Subject To Change

September 29, 2017 Flora Ekpe-Idang

As a child, the back to school season came with a mixture of emotions. I used to get so simultaneously nervous and excited that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump for joy or faint! Fast forward to the present, and I am now a parent dealing with those same emotions in the form of my children… Talk about nostalgia! I find myself reaching out to my mom and asking her how she made it through the old days. Was she as concerned for me as I am for my kids? Times have definitely changed between now and then. Not just the world we live in but the people in it as well. Every time I drop my boys off for school a piece of my heart goes with them. As I drive away, all of those childhood emotions return in overwhelming fashion. You know, anxiety and nervousness? I bombard myself with “what-ifs”. What if there's a fire? What if someone tries to harm them. What if a giant man-eating dinosaur storms in and attacks!? Okay, I may be over exaggerating a tad but don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it too! I'm sure these are ordinary concerns, however, I am no ordinary mom and my boys are no ordinary boys. 

We are BLACK! I know what you’re thinking… What does race have to do with anything? Why do black people always have to bring race into everything? Let's review some data before we dismiss skin color as a factor here. Per The Washington Post, black boys are almost three times as likely to be suspended than white boys, and black girls are four times as likely to be suspended than white girls. This pattern suggests that black students’ (mis)behavior is more often criminalized compared to other students. According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association based on national data from almost 25,000 students ranging from elementary all the way up to the college level. Black males were the only ones who showed significant signs of disidentification. My fears are rooted in facts. When I look at my boys I see innocence and joy. I see an eagerness to learn and a light that burns bright, longing to learn and engage with other children regardless of skin color. I pray that one day my fears are rectified and we all might view one another through the lens of a three-year-old. My prayer is that these facts are subject to change.

 

So to acknowledge black people always bringing race into everything. The answer is simple. There are white Americans who pretend there is no racial issue in this country. Notice I said “White Americans”. Other countries don’t seem to see race as much as America does. As a mom of two black boys, my job is to arm them with the knowledge that they are different and there are people out there who will dislike them for it. However, when only negativity is reinforced, negativity breeds. Therefore It is just as important to remind them that not everyone will judge them for being black. There are many wonderful people of all colors who will treat them with love and respect. Remember, as a parent you are to represent everything your child needs to be successful. Be the best representation you can be because as many parents alike can attest, the old saying holds true. What they see is what they do. They want to be just like you.  #BecauseRepresentationMatters #MommysConfession.