By Kenneth Braswell (@fathersincorp)
I said I wasn’t going to cry; yet, I did. Last night I waited with anxiety for the airing of Blackish. This ABC sitcom depicts, in a somewhat realistic yet comical way, Black life in America. As television shows have done throughout history, the writers of Blackish took a bold opportunity to address police violence in the African American community.
If you missed it – http://abc.go.com/shows/blackish As I watched, I sat next to my computer anticipating the social media buzz around both the show and the topic. CRICKETS! Not much conversation at all (at least on my feed); not many Facebook post or tweets.
I wondered what Black people were doing around 9:30 p.m. eastern that they weren’t watching this insightful episode of Blackish. It made me think about the Good Times episode when JJ was shot, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode when Will was shot, and the racism episode on A Different World. All were shows that painfully forced us to see and deal with a side of our overall culture no one wanted to talk about.
This episode did a good job of framing the issue from a family perspective. Of particular interest to me was how they addressed the impact the subject had on the children.
Too often we dismiss, leave out, and even deny our children any context or explanation to issues they must be aware of simply as a result of the color of their skin. However, as much as we want to protect them from the world we live in, they live in it too and deserve to know an age appropriate truth. Here are a couple of things to consider when talking to your children about race.
Children are resilient and know more than we think they know. In this fast paced and high tech world, they are right in the midst of the information stream.
Take the responsibly as an adult to give your children context and age-appropriate knowledge to make sense of the many messages and images they are seeing. Just because you ignore it, doesn’t mean it will go away.
As painful as it may seem to watch your children grow up much too fast, it is in their best interest for you as their parents to give them tools to not only survive, but to thrive in the midst of challenging circumstances. The critical information and insight you give your child just may save the life of another. Not every child has the opportunity to receive productive and safe information from friends.
Fathers Incorporated provides a great resource in its newest children’s book, “Daddy There’s A Noise Outside.” In a review of the book, Malik Yoba says, “I love what Kenneth Braswell did with this book. It reminds me of the household I grew up in.
My father was a union delegate and community activist who always exposed us to the plight of others that were in some sort of struggle, be it political, religious, racial or economic and preached to us about our role in making a positive difference.
“Daddy There’s A Noise Outside” is a perfect starter kit for parents who want to plant those activist seeds in their children.”
The book can be purchased at www.fathersincorporated.com/dtano.html or Amazon. It also has a free downloadable parent/teacher guide to help facilitate critical conversations with your children that will offer them guidance and hope in what too often feels like a hopeless world.