Monday, November 2, 2009

Who Will Love The Black Child?

image I am an advocate for children.  I believe in their right to grow in environments filled with love and understanding.  I believe that we must respect them as little beings and not allow their diminutive size to obscure their value.  The issue becomes complicated when we begin to move away from the universal definition of child, to understand that though all children are a gift, not all children are understood to be special.

We first learn to devalue Blackness in childhood. The journey to discover self love can take a lifetime.  Black children are especially vulnerable because even though they have the same inexperience as  White children, their innocence is not respected or loved.  We devalue Black children because we devalue Black people.  Every single negative social construction that applies to  Black bodies, attaches itself to these innocent children.

I hold my children in the tightest of embraces.  Each day I tell them that I love them.  I know that the time I get to spend with them is truly a blessing.  It was not long ago that my foremother would have had her child ripped from her arms as  she struggled with all of her strength.  When I fight for the rights of Black children, it as a woman who knows how tenuous our motherhood has historically been. 

Very few will fight for the rights of a Black child.  They remain to this day a member of the least powerful group socially.  My heart aches that they should know so much pain.  It is this anguish that gives rise to my voice.  If we cannot protect our children from pain who will?  If we cannot love our children in the face of the ugliness that is set upon them who will?

Whiteness would love to see us cast aside our babies.  They are our future and the best of us flows within their tiny beating hearts.  When we turn our backs on them, it is a reflection of how much we have come to hate the wounded child that lives inside us all.

It is not cute or a simple matter when Black people decide purposefully to ignore the needs of Black children to instead embrace White children.  How can you not hear the outcry of  these little boys and girls that need a loving home?  How can you leave them to rot in a system that will ensure that their potential is stifled before it can even begin to express itself?  Black children do not actively choose to avoid learning, it is systemic racism that teaches them that it is a fruitless effort.

Each day Black children cry out for love and guidance and what do they get in return?  If the violence and drug use that commonly occurs in urban neighbourhoods were instead happening in a suburb filled with White children, you can be certain that there would be a nation wide task force charged with finding a solution.  The news reports on the grim events and it serves as a form of voyeuristic entertainment that neither gives rise to sympathy or concern.  These are not the children of Whiteness that lay cold in a morgue. These are not the children of Whiteness that have a serial prison number rather than a name.

Anger at the lost potential is quickly silenced.  No one is to mourn for Black children because their passing, their pain, or their ignorance, is just one more rock upon which Whiteness builds its foundation.  If you claim to love and embrace Blackness, how can you do so without loving Black children?

Not only am I unabashedly Black but I am a Black mother with a deep love and respect for Black children.  If this means I must trample upon the sensibilities so that one child can have even a glimmer of hope,  I am prepared to do so.  If this means I must call out members of my community because they have become so enamoured with Whiteness that they cannot see the need in our communities, I am prepared to do so.  No taunt of racist will deter me from my goal. I wear this label with pride because I know that I have earned this in the service of a Black child.

All children are precious but not all children are born equal.  We have no time to concern ourselves with the emotions of others, when there is literally a crises in the Black community.  It is time to make a purposeful choice.  It is time to save our children.  The Nell Carters, Wares and Sykes of this world be damned.  If we are ever going to accomplish anything as a people, it must begin with the protection of our most vulnerable members.