The worth of a Black Child in America

Zero.  Zilch.  Nil.  Nada.  Not a god damn thing.

In America, black children are not worthy to be seen as children.   Emmett Till’s life wasn’t worth a whistle and Trayvon Martin’s wasn’t worth a stroll from the snack store.

I’m not a parent.  I can only imagine how Trayvon’s parents feel.   I don’t even want to think about how black American parents are feeling right now.   As adults, they horribly understand how some people in America feel about us.  But how do you explain that to a child?

How do you explain that our people have been in America since it was a colony, but we will never be considered “real Americans.”  How do you explain that we will forever be made to be aware of our otherness?  Not because we choose to highlight it, but because some of the “real Americans” do it for us.

How do you prepare your child for that fact that being black in America means that you have little to no room for error?

How do you prepare your black child for that moment I would venture to say that every black person has had in America?    The definitive soul-crushing moment where they realized that no matter what he/she does that to some of the “real Americans” he/she is just a (negative) stereotype.   That moment where someone has decided that his/her thoughts, feelings, and actions are not worthy, real, or even worth consideration.

How can you teach a black child all of that without in damaging his/her innocence in some way?

The next time some misguided soul asks you “Why can’t you just be an ‘American’?”  Tell him/her that “My people have been trying to be for centuries.”

It’s 2013 and the trees in the South still bear a strange fruit.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 13:24:40

    Beautifully expressed Pika. And right on target.


  2. annesquared
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 19:48:14

    I am the mom of two children – one with white skin and one with brown skin. I was a small child during the sixties and my parents used that as an opportunity to educate us on the condition of this country and that changes needed to be made. Family not only talked about it but incorporated words into practice – for anyone, regardless of race or country of origin. (My father’s country of origin was the basis of discrimination for his family – and the solution pounded into our heads has been “education.”)
    My work in the late 80’s and through the 1990’s took me to some very rural parts of the country. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that segregation still existed. The targeted group? It depended on the part of the country.
    My belief is that we cannot allow our children to be innocent to the hazards, risks, and recriminations of discrimination – and how they can become responsible to make a change – regardless of our ethnicity or theirs, or the hue of skin.


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