Black history month is one of my favorite months of the year (and not just because my birthday falls right into the middle of it). It’s because it’s a time that My history; My culture… My roots… are celebrated. This is even more exciting to me as I’ve become a mother, and therefore entrusted with the task of teaching 3 little brown skinned girls of various hues the beauty of their heritage.
See, for some reason, color has become a touchy subject. Somewhere along the line, us, as African American people have stifled the conversation of our beautiful skin a bit. Somewhere in our effort to assimilate into the Anglo-American culture, we were taught we should shed our “true colors”. Which is such a shame because those “true colors” – they are oh so beautiful. Not only that, those true colors have a story to tell. A story that would get lost in the folds of time, if color didn’t matter.
If color doesn’t matter, the plight of those slaves like Harriet Tubman that were oh so brave to forge a path “literally” to freedom for their fellow slaves…. it wouldn’t matter.
The fact that Frederick Douglas educated himself so eloquently wouldn’t really be as big of a deal… if you didn’t know the color of his skin. You see, without knowing his color, you wouldn’t know the obstacles and adversity he faced in the 1800s to become the man that he was.
And don’t get me started on hair. You see, if color doesn’t matter, then there is no reason for me to teach my girls why their beautiful locks grow up instead of down, and that their kinks don’t make a “birds nest” but instead a glorious crown.
If color doesn’t matter, the blood, sweat and tears of so many (African American and Caucasian alike) who dedicated their lives to equality would just be an insignificant part of a feeble story which history spins into a fairy tale of sorts.
If color doesn’t matter, I can’t teach them to be aware of those in the world whose parents didn’t teach them the same. I can’t prepare them for the racism and hate they, unfortunately, will likely come face to face with at some point in their life.
I can’t teach them to go out and continue on in the battle for equality (and there is still, in fact, a battle for equality if you were unaware).
If color doesn’t matter, I can’t teach my girls that their black is beautiful. Just as beautiful as any other color.
If color doesn’t matter, my family and I no longer have a history before our freedom was stripped from us. I can’t teach them that while some people’s ancestors did arrive on the Mayflower, ours were not included on that.
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