Welcome to my new series a little something I call, “Growing up Black”. I’ve been waiting so long to share this with you all – a few months to say the least. Every now and then I will be touching upon what it’s like growing up black. I was raised in a black family with core values and structure, but I grew up in a PWI (predominantly white institute) setting. I attended an all-girls PWI catholic school, lived in a white-dominated neighborhood, and had mostly white friends growing up. Basically, what I am saying is that all my life people have made these assumptions about me and “growing up black”. I’m here to give you the real deal of what it was like for me to “grow up black”. This one is for all the friends who never understood why I wasn’t allowed to sleep over their house, why I never called my parents by their first name, why I couldn’t go out every weekend, why I had to wear a headscarf, why I did housework before I was even asked, lol.
The reality is that black children and families are raised very differently than white families. There a lot more situations that we (black children) have to think about: police interaction, carrying ID, dressing a certain way, etc. My experience in a black family is not the same experience as my other brothers and sisters nor is it the same for every other black family. It is important to understand this. We all have different parents and family structures, but most of us were raised with similar social rules to think about.
I came up with the top 5 phrases I’ve heard growing up:
- “Don’t talk back”
- “No sleepovers”
- “Keep your hands out of your pocket “
- “Be in touch with your blackness”
- “Wash the pots and pans”
While we might look the same (or so many believe), have similar skin tones, eat fried chicken (I do not), or follow all the other stereotypes that come with being black, we are all beautiful, strong, loving, and caring black people. We are not just stereotypes. We are not just a statistic. We are human. Don’t label us.
I hope you enjoy this series just as much as I do. I am so beyond grateful for being black. I wouldn’t change it in another lifetime. The struggle has been real, but being black has taught me respect, independence, beauty, strength, and power. It’s taken me a long time to truly be #wokeblack and I am still not fully there, but I know I love my blackness and I am proud.