What it means to be a black Woman in America becomes increasingly harder when you become a black Mom in America. Some may say well, that’s equivalent or a parallel statement. However, to me while both go hand-in-hand the opportunity I have as a Black Mom is crucial. I have a black child-A Black Daughter to be more specific, so my burden is heavy. I have the responsibility to affirm her and build her up because I know that this world is ugly and the moment she was born, there are those that conspire against her just because the hue of her skin, the grade of her hair, and the power that she possess. As a black Woman I am aware of my struggles that simply come with my race and I am built for the challenge because I have a black Mom that raised me to be a proud black woman and taught me that although unfortunate, I must look over my shoulder at all times. Now, as a black Mom I’m faced with the challenge of instilling confidence and awareness in my young daughter, one that will never waver and this isn’t an easy job. Nor should her young and innocent mind have to worry about such a thing. But when she goes to school with white children and comes home and says her hair “isn’t pretty” I’m immediately infuriated because I know that is the furthest from the truth but something she will encounter for a lifetime!
One of the hardest things I can say for me so far, is combating what happens at school where I have little control over unless she tells me about it. I send my precious, innocent, beautiful little brown girl to school knowing other Parents may not be teaching their children basic decency and respect. While I have to coach my daughter through the days, reminding her if someone says “this or that” you say/do “this or that” because I know there’s only a matter of time before it will happen, I know this because it’s happened to me. Children of other races, particularly those of European decent go to school carefree when it comes to this issue, because they haven’t had to live the horror of being called a Nigger just because of skin color. First thing first; Why do these children know such derogatory terms and when and how to use them? I blame the Parents. It’s learned behavior, passed down through generations of hate and racism. Children aren’t born prejudice, they learn this because of what they see and what they’re taught at home.
I attended a predominately white Elementary school and at the age of 6 or 7, second grade to be exact, a little white girl on the playground called me a nigger and spat at me. I don’t remember many things that happened at this age, but I vividly remember that. My daughter is 7 and in second grade, so I worry has this or will this happen to her, sadly it probably will and there’s little I can do to stop it, but what I can do is teach her who she is and why our kind is hated in this country.
If you’ve watched Black Panther, which I hope you all have, one of my favorite parts in the movie is when they pose the question, “Who are you?” Once answered, the pride, eagerness, and confidence that exists within the dialogue is profound! What if we all acted and felt that way about knowing who we are and where we’ve come from! What if we instilled this in our black children at an early age? Yes, we would face the same struggles but the outcome and damage done would hold no weight. As a Black Mom in America it is vital to teach our children pride and confidence in who we are and what we have came from and most importantly, where we are going as a race and in our culture. As I reminisce on where we are now in my only 31 years of life, we’ve come so incredibly far! When I was a child, a black President was unheard of but for 8 years President Barack Obama served his country well and made Black people proud to be in this country despite our challenges. Let’s teach our children to be leaders and go for the positions that aren’t necessarily created for us, breaking barriers is in our DNA and is the only reason we’ve survived in a country that brought us here on ships to enslave, kill, and rape us. As black women we should be proud that our ancestors survived that and walk with our heads held high because we are indeed, Magic!
The subject of natural black hair has levels to it, Sis. It’s so complex, so I’ll only scrape the surface but as a Mommi to a little black girl hair is the topic of many of our conversations. As women our hair is our crown so therefore, how we wear and style it tells a story about us and is apart of our identity. It’s important to be proud of our hair and for so long we were brainwashed to hate our natural hair. It was often described as wild, unruly, unmanageable, nappy, and flat out unprofessional! Wait, what? Why? Because it’s different from their straight hair? So different equates to those terms? I think not! “I like my baby hair with baby hair and Afros!” I will teach her to always be proud of her natural hair! We believed those deceitful lies because many of us were not properly educated on our specific texture of hair. We were only given information and products for hair textures that were the total opposite of our own. So with that we thought negatively about our tresses and wanted to change it. So we did, with harmful chemical relaxers and weaves. Now, I am in no way knocking women who choose to relax their hair or wear weaves, as a matter of fact I’m rocking a curly sew-in currently. But the problem is lack of love and acceptance of our own natural hair. Our hair is so versatile that we are blessed to change it up, switch it out, and serve different looks, but the reason behind change shouldn’t be because we don’t find beauty in our own hair. My daughter’s hair is glorious! It’s big, thick, curly, and a natural masterpiece! I constantly remind her of how beautiful and completely appropriate her hair is even when I’m frustrated doing it.
No it’s not easy being a Mom, and it’s hard as hell to be a Black Mom in a country that aims at your head, but it’s worth it! I wouldn’t have wanted to be any other race and be apart of any other culture then that of a Black Woman! I’m proud to be who I am and what I’ve birthed. We are the Mother’s of this world, we are the back bones of our families and there isn’t anything we can’t do! When we bring a child into this world we understand that our sons will be viewed as a threat by default, despite their success and accomplishments. Our daughters will be taken for angry and aggressive. This country grants leniency to everyone one except for us, so it isn’t easy but again, well worth it. When we witness our children grow up to be successful, law abiding citizens, we’re a little more prouder because we know it took them a lot more than their non-black peers to make it there. We know they’ve had to face more adversity and prove themselves in more ways than one, and take part in uncomfortable conversations. So while it’s not easy being a Black Mom in America, and raising our young Kings and Queens in the land of the “free,” we will sing the song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, and continue with hope that the present has brought us. Yes, until our victory is won!