Talking about your child’s African heritage can be a touchy subject for some. A child of mixed race may be confused by the world around them, depending on what they see. If they are in a primarily white community, then it’s entirely possible that they feel somewhat out of place. Every person’s heritage is important, but it’s even more so if you’re of African descent. Anyone who lives in a multiracial society knows this is the case. Life is different for those who have darker skin, and that’s the truth. Anyone who wants to pretend otherwise is living in a fantasy world.
Sometimes history can be painful
Some people want to believe that talking about things such as slavery is picking open a scab and injuring the wound. What those people realize is, the wound has never healed. The impact of slavery can be felt this very day. Anyone who wants to deny any part of history is someone who is bound to repeat it again. The pain and suffering of the African people need to be something everyone is taught. Your child deserves to know the truth of what happened to their ancestors. It would lead to a greater painful mistake to deny what happened. You can’t get over the past without accepting it in the present.
Your roots are deeper than where you live now
Unless you’re living in Africa, your roots are nowhere to be found at your current location. You should study where in Africa your family came from. If you don’t already know, then it would be a great project to work together on with your children. You will learn alongside them who your family is and where they came from — the story of those who came before you need to be told. Their lives are valuable, and we can honor them today by making sure everyone knows it. Learn about who your family was, and they’ll come back to life to inspire everyone who comes in contact with their story.
Culture has a way of eroding over time
You probably remember things your grandparents taught you. Things that seemed to weave into the fabric of who they were. Those things weren’t only identifiable to them; you saw them in the world around you. Today, it’s much different, and culture is being pushed aside to homogenize society. It’s not a good thing since it oversimplifies who we are as a people. African culture can’t be allowed to become watered down to the point no one knows anything about it. When that happens, the narrative is controlled by people who want to either change the subject or whitewash things to the point where they aren’t representative of the truth.
Take part in cultural events that display the diversity of your past
If such events don’t exist in your community, then now is a great time to see to it that they do. The present-day needs to be celebrated as much as the past does. The future is bright, and along with it comes all the creativity and perseverance of the African people. The modern life of many is being overlooked by people who want to keep their eyes fixated on the rearview mirror continuously. The only way to avoid such a mindset is to celebrate today and make sure that the future is as bright as possible.
Above all else, be yourself
You know who you are. You also know who you want your child to be. You want them to know what makes them who they are. You allow your child to connect with their past in a way that shapes the future. A firm understanding of where they came from will guide their future. It will give them the motivation to overcome any obstacle that comes their way. No one knows better than those of African descent of how challenging the tribulations have been. They’ve seen the hard work and dedication of those who helped raise them. Those people had the scars physically and emotionally to prove they were battle-tested. These are things that a child must know to be able to deal with what’s in store for them.
It’s hard to strike a balance
Somehow you’ve got to find a way to balance the good with the bad. No one is saying that you should sugarcoat slavery and turn it into something it wasn’t. The main problem with focusing solely on slavery is that it doesn’t highlight all the other suffering that came after it. A child must be able to connect the dots when it comes to what happened during slavery, and its impacts on the lives of African Americans in the years afterward. If you forget what life was like for those people in the past several hundred years after the Civil War, then a significant part of the timeline is missing. How life is today is a result of the unbelievable suffering of people in the not so distant past.
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom
The takeaway here is to give the child the full spectrum of the culture and the past. A mix of both has to be instilled in them. They have a way of blending, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to talk about the foods your family ate and how they were linked to poverty or even slavery. The child should be aware of the current situation and feel that their future can be bright if they’re willing to work hard. Your food, music, and art are all part of the African experience. So is the past and, more importantly, the future as well. Combine it all to make sure your child has a balanced view of who they are and where they come from. Try your best to put faces to the names of the people who you discover during your trip through time. Seek out distant relatives who may have pictures or stories they can share. A well-rounded view of themselves and those who came before them will lay the foundation for the future ahead.