Good People vs. Bad People
It’s starting earlier and earlier, and it breaks my heart. The way society paints black people in a bad light. This is happening in social media, but it is deeply embedded in the thoughts, beliefs, and values of all people. It is even more disheartening when young black children are making the decision of whose good and who is bad. As a parent, when you hear your own child’s point of view it may hit you like a ton of bricks, I know it did for me.
As Little and I drove by a neighborhood school, he asked me, as he pointed, “is that a good school?” Dealing with my kids, you must always stop and think before you respond. You never know what is going to happen next. I answered, “well, why do you want to know?” He explained that he may want to attend that school. Mind you, my Kings are always on to the next thing, whether it is their planning for next years birthday, their next meal, or when they are in trouble, and want to move quickly to the next conversation. For example, Little has been looking for a middle school since he was in Kindergarten. Knowing all of this, I asked, why he didn’t want to attend the school his brother was at currently? He responded quickly with, “all the bad black kids go there, and they have a lot of fights too.” I was shocked, maybe because of the way he said, “bad black kids” or maybe because I realized I hadn’t addressed race issues, in away an eight-year-old could understand. However, which Big says is my catch phrase. Today would be that day.
I didn’t want to be harsh, but, wanted him to comprehend that all black people weren’t bad and all white people weren’t good. I kept thinking about how society also had played a role in raising my kings, and it was time to dismantle those fixed thoughts. I started by asking him, if he truly felt all black people were bad? He answered with an immediate, No. I then asked if he thought all white people were good? He responded quickly again with a sharp, “No.” He then took his little hand and started educating me about how there were good and bad people and what he should have said was some. He also confessed that he gets confused sometimes because, of what he hears. I talked to him about how important it was for people to not group whole races of people together based on one person’s actions. We talked about a book we previously read, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and how this book explained, the thoughts, words, and actions of people and how they impacted the nation. That the words that have been written have benefited and harmed, but we want to be the type of people that bring light into dark spaces. I let him know, that wherever he is placed in life, it is because he is supposed to show the good of our people and he must choose to represent that daily. I was stunned that he was able to address, what he said was a mistake so quickly. If we as adults could do this what would the world be like? Let me know what you are doing to dismantle negative thoughts for your children?