The "Hope" episode of Blackish that aired this week was so powerful for me, as a person of color and as a mom. I found myself tearing up many times during and afterwards as I considered the impact I feel towards the topic of injustice and racism and my job as a mom to Black children.
Here were some powerful points that spoke to me.
1) The struggle between Dre’ and Rainbow around how much we as parents should expose our children to and if we are helping them or hurting them by talking about topics like racism or injustice. It's an internal turmoil that we as parents go through to determine when our children are ready to hear this and how much should we actually share.
2) The sadness of three generations having to experience the same concerns and doubts about the police and the justice system. The sadness that many injustices persist all these many years later.
3) The added pressure that is put on parents raising Black children. I so wish we didn't have to think about having these discussions. But we do.
4) The hurt and confusion of their oldest daughter and the eagerness of their oldest son to go out there to walk with people to support the movement.
I could personally relate to feeling both of these emotions at the same time.
5) My most severe pain came from Rainbow’s desire to let her children be children yet knowing that they needed to be prepared for some harsh realities, too. In the deepest part of my heart, I know that I, as the mom to Black children, have to in some way, some how, some day share the sad reality of the world we live in today. And I myself struggle with how to balance that with my own desire to let my children be carefree children, too. Can we let them enjoy childhood at the same time as preparing them to deal with some very adult issues? It's not an easy balance to strike.
Growing up in the sixties, Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights Movement were a part of my everyday life. I remember sitting with my parents and siblings in front of the TV as we learned about how some people in this county felt about Black people. My parents wanted us kids to see it, hear it, recognize it and identify it because it was a part of our lives. They shared with us that many people were fighting every day to change the injustices that we faced.
My parents thought for sure that by the time I had children the world would be so much better. They were convinced that their grandchildren would benefit from the struggle that was happening in the 60's. And in many ways, they were right. However, nearly 50 years later, I find myself having some very similar conversations with my children that my parents had with me.
To be honest, it hurts my heart to have these conversations with my eight year old son. And I am sure it hurt my mom's heart having these discussions with me all those many years ago.
We hope to continue to share thoughts and ideas on topics like this throughout the Our Children Initiative. Helping families to share with each other, learn from us and each other, and together find a balanced approach to discussions about racism and injustice that we can use to prepare our children is so important to me. And this is precisely why we launched the Our Children Initiative in the first place.