(Black) Boys 2 (Black) Men

By Annie Holmes

About a year ago, my husband and I were talking about disciplining our children. We are raising three boys (11, 8 and 8 months). During the conversation, my husband stated, “You are raising boys. I am raising men.” As we unpacked this statement, I found that he was not diminishing my approach to parenting, but that he was drawing upon his experiences as a black man growing up in the Unites States.

We began to talk about the conversations he had with his father, that as a black daughter I was not privy to. We have had to talk with them about engaging with police. We talked about our desire to see them be strong and independent with sky high dreams and a strong education to back that up, while at the same time being vulnerable, caring, kind, social justice minded and honest. We talked about appearance, how they should carry themselves and setting priorities. We both want the same things, but our lenses are very different.

We are consciously raising black boys to be black men. We talk about it. We pray about it. And we prepare them for it. Because, we know that no matter how hard we try, how much wealth we have or what kind of car we drive, when people see our boys, they won’t see the values that have been instilled. Nor will they see their intelligence. But, Dr. King’s vision has not been realized. They will yet be judged by the color of their skin. So, while I try to do my part to change this great big world, we will continue to raise our black boys to be black men.

Annie Holmes is a wife, mother of three amazing brown boys and higher education administrator. Her work involves access, equity and inclusion in learning and workplace environments. Her true passions are family, social justice, and singing. She tends to find ways to do them all. 

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