Last year, The Cradle hosted a roundtable as part of the Our Children initiative. Called Raising Black Girls, the roundtable addressed the complex issues involved in parenting a Black girl in today's society. Our panelists had a lot of wisdom to share, so we gathered just some of their inspiration and advice.
Regarding helping your daughter gain confidence:
"We've all had to battle and overcome our own set of issues and insecurities. What I didn't want to do with my daughter is pretend I have it all figured out. I'm 43 and I still struggle. Some days I look in the mirror and I have to fight negative voices in my head. We have conversations, "there are going to be days you don't feel good about yourself," and the question becomes "How do you tackle that?" We all live with the voice. I say: 'It too shall pass.'" – Sharlene Hobson
"I try to show her examples in popular culture of Black children and Black women and say they are beautiful." – Angela Taylor
Approaching conversations about race and racism:
"I talk to her about race and racism because I think it's vital to building her agency. It's vital for Black girls to be racially competent and racially confident. So I fumble forward. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't. I use teachable moments, and they show up all the time. They are tangible and relevant to her learning. I also have been very intentional about creating a safe space, so that no matter what happens, she knows it's okay to talk about race." – Kara Burrell Wright
"I talk to my kids a lot about understanding what people are saying to them and dissecting that... First I tell them they are bigger than a stereotype, and then when racism does happen, to let people know that what they are saying isn't okay." – Dr. Karen Johnson
"It's okay to change your mind and come back later and say, 'I've given your question more thought, and I've changed my mind, and here's why.' So it's not just a conversation about race. It's modeling humility. It's showing her it's okay to reopen dialogue and keep exploring. It's also letting her know I don't have all the answers." – Kara Burrell Wright
Advice to white parents of a Black daughters:
"Answer every question that's asked fully. And answering fully might be, 'I don't know, I'll get back to you.' And that's okay." – Sharlene Hobson
"Be honest with yourself that you too are impacted by the legacy of race in this country. So it's not just your Black daughter, but if you're a white parent, you too have a race that's been socially constructed for you. It might benefit to deconstruct that as well." – Kara Burrell Wright
"It's important to have relationships with Black families. And not just a relationship, but you need to have them in your home because that does something for children." – Dr. Karen Johnson
To learn more about upcoming and previous Our Children events, visit us here.