Before I get started, I just want to preface and say that I am no expert in this area, and I am merely writing from my experience, clinical research, web research, and also my own personal opinion.
As I piggyback on last week’s topic – racial discrimination, I want to share what I believe all parents should teach their kids about their skin colour ,particularly those of the black minority race .
I am a black woman from Barbados, and at home I’ve always grown up with people of different races around me. Within my own family we are a pretty multicultural bunch, so race was not something that was ever really at the forefront of my mind.
I saw colour and I loved it. I was raised to love people regardless of the colour of their skin and their heritage; however, as I got older I learned that everyone did not hold this stance.
Within the past few years, I have continued to see how much racism still exists, especially in the US, which is where I currently reside. From police brutality within the black community, to the entertainment industry, to racism within schools; we cannot seem to escape the reality of racial discrimination in America as one from a “minority” race.
In July 2016, it was reported that 258 black people were killed, 39 of which were unarmed.
As a black therapist in training in Denver, I am primarily surrounded by white therapists also in training, and on more than one occasion I have seen how the topic of race and racism immediately changes the atmosphere of a room.
Most times, people don’t want to bring it up, and I’ve also realized that there is still much ignorance surrounding the experience of many black men, woman or child, and why we are the way we are. However, when it does come up, it gets so quiet in the room you could hear a pin drop.
Race is something that quite a number of white therapists stray away from, and within my experience and research, it seems to be out of fear of saying something offensive. While this stance is understandable, it inhibits progress.
I remember reading an article that spoke of a black therapist and a white client, where her client would come in every session and spew racist comments to her.
He had friends who questioned her capability as a therapist simply because she was a black woman, and he even told her on one occasion that he associated her with a Black maid from a civil rights TV show.
I was absolutely floored and livid as I read this content, and I remember feeling pain for her because she also had serious challenges embracing her racial identity and all that made her a black woman, even though she was an adult, because she felt insecure and inadequate. This is NOT okay.
There is a video I have seen circulating on the internet with small children where they show that children love each other regardless of the tone of their skin. It almost makes you wonder, when did we stop opening our arms so freely and became so tense and guarded? When did the love dissipate and got replaced with such hatred?
When did it become okay to treat someone with disdain because their skin tone and race differs to our own?
Racism is not something that just came about, and its effects are intensely deep rooted in the black community.
I know of people who are not black that say they “don’t see colour”, but this could easily be one of the most racist statements anyone can say to a black person.
I am well aware that racism can exist on both sides, and neither is acceptable; but my cry here is to those who are either black or are raising children with black heritage, because we are one of the primary ‘minorities’ who face racial discrimination every single day.
I am not a parent; therefore, I am no expert on when parents should begin educating their children about racial discrimination. However, as I think about it, I believe that empowering children, regardless of their race is something that is so necessary as Petula so rightly outlined in the previous post on our blog.
The home in which a child grows up should be one full of love and affirmation, for the world unfortunately is not always that way. Equipping them early to own all that they are can only strengthen their resolve as they continue to discover the various facets of their identities.
As a black child, they should never feel ashamed of their history nor the amount of melanin in their skin tone.
They should never feel inadequate because of how they look in any way shape or form. They should not have to fear their lives because they choose to braid their hair or walk around in a hoodie. They should not have to fear being stereotyped as a “gansta” or a “suspicious” because they hold melanin in their skin tone.
No child should EVER feel ashamed of their race or skin colour.
Racial stereotypes are very real, and I know that as a Black woman it happens to me with or without my knowing. I know what it is like to fear that someone I love could be arrested, shot, or the victim of police brutality because they are black. Racial discrimination is a real phenomenon, and ignoring or denying it makes it no less real.
Parents of all races teach your kiddos to LOVE!
Teach them to see colour and love every single one! Teach them that they are beautiful and capable of anything they set their mind to! Teach them that boundaries painted with colour can be overcome and they can achieve every single dream they have!
I pray that by the time I have my own children, God willing, positive progress with racism will be made, and racial discrimination won’t shout as loudly as it does now. Own all that you are, all that your race, colour and heritage represents, and know that you are powerful beyond measure because the Lord is your strength!
What other lesson(s) do you think is important to teach your child as it relates to their race or skin tone… Go ahead we encourage you to tell us and get the conversation started below!
Kathilia Edghill Staff Blogger Kathilia Edghill is a creative soul from the island of Barbados with a big heart for God, for her family and for others. She has a deep love for others which led her to pursue her Master’s degree in Counselling in Denver, Colorado to become a Licensed Professional Counsellor as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is presently a student therapist of individuals, couples and families. Additionally, she also has a passion and desire to be a missionary. Along with this, she is also a beach lover, writer, blogger, dancer, singer and poet. She finds joy in ministry, a large part of which is pouring into the lives of others and ultimately honouring God.