Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The "crime" of living while black

There is an important conversation going on right now at Stuff White People Do (SWPD). The post addresses the "a common white tendency to attach negative value to brown or black skin, regardless of context or other cues to the contrary." The author shares some of her own experiences in the post, and readers also contribute their own stories in the comments. These stories are heartbreaking and utterly infuriating. When you read--and, of course, dear fellow white parents of black children, I do advocate that you read--I suggest a tissue in one hand and something breakable to throw at the nearest wall in the other.

It's not news to me that my son will face this stuff, but reading these personal experiences has brought it home to me in a new way. And it raises one of the familiar transracial parenting questions: how do I prepare him for experiences that I have never had? At a minimum, I want him to come through these experiences alive. But also, I would like him to come through with as little psychological damage as possible, although this seems like a somewhat impossible wish. So I invited the good commenters of SWPD to weigh in here.

My questions are these, although commenters are welcome to pose/answer others that seem relevant:
-Are there ways that your parents prepared you to encounter and cope that you are particularly grateful for?
-Are there things you wish your parents had done differently to prepare you better?
-What other advice do you have about preparing children?

Comments will be open, but trolls will quickly be shown the door.

Thank you, in advance, to all who contribute.