It’s a new day in the new year, y’all. And here at CocoaMamas, we are gearing up to make 2015 our best year ever. With a dynamic rotation of Cocoa Mamas coming on board, your favorite Black mothering group blog will make 2015 the year to remember.
See you real soon.
Photo credit: Nestle via flickr
To my children, my Prince and my Queen,
This week you returned back home from spending the summer with your grandparents. For eight weeks, you engaged in what so many of our people have done for generations: spent the summers unburdened by camps and activities in order to spend time with your extended family, surrounded by the love of folks who knew you before you even took your first breath. You learned a different way of being, likely seeing more people who look like you in eight weeks than you do the remaining weeks of the year at home. A friend called it “black camp;” over the summer, you received an immersion education in the ways of black folks.
Usually, the eight weeks are a time of rest and relaxation for your father and I.
Yet the events of this summer made this time less carefree than usual. More importantly, and in a manner far more dire, I’m scared about my ability to protect you.
I want to write something poignant and meaningful. I want to offer some deep insight into the latest Israeli offensive against the occupied Palestinian people. I want to say something.
All I can say is that I mourn for the mothers of Gaza.
Doc McStuffins, Disney’s black doctor character, is a “crossover hit.” Sales of Doc McStuffins character products are evenly distributed by race and even gender, prompting a popular refrain about the virtues of colorblindness, as reported by the New York Times:
“‘The kids who are of color see her as an African-American girl, and that’s really big for them,’ said Chris Nee, the creator of Doc McStuffins. ‘And I think a lot of other kids don’t see her color, and that’s wonderful as well.'”
If only that were true.
People want to believe that young children do not see color. It seemingly provides us with the opportunity to intervene on young minds before racial stereotypes take hold. If young children do not see color, then we can provide multi-cultural materials to promote diversity, even when our personal lives — where we live, the conversations in which we participate, with whom we educate our kids — fail to reflect the racial equality and diversity we say we value.
What is true is that kids do “see” color because it is embedded into the very fabric of who we are as a nation. But kids, especially white children, are taught to ignore what they see, which is very different than not seeing color at all.
New Blog: Dr. Mama Esq.
I have a new blog: Dr. Mama Esq.!
I recently graduated from Stanford with a JD/PhD, and I know that my journey as a black mother and professional may be inspiring to others. Over there, I am sharing my experiences as a young black mother and wife with mental health issues and three kids in a top graduate program. If you love CocoaMamas, please subscribe to Dr. Mama Esq. This site will stay open, but posting will likely be quite light here while I focus on this new endeavor. But I will continue to share my thoughts on raising black children in a world that is often hostile to their very existence. It will just be on the other site :)
I hope to see many of you there.
Although I thought this was old news, there is a new picture of the Carters that apparently has some folks critiquing the parents and others, including this well written article, chastising those who are talking crazy about Blue Ivy’s hair. If you didn’t know, Blue Ivy is the daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z, and her hair is a natural mess.
And I think that’s a good thing.
Uh, and I know it’s just a fantasy
I cordially invite you to ask why can’t it be
Now we can do nothing bout the past
But we can do something about the future that we have
We can make it fast or we can make it last
Every woman queen and every man a king and
When those color lines come we can’t see between
We just close our eyes till its all black everything
Last weekend, I found out that I can’t move to Oakland when I finish my degrees. This was huge news for me; I’ve been at Stanford, in Palo Alto, for the last seven years. I’ve brought two children into the world here, and placed my firstborn in schools here. I have a love-hate relationship with Palo Alto. For for all its suburban beauty and safety, I feel like I am missing something. A piece of who I am. I hate the looks I get. I feel like an alien in this community. The peninsula doesn’t have a lot of us.
See, I grew up in Philly. I lived around all black folks. I went to school with all black folks in elementary and went to an integrated high school where everyone was “gifted.” I have always knew I was black without anyone having to tell me. I’ve never felt any shame about being black. LaToya was smart, and funny, and cute, and black. None of those things felt like a contradiction in terms.
My kids don’t have that. “Mommy, why am I the only black boy in my class?” I hate to tell him he’s the only black boy in his GRADE. “Mommy, I think my white dolls are cuter than my black dolls.” “But you’re beautiful. You look like me!”
So, for them, I desperately wanted to get out. But, I soon found out, race is not the only thing that matters. So does money.