Preparing for Black History Month
Hello friends! Macie here. I’m so excited for you to read Kiana’s thoughts on preparing for Black History Month. This is the first of many posts we have coming your way about this over the next month. Even if you don’t have kids of color, I believe these will still be of great value to you personally and in your parenting. I encourage you to lean in, ask questions, and listen. Now here’s Kiana!
“The thought of black history month should excite me. However, as a transracial adoptee who grew up in an extremely predominantly white town it still makes me cringe, even 5 years post high school. If you are an adoptive parent of a child that even slightly resembles African American decent, Black History Month is something you need to prepare for. Quite frankly, in most schools, it’s a disgrace to Black History and a discomfort to us kids.
Imagine sitting down in your seat and as soon as the word “black” comes out of your teacher’s mouth, all heads are suddenly on a swivel in your direction. Imagine when the words “negro” or “slavery” are said in whatever movie you’re watching or book you’re reading aloud. That is what the month of February has always entailed for me.
As for grade school, you can typically expect five years of “I have a dream,” short essays, & no knowledge of what MLK actually did. Black History Month is usually a surface level head nod towards three things: slavery, MLK, and occasionally Rosa Parks. But what about Nina, Ruby, Maya, and Malcolm? Why is it that each year black history is diminished to slavery, assassination, and incarceration? What about the writers, creators, activists, doctors, and athletes. There’s so much more to black History month than those who were enslaved, incarcerated, or assassinated; but most schools won’t teach that. So you will need to prepare. You will need to prepare both yourself and your children.
Prepare for the fact that you might have to go to the school and ask for your child to be removed from their history class. Because people repeatedly asking your child what it must’ve felt like being a slave is inappropriate. Prepare yourself for the “I just don’t feel good” phone calls and the early pickups because they will surely happen.
Prepare your kids; this is even more important than preparing yourself! Black history should not just be one month out of the year. It should be a regular thing. Prepare your child by normalizing their ethnic history, the good and the bad. Buy some books. There are great ones out there! Read together, discuss together, celebrate the victories & accomplishments, and learn together. Doing the work beforehand and behind the scenes can help soften the blow of some of the things they’ll hear in school. It will help them immensely if they have a firm foundation already established.
And lastly, remember that Black History becomes apart of your families history, because when adopting kids, you adopt every single part of them, including the culture and its history. It’s worth you putting in the work for the sake of your child.”