Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.
“Because I said so”
“Quit that crying before I give you something to cry for”
“When we go in this store, you don’t touch nothing or ask for nothing cuz you ain’t getting nothing”
“Stay out grown folks’ business”
“I am NOT one of yo little friends in the street”
“You better know that school work the way you know all them songs on the radio I hear you singing”
“I don’t care what <<insert friend’s name>> momma let’s her do. I’m not her momma. I’m your momma.”
“Oh you want <<insert thing>>, huh? Do you have <<thing>> money??”
These are my favorites on the “Black Moms Be Like …” list of phrases. Because I’ve heard them and I’ve repeated them a time or ten.
I’ve also heard and said these:
“Call me when you get there”
“Make sure you stay with <<insert friend’s name>>“
“Don’t get comfortable and forget how to act”
I am sure my kids think I am overbearing, paranoid and tough at times for saying these things.
None of this is my concern … cuz I’m not so-and-so’s mom or one of their little friends in the street.
What is my concern is the safety and welfare of my kids. And in a time where young Black men and women are being assaulted and killed by their peers and by the people sworn to protect them based on their looks, I have to be tough and overbearing and paranoid.
Now that I am a mom with 2 teens and 3 tweens, I realize that these phrases were necessary for my survival. Without them, I would have grown up without deference and reverence for the authority that comes with position, experience and age. And my journey would have been far more difficult than it has been thus far.
I want to instill these same survival skills in my own children. More than just a want, I need to instill these same skills in them because they are in completely different circumstances than mine.
I’m raising suburban kids who are surrounded by the kinds of privileges that breed entitlement. Without balance, they won’t be prepared for the world that awaits them.
I know the world they are growing up in is not the same as mine. I also know that it’s not as different as many would have us believe.
I need them to be conscious of the places they go and the company they keep and the way they behave in public to lessen their chance of encountering authorities and ensuring they come back to me alive if they do.
I need them to be able to recognize and navigate so they can achieve in spite of people and systems who do not want to see them succeed because of their skin color.
These common “Black Moms Be Like” phrases shaped many of us to have the respect, responsibility and drive needed to succeed beyond the boundaries set for us. It may be funny — but it is still necessary and isn’t going away any time soon.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 16 – We Love Our Black Fathers