Posted by: sistermom1 | December 5, 2009

A Rough Time for Black Folks

It’s been a bit of a tough time for Black people in the US recently.  Need examples?

Syreena Williams getting fined $82,000 for her bad behavior at the US Open, the man who killed the four police officers in Washington State, the other men who have been accused of kidnapping and subsequently murdering a young girl whose mother is accused of selling her to them (all Black people), Tiger Woods’ automobile accident and subsequent marital/hoochie mama problems, Desiree Rogers and the White House gate-crasher backlash, President Obama’s dropping poll rates as he increases the number of troops going to Afghanistan, Oprah’s even calling it quits after 25 years. 

The people who many of us have allowed to represent “us” to the larger culture are actually all flawed and very human – even sub-human in some cases.  It really has been a rough few weeks for Black people in America.

I appreciate the comic relief (and openness!) of Chris Rock’s Good Hair movie, the excitement of Disney’s first African American princess, the ridiculous number of black people besides Oprah and Tyra with talk shows or reality shows (Tavis Smiley, Mo-Nique, Wanda Sykes, Ray-J, Diddy…) and the good behavior of several other Black athletes (college and professional) we DO want our children to at least look up to.  Of course, I do not know any names I could list here because those people are usually far from the paparazzi (Thank God!).

I am old enough to remember when Black people took everything negative that any Black person that got TV exposure did – even if done in a moment of crazy inappropriateness – as a personal affront. 

Remember when we learned that beyond all official theories and despite everything we “knew” to be true, the Washington, DC sniper was a Black man?  You could have heard a pin drop in Black America when we learned THAT reality-changing fact!  That OJ was aquitted of killing a white man and white woman! 

In the past, I have wondered if White people think this way when one of them does something crazy/stupid/terrible and newsworthy?  By what I have observed through my exposure, no, they do not.  This is something I have always found to be interesting.  The notion of concern about what members of  other groups think about anything that they do seems completely foreign to them.  (I know I am speaking collectively which may bother some people, but this is my observation and interpretation, so I am, sticking with it!)

My point?  I am not sure that I have one other than expressing my observations/experience in the world.  I am not always and only focused on my illness, which may be surprising since it plays such a huge part in my daily life.  I often wonder how our Black youth (especially my two!) will be greeted in and navigate through the world that they have inherited.  It is so much different than the world in which I grew up.  The pace of life, the amount of information access they have, the television shows (reality and otherwise) and the amount of general screen time that children today can have combine to make me more thoughtful about how we are raising our two kids.  Despite my own limitations, I strive to be creative about interacting with my children (they are 10 and 13) and helping them move successfully through the current age as young Black Americans.  My husband and I are working to figure it out on a daily basis.  Hopefully you will see how successful we will be in the near future when you meet them in the workplace, or in the mall – hopefully not doing anything too embarassing!

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