Many people don’t understand how they can teach their kids the joy and love for Black culture, but then see them grow only to shy away from it. They think that their child should embrace Blackness. After all, it is what was taught of them. This is very seldom the case.
How long does the average teacher of history teach Black history to their children? (Hypothetical answer: 8 hours/week) Now how often is that child faced with the media that society brings? (Hypothetical answer: 30 hours/week) How often is that child in the face of their friends who are likely every color of the rainbow. The kids who identify with their personal country of origin as oppose to that of their ancestors. (Hypothetical answer: 40 hours/week) Everything that is now titled (officially or unofficially) as Black culture is co-signed by a party who does not identify with Blackness. (For example: Black movies, Black books, Black Entertainment Television, Black newspapers, Black curricula) If this is the case, how Black is it really? How does your child see him or herself during the other 70 hours of exposure each week?
We would be naïve to think that media doesn’t affect everyone within society. Regardless if you are one who turns off the television, or who only listens to your choice of music, you are affected. You come into contact with persons who receive maximum exposure daily. People whose thoughts are not their own.
It’s great to identify a problem, but its not exactly beneficial if that problem is not followed by a solution. So, what solution can we pose?
- Limit media exposure: That suggestion comes without saying.
- Do not merely teach Black history facts, also teach relativity: If you cannot make Nat Turner’s heroic action, or Marcus Garvey’s drive relate to the collective Black person, why are you teaching it.
- Listen twice as much as you teach: When you tell a child that Queen Nzingha fought the Portuguese for 30 years, what exactly did they hear?
- Teach how current events affect Black culture past, present and future: If your child has heard that his favorite pop star has embarrassed all of Black America. Ask him/her how is that possible? What do they learn from it? And How/If it relates to them?
There are many steps to learning. If a child is not able to process the information that they are exposed to, they will leave that explanation to be given to them by society.
“Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” – Malcolm X