(Closed) Our son isn’t Black enough???

posted 8 years ago in Parenting
Post # 32
Member
1130 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I come from a mixed race family (seriously, everyone is in interracial marriages/relationships) so it always shocks me when people think this way. I’m not ignorant that people associate race with education and that people should “act their race”, I just think it’s ridiculous. I think it really sets people back when they think they or anyone else should act a certain way because of the color of their skin. People have thought I was everything from Hawaiian to Somoan to Hispanic to Indian, you name it. If I followed that logic, people would think I had multiple personality disorder (the psych nerd in me wants to correct that to dissociative identity disorder).

Post # 33
Member
1351 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

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@MrsStrawberry24:  You sound like you are doing a fantastic job at raising your son I wish more parents were like this.  It really saddens me when people say a black person is “too white” because they can speak properly… Don’t people understand that is insulting to your whole race? Speaking properly is not a white thing it’s an education thing.  I think this is why black kids get stuck in these vicious cycles sometimes because everyone around them will make fun of them for being “too white”.  This whole outlook just makes me so sad. Your son will grow up to be a well educated, successful, and respected person and you should be so proud of that.

Post # 34
Member
1351 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I AM your son, just now all grown up and 25 (and a girl hehe). Forget them. I turned out just fine. I was the only AA person in my school up until 8th grade, and at that point there were only a couple. I don’t care what race my friends are (and they run the gammet of races). My parents chose quality education as their primary focus, and in our area it meant living in the better district. It was not their fault nor their problem if there weren’t “enough” AA or any other races. My extended family has ALWAYS been mean to me, and said I’m not “black enough.” There is no single definition of what it means to be black (or any other race). You have to do what’s best for your family! And I was VERY sheltered too. I don’t resent my parents, I love them, and have an awesome relationship with them! Sure, I wish more elite schools were more diverse, but until that point I’m not going to purposely deny my future kiddos the best education they can get! You know you can PM me if you ever want to vent- I’ve been there!

Post # 35
Member
1828 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

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@MrsPom:  I wish I could have worded my earlier response as eloquently as you did – this is exactly my sentiment!

Post # 36
Member
1211 posts
Bumble bee

Well as I WAS that kid in school.

My parents were all about giving me the best education possible. Ppl always joke about me being a “talking dictionary” because my vocabulary is massive. Not large for a “black person” just huge in general. My city is mostly white, the few black ppl we have now are university exchange students. 

You need to do what’s best for your kids and that’s giving them the best education possible. It was nice when I met more black ppl because there was a time when I felt the need to be more connected to them but now a few years later I don’t talk to any of the black friends i made in Uni and I’m swimming in white people again lol. 

All u need to do is raise a well educated well rounded young man. When it comes to the skin colour of his friends let him figure that out for himself. Skin colour really doesn’t matter but having other black kids around CAN help him feel a little less “other”. Though it sounds like he gets that through family and church. 

It sounds like you’re doing a great job with him.

Post # 37
Member
1211 posts
Bumble bee

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@Mrs.Elivs:  Ahhhh! This is what I was trying to say (I’m even 25 too!) but I’ve been working night shift so I’m still only half awake.

Post # 38
Member
773 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It sounds like your little guy is going to grow up to be quite the gentleman!

I think its important for kids to be exposed to all sorts of people and cultures. Of course hes going to be excited to see AA kids, but I was excited too when I was little if someone had the same hair colour or skin as me. But I was even more excited if someone liked the same tv show or game! And if hes getting a good education, thats (IMO) super important. And if he made some new friends at camp, even better!

Post # 39
Member
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I am AA and a parent and as a child i had the same issues. People would talk about me because i sounded too white and didnt like to get in trouble and got good grades. Our son is will be 2 on sunday and people still talk about us because we dont let him snack on candy and because he has manners and says Please.. What your sister said is so ignorant .. Your son will be well rounded and it doesnt matter what race he is around because his parents will educate him on where he came from and that it will be ok.. Your doing a great job .. I came out just fine being the only AA in school and in sports and I know our son will be just fine getting a great education whether he will be the only AA or not.. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !!!!

Post # 43
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

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@MrsStrawberry24:  Specifically in response to the slang and talking “proper” issue…

I am an engineer working in an office in Center City Philly.  I moved from Center City to South Philly, to a blue-collar type of neighborhood that is traditionally white Irish and Italian people.  I am white as well.  When I started meeting neighbors and became involved in a community group, I heard a lot of slang (examples: “ain’t”, “he don’t”, “them guys”, “yous”, etc.).  I had never spoken like but the crazy thing is now when I attend meetings for this group, I find myself talking that way!  I guess it’s something we naturally do to fit in more in our environment.  I notice my husband doing the same thing when he talks to his neighborhood friends.

Do I have a point?  I’m not sure haha.  I think I’m trying to say that your son, having been exposed to different environments, will be a well-rounded person able to relate to all different people.  Also, that slang and speaking “improperly” (which often just means a different vernacular than we are used to) is not exclusive to any particular race and is probably more related to education level.

Post # 44
Member
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I really hate when someone gets called “white” just because they speak properly. Not only is it insulting to the speaker, but also implies a great deal of superiority to white people. Obviously white people are not the only ones who can speak properly and anyone who believes that is so ignorant that their opinions should receive no attention whatsoever.

Your sister should be the last one telling you what you should be exposing your son to. Sounds like she has no boundaries to what her sons gets exposed to.

The only thing that should matter when enrolling your child in school is the school’s academic program. Although I would prefer my children to attend a multi-ethnic school, I would not sacrifice a great school for exposure to other kids “like” them. If your son is comfortable that’s all that matters.

Post # 45
Member
2598 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Well, I WAS the minority, x 2: I was the ONLY Asian kid in my class (although not my school), and one of the few mixed-race kids (that wasn’t a pan-Euro mix), and I was also one of maybe 5 kids in a class of 40 that was not Jewish. Back in the 80s, this was perhaps less fun than it it is now–now I’d probably be the most popular kid around if I brought leftover dim sum to lunch because it’s old hat these days, but back in 1985, I was a lunchtime leper with zero trading rights. I also have grown into a “Beige-an,” can’t speak Chinese, and don’t really have that strong a connection to my Chinese heritage, sadly. And there weren’t a whole lot of Chinese/Asian role models when I was growing up (can you name one figure of national importance to American history who is Asian-American?). That’s a direct result of the kinds of exposure my parents provided for me–which wasn’t really about race at all, but moreso about the enrichment they wanted me to have growing up. They wanted me to go to a good school that worked for the type of kid I was, which happened to be white and Jewish. They wanted me to play sports, so I played soccer and tennis and was on a swim team because those were the local youth organizations near us. They wanted me to partake in the fine arts, so I took art classes and played piano and did the symphony for youth–in part because my mom did those things when she was little and wanted to pass them on. Dad has always been a big reader; I became a big reader. But my point is, aside from family gatherings and what we ate (since my mother cooks a lot of Chinese), race wasn’t really at the center of their ideology over how to raise me–if anything, they were more influenced by socioeconomic class than race (my Dad, a WASP to the nth degree, for example, started giving us wine with dinner at young ages and taught us how to sail and was really gung-ho about me going to Princeton (I didn’t)).

The class issue tends to be more divisive and defining than straight-up race, in my experience. My DH, for example, grew up in a very poor part of the city and went to public schools his whole life which he says were “more real” than my hoity-toity private school upbringing. And he’s adamant that his own child should get “street cred.” To me, this is a statement that’s more about validating my DH’s past and his upbringing and that’s understandable. And fine–I’m willing to consider the outlets that DH proposes to bring the kid “street cred” but NOT at the expense of our child’s education or safety. So while I think that your sister has a point in that all children should interact with as diverse a public and diverse a world as they can, I don’t think that your son’s scholarly nature or “properness” is incompatible with being AA. 

At the end of the day, you try to raise the child who will turn into an adult who has qualities that you respect and admire. My DH and I have talked about our own (mixed race) future child and decided that two qualities that we want to foster in our child are the capacity to think critically, thoughtfully, and carefully, as well as the awareness to be kind to others. I don’t think that these values are subject to being of a certain race, and I bet that the things that you hope for in your son transcend ethnicity as well. i would focus on that first–raising the kid as the individual, not as ambassador of a certain race or class. 

Don’t know if that helps–kind of rambly, but hope it does…

Post # 46
Member
1434 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

@MrsStrawberry24:  Hell to the no.

I am black, raised in the same environment as you are saying that your son is. I would never, ever, ever, ever, change his school, because they try to give “urban” school less tools to educate, and the teachers do not try as hard.

As far as exposing him to other black children, it’s a good idea, as long as they are positive kids. In the same token, you need to keep him away from degenerate white kids, too, cause they do crazy things like huff on air conditioners. I was told I was too white and all that. It wasn’t until I got to college, that I gravitated to black people.

What’s important is that your son understand that black people are just like white people. You don’t want him to get the negative stereotypes of black people in his mind. And he doesn’t have to know rap songs. There’s nothing wrong with his language. My niece used to talk very properly and correctly until she got around children who talked flatly and with slang. But this is not black culture. It is simply lazy, uncaring parents, as you say. However, once your child is in school, the majority attitude will overpower what you taught the kid, so you have to make sure he’s deeply engrained with what’s right, so the majority won’t pull him too far the wrong way.

There’s gotta be other black people in your area, so I’d find some of them to hang out with. But just make sure he is well rounded and also talk to him about racism, make sure he’s not experiencing it from other kids at the white school. Some white kids don’t even realize they are racist, and they will say stuff like, you’re not like all the other black people. Make sure he knows that all the “other” black people are not like that either, because it’s a stereotype. Going to college made me realize that the majority of black people are NOT what you see on TV, in the news, on hiphop videos, etc. but this is what the white kids are exposed to. Think about it. If your son is not exposed to black people, you know good and well the white kids at his school probably don’t see black people either, unless it is on TV.

Lastly, do not let anyone tell you that your child is TOO anything. He is perfect just the way he is. Just make sure he stays are perfect as he can be when the world gets ahold of him.

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