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

posted 8 years ago in Parenting
Post # 77
834 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

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@Frog E.:  Hahahaha! Yeah she is silly! She LOVES dinosaurs!!! She has a collection in her room! I thought it was kind of odd at first because she’s a girl but I’m starting to love them myself! Lol

Post # 78
160 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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@honeybee1999:  I agree with you 100%


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@MrsStrawberry24:  Giving your child the best education that you can possibly afford is top priority! Congrats on being a great mother and sacrificing for your child when necessary.

I think that exposure to children and families that share the same racial culture as you is equally important though. I don’t suggest you promote your son hang with “pookie and them” but it is wonderful (especially as a Black male) for your son to be exposed to other young black men that are succeeding and who come from other families that value education and morals that are similar to yours. While race isn’t such a huge factor while in elementary, middle or even high school….later in life it becomes a factor (most of the times very subliminally) and it helps to have people that he can relate to that are dealing with the same things.

I am AA and I have had a VERY diverse educational and cultural background (public school, private school, Afrocentric schools, schools overseas, boarding prep school, predominately white, predominately black, HBCU, PWI). The diversity in my schooling taught me to adapt in any situation and love (deserving people) equally. HOWEVER, I have found that while I can work and socialize with people of all races and cultures, I feel most at home with people that are like me.

I have a 4 year old son and we recently moved to panhandle FL (which is very different from DC where we just came from). We bought a house on the “white side of the tracks”. My son is zoned for the best school in the county and he is one of few AA kids in his class. He has no problem with it, but I feel the difference. He is asked on less playdates, he has come home saying things that are never said in my house, and he talks to teachers in a way that I was never allowed to speak…..not curse words or anything crazy….just a very different respect level than I was raised on….different culture.

That’s my 2 cents.

Post # 79
583 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@MrsStrawberry24:  when i have kids i will enroll them in the best school possible no matter the race of the kids. thats so rude of ur sister to say. I’m sorry! Do what’s best for YOUR son! Tell her instead of focusing on your son she should focus on her son. that might shut her up! (:

Post # 80
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Have only read some of the earlier replies in this topic and I agree

Education is foremost and keymost the way to right thoughts of prejudice, racism etc right round this globe

You are 100% doing right by your child… and I admire what you are doing

Personally, I understand the want to teach one’s children their cultural / ancestoral history (that is certainly a good thing) and there are plenty of wonderful role models to be found in all races… that can emphasize that history

But what your sister said, well irks me… because for lack of a better term, how does “intentionally” dumbing-down the way one speaks convey any positive messages ?

One should be proud of their heritage, but also of their families values and beliefs (clearly in your family, you have your heads screwed on properly… in that you are giving your child a very balanced view of the world IMO)

Sorry, I just don’t get it.  And I think it sad when Gang Members, Drug Dealers, and some Musicians / Rappers & Sports Figures, profess this “dumb down” attitude.  There are most certainly better role models out there for our childern… and we need to find them for the sake of our children.

Just my 2 cents.


Post # 81
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@MrsStrawberry24:  I am a young AA woman.  I grew up in the suburbs and I have heard I talk “too proper,” I’m too white….whatever.  I’ve heard it all.  You should not feel bad about being able to provide your child a life a way from crime and violence. He’s going to camp.  He’s getting a good private school education.  I went to private school and I was one of maybe 15 black kids in a school of 300. I was just like your son and I struggled with my identity for a while because of family members like your sister. I was always told I acted too white.  Made to feel like I didn’t belong.  Our family members would say me and my brother were spoiled, that our parents gave us too much. I am looking at where I am in life right now, and I wouldn’t be close to the person I am or see the success I have seen if my parents wouldn’t have made a decision early on to isolate me from the rough parts of the city.  They sacrificed being around black people to make sure I had the best life possible.  Your sister is probably jealous.  I don’t know her situation, but maybe she is upset she can’t provide the same for her children.  Or maybe she is just too small-minded to see the bigger picture.  Be proud that you are giving your son the best life you can.  He will be thankful as an adult. 

Post # 82
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

1. I love that your kid wants to be an accountant.

2. All you need to do is raise YOUR SON, which you’re doing. As he gets older, he’ll encounter these issues again and again in different ways, and he’ll work out his own responses to them. He may identify more with AAVE for a time, more with Standard English at others…he may develop the ability to “code switch,” which is the technical term for what you’re doing when you say that you “speak more slang” around other AA family and friends.

Or he may never find code switching natural. I have a biracial (African-American and white) coworker who grew up in a VERY white, very upper/upper-middle class town on the West Coast. I have never heard him code switch. We have other AA and Latino/a coworkers who grew up more immersed in the ethnic communities in their areas, and they definitely code switch when talking to each other…but again, never with my biracial friend.

Long story short — your son is black, but as PP have said, there’s not only one legitimate way to “be black.”

Post # 83
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

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@MrsStrawberry24:  linguistics is a fascinating topic for me. I just wanted to let you know that your son will eventually learn to speak differently with different groups of people… it’s called code switching, but that’s not important. Everybody does it to some degree. I certainly don’t talk to my grandmother the way I talk to my friends or even to my students. Your son is little right now, but you and your husband will continue to model the different ways you speak to different groups and he’ll pick up on it.

I think it sounds like you and your husband are doing a great job raising your son. Cleary your sister’s parenting style is different than yours, and I wouldnt’ put too much stock into what she said.

ETA: Next time I’ll read all the comments. 😉

Post # 84
516 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I am not AA or a parent..but I am a soon-to-be teacher. I have seen both sides of this story more times than I can count. That being said, I think you are doing exactly the right thing for your son. As others have mentioned, it has nothing to do with race but everything to do with quality education.

Unfortunately, for reasons that only God can explain, even today we segregate ourselves. Yes, the inner city areas/schools that your sister prefers to raise her children in tend to have a much higher population of minorities. And maybe he would enjoy being around kids who look like him a little more, but is that really what’s important? Besides, I would MUCH rather have my child exposed to diversity than to be sheltered and taught that they cannot act too “proper” or they will be denying who they are. 

When it comes down to it, inner city schools do not provide the students with the same types of opportunities that others can. They just do not have the resources or the money. The students are typically surrounded in violence and the level of peer pressure is multiplied. I have taught in these schools and have found that, because of these things, a lot of the students feel that this is the life that was chosen for them. They do not think that they have the power or ability to go any further than where they are. They do not have the same dreams, aspirations, or goals that other children may have. When talking to a 9 year old after he had started a (bloody) fight in the hallway, he told me that he felt it didn’t matter what he did or how hard he worked because he was going to end up in jail anyway. My heart broke for those children each and every day I had to go to those schools. Not because they were AA, and not because they didn’t act “proper,” but because I fear that they will never be able to see their potential when they are living in a place that provides no hope.

I understand the whole idea of the AA language and some of the customs that come along with it. This is part of a culture, and also has nothing to do with race. Which is why the fact that your son’s skin color may match his cousins has nothing to do with how he should behave. We all have our own culture. For example, someone who likes to snowboard versus someone who likes to ski. They each have their own lingo and speak their own “language” and may not even like each other at times. 🙂

This also really comes down to your son’s future. As a parent, you want your child to succeed, and I do not know why anyone would want to hold their children back. Your sister referred to your lifestyle or your son’s behavior as “proper” and that is exactly what it is considered in mainstream society. And this makes a big difference when going to college and applying for jobs. Just as someone who speaks English may be more likely to be hired for a customer relations position than someone who speaks Chinese, someone who speaks “proper” English is probably more likely to than someone who does not. I am not saying I agree with this at all, but it is just a fact of life. And yet another barrier that is placed in front of these children that feel they have to act a certain way to “fit in with their race.”

Sorry for the book I just wrote, and I hope I do not offend anyone. If I had it my way, I wish we could all be colorblind. Saying your child isn’t “black enough” is just as racist as segregating bathrooms in my opinion.

How exhausting it must be for some to try to fit in instead of being themselves.


Post # 85
8482 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2014

Your sister sounds like a total bitch. How can any young child be “too proper?”

I’ve had people say this about my Fiance and one of my best friends though. They’re black, but I guess dont talk “hood” enough for the town we live in. I cant tell you how many times they’ve been asked if they were raised by white people. Wtf?

Post # 86
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Devil’s advocate here, I can kind of understand that your family might want you to socialize your son with other AA children for cultural reasons. My family is from Laos, and I have one nephew who was never around his cousins growing up. My sister kept him pretty sheltered and chose to have him do school events and team sports instead of hanging out with the rest of us. Now that he’s older, he is sort of a fish out of water at family functions. He doesn’t speak Lao, doesn’t eat some Lao foods, etc. Don’t think of it as a race thing, more of a cultural thing. It may help with identity issues in the long run.

Post # 87
10361 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m white and I actually have been in a school where i’m a minority – a special magnet school in CA (we lived in a neighborhood that was almost all Philippino and black for a few years when I was 6-9 years old). I thought it was amazing! I learned a ton about Asian cultures, food etc and loved it.

I think your family feels threatened by your success, and they are using your child to get to you. He’s clearly making connections and learning things that are setting him on a path to success!

Post # 89
3667 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

My brother and I were in a similar situation growing up. We both went to a private, predominantly white school. He was uncomfortable and actually mistreated there (there were far fewer boys of color and a worse attitude toward them as opposed to girls) and made the decision to transfer to a different school (still private but predominantly black), while I stayed. I appreciate that our parents let us gauge our own comfort level and make the choice for ourselves as to whether to stay or go.

Post # 90
44 posts
  • Wedding: April 2012

Here’s my take FWIW (I’m not AA and do not have kids yet).  From your other posts, I believe that your son is from another marriage.  So, your son seems to be blessed with a stepfather who (1) loves him as his own and (2) is committed to making good choices for him and (3) seems really involved.  Oh, and from your picture, I gather that your DH is AA.  So, it seems to me that your son already has a pretty awesome AA male role model – pretty sure that having two awesome AA parents is pretty good exposure to what it means to be AA.  And you said that he gets to be in the AA community through school and family functions.  Sometimes it seems that people play the race card when they’re actually commenting on socio-economic or cultural issues.  You seem to be raising a young man who will be able to navigate all of those issues (no matter what label someone puts on them).  I think you seem awesome:)

Post # 91
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Good for you.  Stick up for what you believe in.  Franky, I’m really astonished when the slang/gangter rap/etc. culture is pushed as being the norm for African Americans.  Since when did that culture replace the true culture of Africa?

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