February is Black History Month and I’ve recently been reflecting on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It brings to the forefront some of my fears and dreams for my daughter that I have been feeling this past year. While the color of my skin is white, my family has skin of color. Thus, the issues of black culture and black society impact me directly. I am so thankful that my husband is extremely knowledgeable on the subject of black history and those who paved the way for his rights. As such, he can pass this down to our daughter and ensure she is confident in both heritages that run through her blood.
While she is biracial, the majority of society just sees her as black. Rev. King’s dream was that our black children would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. This year marks 54 years since that speech. That dream has not fully been realized. It is still a dream in progress.
I am thankful that his dream has not died. There are those of us that still carry the torch of that dream, in the hopes that this new generation might have a better chance at being judged by their character alone than in these past couple generations since the “I Have a Dream” speech.
I do worry each day that my husband may not return home to me, just because of the color of his skin – he is one of the most upstanding citizens I know. However, I also know that the color of his skin may supersede that fact when he is out in the world. I worry about my daughter being seen as just a black girl, or a black woman, and having to prove herself more than a young white girl or white woman does.
Our daughter is only 7 years old, but here are the things our family is doing right now to prepare her to further this collective Dream of ours and to overcome those that seek to judge her purely by the color of her skin:
- Educating her on her black heritage
- Letting her know that not everyone is nice and that not everyone will like her
- Letting her know that some people don’t like brown or black people (we try to be honest with her without being specific at this point)
- Teaching her about great men and women of color who have come before her, so she has something to aspire to
- Surrounding her with strong black women of varying ages that can encourage her through this journey we call life
- Working on the content of her character
- Loving her more than anything, so she can carry that into the world
We wish we could protect her and shield her from everything in life, but life moves too fast, and they grow up too quickly. We have to teach her what is behind the Dream from an early age, and then she can continue to dream herself.