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Black/African American Parents???

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Hey all!

I am not black... but 2 of my children are... and as a white mom I know I have only the understanding and experience that God has allowed of me. I also know, my children need to know things that I might not be capable or knowledgable of giving them... unless I learn it from other great parents who do "get it". :-)


My oldest son very much associates his "culture" and self with his birth culture and customs (east African), not African American, obviously. He was almost 5 when he joined our family and had a pretty rich cultural understanding, and that we carry on daily in our home... our daughter is only 2 and joined our family a year ago so she has the culture of our family and what we teach her about her birth culture. However, I know that even if our son sees himself one way here, others most likely will see him through their perspective and an Americanized view and he needs to understand the reasoning and point of view behind that.


We are studying Early American History this year with Beautiful Feet.

Near the end of the year will will be studying Abraham Lincoln, The Civil War, slavery, etc...


Can you add some insight into what is important to impress upon (all) my children in relation to this topic...


I am fairly well read on the topic, but always really want to burden my children with what is appropriate for their age.

What if any thing ought I teach them... other than the "facts" and what might I NOT teach them (just yet)???


Any particularly good books to recommend?


I value your thoughts! Thanks!

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I am going to give you the perspective of someone who is from Africa but has lived in both worlds since I was young. Since your son has a strong culture he associates with, the best thing you can do for him is to teach him slavery, Lincoln etc. from the perspective of someone who is not African American. To most Americans he is African American and you can't control or change that, but to your son, he is African. Start by learning about how slavery affected east Africa and specifically the country he is from, then when you get to slavery in your studies discuss the history you've learned about his country before you start studying Lincoln, The Civil War etc. This will give him a better perspective of how slavery relates to him personally. Even though I am grown, there are many things that affects African Americans that I can't relate to. Considering your son is very young, he sees the African American culture just as a caucacian does, which is something unfamiliar that he has to learn about.


I hope you find this helpful.

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I'm another white mama of black boys (1 from East Africa too!) and I have long pondered this. I have been looking closely at the A Blessed Heritage curriculum at Currclick (she also has a website, but Currclick is where you buy it) for American History for elem age. I'm either going to do that curric. alone or combine in with our regular Am. History when we get there down the road.


Kadir Nelson has a BEAUTIFUL book out called Heart and Soul: The story of America and African Americans. It's too much for my K'er to process now, but he will be ready to start exploring it in time. It's worth checking into.

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  • 1 month later...

Bumping this...


I am personally REALLY struggling with introducing the concept of slavery to my children. It just hurts and I know that our oldest daughter will be very bothered by it, she is by anything that confronts her sense of justice.


Even outside the scope of parenting children of color, how do you introduce slavery in an honest way that also is understanding and considerate to your child's sensitivity and also sense of justice?


While we don't shy away at all about talking about "hard stuff"... ie race, orphan crisis, what makes orphans, pasts and general "bad things" I know that most times those things naturally surface and we respond to them. This feels different... like I am taking my children into a dark place. What is the redeeming side of this topic... is there one?

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I think the redeeming side is the fact that slavery has been abolished. I think while it is a very hard topic, it is also a topic that a parent should best introduce to a child. Just like talking to pre-teens about rape, molestation etc, they are very hard but we have to do it. All the best

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Boy this is really hard to answer. Race relations is a conversation that organically happens in most African American homes. I can't speak for all AAs but from my perspective and what I've seen in my family (included extended) there are many teachable moments that happen in everyday life. TV shows, bias in commercials, a way someone may have treated you in a restaurant or prejudged you based on race is an opportunity to talk about where those prejudices come from with children.


I spoke to a friend who is raising her 3 AA boys in a predominately white environment. These boys have friends of all races and she says she reminds them when they go places with friends that they can't always do what all the other boys do because people can prejudge him unfairly. For example make sure you aren't wearing a hoodie, your hands aren't stuffed in your pockets if you are walking down an store aisle alone, etc. I was surprised to here this but I understood. I don't have boys I have all girls so my conversations are a little different. My point is the conversation is always taking place in AA homes. We constantly address stereotypes and where they come from which will always revert back to the civil rights movement and eventually back to slavery. Grapnparents are a constant source of information b/c they lived through the civil rights era so rarely do AAs have to have this shocking out of the blue conversation it was happening all the time.


It's part of our heritage and it is everyday reality in the world we live in. So I don't think I answered the question for you. What I wish for you is that you extend yourself to AA families no matter how uncomfortable so other races are part of your everyday life. These families will teach you and your kids a lot. I'll bet situations will arise in your relationships with them the conversation will begin rather organically.


My Korean neighbor extends herself to us all the time. We went over her house and saw a lot of her Korean artifacts and customs that she freely shared with us.

We may have never bothered to know some of the things she shared with us had she not extended herself.

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