July 3, 2020
Dear White Moms,
Here’s a list of experiences you won’t have to endure…..I’ll preface with this, I love you all. I’ll also acknowledge that some of you will understand as you too are raising little brown babies. However, in order to properly support each other, I believe it starts with understanding our individual and unique struggles. With that said, the color of my skin has placed on a different block in motherhood than you. One in which I’m happy you’ll never have to experience. Experiences like
Spending hours in a toy store searching for that one doll that looks like your child.
I remember rummaging from store to store with my oldest searching for that one brown skin doll and coming up empty. We eventually resorted to ordering Addy from American Girl doll the only brown doll at the time. With a little wig change, I was able to gift her a doll that looked like her…sort off. Things have since changed and my girls certainly have more options then my oldest did then. Why is this important you may ask? Well because culture influences our sense of self and self-worth. Refer to Dr. Kenneth and Dr. Clark’s “doll test” for visual confirmation.
You won’t have to wipe away tears that stem from questions such as “why didn’t or don’t white people like us ?, every time February the designated month for “black history” rolls around. These questions don’t go away as they become older. They become more complex and painful. Somehow you’ll have to teach them this is in the past except when it is not. It’s all in the past except in 2020 black people and white allies are risking their lives to affirm that their black lives ‘Should’ matter
You won’t have to look up the percentage of ethnicity in a town as you visit the beach. I know this is so specific but it’s a reality. Not too long ago I loaded up my girls in the car and headed for the beach. As we drove through the small town, I began to see a few homes with confederate flags. Fear immediately gripped my heart as I asked my sister to google the population. We all became even more unsettled as the population of black residents was below 10 percent. While driving in unfamiliar territory can inspire fear in anyone racism heightens it. I contemplated if I had unwittingly endangered by children. I considered turning around after more than five hours’ drive. It turned out to be very lovely. However, we did stand out
You won’t have to wipe away tears of hysteria from your child’s eyes because they did not believe their father would be safe if they walked out the door because of the color of their skin. He will come home. I tried to reassure one of my girls as she screamed at me “you don’t know that!!”. In this present world that fear should be irrational. unfortunately it’s not and unlike a uniform he can not take off his skin color.
You won’t have to have “the talk”. No not the ones about the birds and the bees. The one about how others perceive your child as a black person. The one about how they should behave in “white spaces”. The one where you tell them that they have to twice as good as their peers in order to be just as good. It seems like odd unnecessary pressure if if you grew up black you more than like have been told this before and felt the weight of it.
You won’t have to consider this list, that is until you raise a little black child who is experiencing the world differently then you do. To my white mommy friends who have reached out and are raising little black kings and queens with awareness, your are phenomenon. To those of you who might read this list and feel attacked rather than compassion know that it is your privilege that allows you to feel this way. To my black moms who understand and know that this list extends beyond five short bullet points; that it includes thinking twice about your newborn “black-sounding” name, or even if you would make it out of labor to be a mother… Please know I see your struggle and your pain. You are magic. Even more so, God is with you and He sees you. In Genesis 16 God said to Hagar that He has heard her cry of distress and Hagar realized that God truly saw her. Dear Mothers, Motherhood is hard so “above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” ( 1 peter 4:8)