We shouldn’t have to worry about the right time but the reality is from the moment they are old enough to understand, that is the time. We have to realize no amount of teaching and explaining to them the world we live in, will ever prepare them for the day that they experience the hatred first hand. As parents, that’s all we want is to protect our children from danger and negativity, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be okay with accepting the fact that I can’t. All we can do is develop them the best we can for a world that hates them and teach them what’s right in spite of that, always reminding them that they matter!
Growing up, my family liked to go to the mall as a group and if another black person or group were acting inappropriately, I noticed there were times we would be looked down upon as well. We are a race that are more times than not negatively categorized as a whole just because of a portion of us. There’s constant reporting of our people being killed by those who feel entitled and us becoming victims of racial profiling, all because of who we are and what we look like. For instance, waiting for someone to back out of a parking space like so many people do daily, my friend and I were treated ugly and further disrespected by the white woman adding the color of our skin to the insults. And yet we still chose to walk through the store not knowing if a greater altercation was to come even though we did nothing wrong. How would that or another incident fueled by racism make you feel especially with everything that’s been happening? So imagine the rollercoaster of emotions that plagues me when the harsh reality that I am raising black boys in such a cruel and heartless world punches me in the gut.
Black kings are what they are but black boys or thugs is what society makes too many of our children and other family members out to be. Episodes of some of my favorite shows where the storylines are based on cruel injustices makes body racking sobs course through me because they aren’t simply just scenes on a television, but scenarios that either could actually happen or have happened. But how do I prepare my sweet, innocent, charismatic 7 year old for what can happen when he’s just being himself? And how do I have this conversation again when my 16 month old is old enough to understand?
When is the right time to have the race talk with our children? When is the right time to let our kings and queens in the making know that not everyone will appreciate them and give them a chance on basic things such as displaying respect and manners while engaging in everyday activities? I honestly don’t know and quite frankly it pisses me off because this shouldn’t be a worry and constant, never ending fear. When will the beauty that radiates from the different shades of our skin be appreciated and valued like it should be? When will we be seen for the wonderful people that we are and not just immediately judged because of stupidity, bias, or the lack of a proper upbringing? For me, there will never be a right time to explain to my children that they have to take into account in every situation that they may be seen as a threat, and how to conduct themselves even when they aren’t doing anything wrong. And there definitely isn’t a right time to explain that while they may not care if the person they want to be friends with doesn’t look like them, that it matters to them or their family.