Raising Black boys is one of the most significant responsibilities that I will ever have. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to I encourage them and ensure they have a strong sense of self. There are systems that solely exist to eat my children alive. And, that is a hard pill to swallow. It’s also the fuel that inspires me to celebrate Blackness all year round. My boys need to be 100% clear that the Black experience is a valuable one.
Living in a predominantly white suburb outside of Chicago, I am raising my sons in a much different environment than how I grew on the South Side. For all the positives that one could note, the flip side is that I have to do mental gymnastics to make sure that they meet other kids who look like them.
Over the past year, I’ve been more intentional about exposing the boys to events, Black businesses and cultural moments, like BLM marches in our community. We’ve had age-appropriate conversations about racism and how they should respond if/when challenged. Candidly, I’ve had to do some unlearning of my own. I don’t want my own limitations to impact their understanding of the fullness of Black culture.
To me, that illustrates the beautiful of Black history. We are not a monolith so there’s always something new to learn – different perspectives, lesser-known facts, important distinctions. I’m learning right alongside my boys and that means everything to me. We are celebrating Black history every day because it reminds us of who we are and who we can still become.