Raising African American Children: Why Black Kids Deserve Carefree Upbringings, Too by Lark Sontag
I grew up thinking that anything was possible for me. My parents never told me as a young child that things would be harder for me because I was black or a girl.
Children start developing a sense of self around the age of 3. To be a carefree child you must believe you matter. Telling a 5-year-old they might get shot because society thinks they don’t matter adds trauma to a child, and is a poor warning. You can’t behave away racism.
Children need to feel that people want them in the world.
What many black children hear when they are told, before they have a solid sense of self, that people might not like them because they are black is “I am bad.” Children have a hard time understanding something cannot be liked, but still be good. Dichotomies are as hard for children as they are for adults.
Your nana is a great artist and is African American, fine, but some people don’t like African Americans because of racism. Black children can easily misinterpret and develop a negative sense of self.
Children’s sense of self is one of the most important tools that they have to be resilient against racism. Develop that with support, love and exposure to the diversity of their identities.