So have you seen the new television show “Black-ish”? Well, if you haven’t you should. The show is quite a bit satirical in nature and from the reviews I’ve been reading online and in personal conversation, many people (both black and white) just don’t get it.
We’ll I have to admit, this is one Black family who not only get it, but the reality is that we are living it. See, we are like many of our circle of friends. We are those Kids that were born in the 70’s & early 80’s who grew up watching the Cosby Show and A Different World, College educated, have great jobs or entrepreneurs and was taught about self-pride and even black-pride.
We are that generation of Black kids that were the benefactors of so many people that struggled to have the rights that we enjoy today. Like the right to vote, the right to live where we want too and even the right to attend any school we want. Many of us remember and are very sensitive to those memories and now we have our own kids. We are caught between the past and living the future that our parents and grandparents fought to have.
But just like the sitcom, I’ve found myself reacting and doing some very similar things. For example, Zoie is only 14 months but she is quite active on a daily basis. Most of the activities she attends weekly she is usually the only little Black kid in the room. I noticed that as of late, I’ve made it my mission to locate and find other parents of color that my daughter can play with. Then I had to think, why is that important? or better yet, is it important?
We’ve come to realize that the world that we grew up in and the world Zoie is growing up in are two different places. Having black friends might be important to me, but when she is playing, exploring or learning new things, to her that’s just a new friend that can make her smile and giggle.
I realized that as much as we want our kids to have a cultural identity and never forget where they came from, we as parents have to allow them grow up uninhibited by the pasts demons and free from societal pressures. We have to allow them to grow up in that new reality where they truly will “Be judged by the content of their character,” and not the color of their skin.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with teaching your children about their heritage, culture and roots, just like it’s nothing wrong if they are the only Black kid in class. We as parents have to simply make sure that we are raising children who are grounded, balanced and have an appreciation of all ethnicities. And I do mean all parents…not just the black ones.
When I take Zoie to her art appreciation class, swim class or story time I sometimes wish her Great – Grandma could see her. She would be so happy to see her growing up where she can enjoy so many opportunities without the restrictions she had.
Black-ish pokes fun at both the past and the present. It reminds us of that sometimes ugly American historical past that no one wants to talk about and sadly forget, but gently guides us to a reality of what our new generation of kids have to look forward too. This is what that struggle in the 50’s and 60’s was all about.
I know for this “Black-ish” household we love that Zoie has the opportunity to take swim lessons, art, dance and whatever else her little heart desires. We are glad we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have great careers and live out the dreams of our ancestors. We are even more proud that we have a history to share with our growing little girl.