I can do better job and give him that one on one attention he could never get in a NYC classroom, but as you might imagine from what I posted above, he would be a lot safer and that is what matters to me most.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Something special (and funny) for Mother's Day

On Friday May 12, upon picking my five-year-old daughter up from her preschool, I received the following Mother's Day card:



We only have one Mom, one Mommy, one Mother in this world.
Don't wait for tomorrow, tell her you love her today.


This is what my mommy looks like:

(the teachers asked the children to cut a photo from a magazine of what their mother looks like...I'm sure this choice has more to do with the number of times we have watched Brown Sugar than any actual resemblance on my part to Ms. Lathan, but I could have done worse.)


One thing I like about my mommy's food is....
"Her Macaroni and cheese."

One thing I like about my mommy's hair is...
"That it is black and she braids it."

I love my mommy because....
"She is smart and decent."

DECENT???!!!! (*note above that my daughter is five)

How hilarious and gracious (and observant if I do say so myself)!

I hope your Mother's Day was as filled with joy, gratitude and fun as mine.