This isn’t white denial. This is what Black people/parents have dealt with for centuries. In the decades since we have been using the word Black, our children have grown up seeing the color of crayons and noticing the brown one looks like them, the black one does not — so there have been many occasions when a Black child has seen the two and stated, “I’m not Black, I’m brown.” Growing up our history books are full of black and white images of our history where Black people appear as black in those images and I have heard a child in fifth grade say, “I’m not Black because those people aren’t free. I am.” I have also been asked by a Black child I was teaching, “tell me about the people in chains,” meaning slavery, after seeing a picture in a school book and questioned why they looked like her. It is bad for both children. However, the difference is that your child can grow up and eventually learn whiteness and with that comes the privilege of ignoring history she doesn’t like. Our history follows us and is built into every American institution. For right now, your child is trying to make sense of nonsense — why one group of people thought it was okay to enslave another. And if you don’t teach it in all its horror and ugliness, her generation may move to repeat it. Would you want her feeling bad (re: guilt) for a few minutes while she is learning the truth than to blissfully live a lie?

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Mother. Fisk University Alum. And occasionally, I write some stuff! All things Prince are welcome!

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Aisha K. Staggers

Aisha K. Staggers

Mother. Fisk University Alum. And occasionally, I write some stuff! All things Prince are welcome!