America is on fire right now. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His death is added to the list of many killed by police brutality and violence against black bodies. Racism is real. It's been a real thing for hundreds of years, although many people try to downplay the fact that it is a reality, many minorities still face each day.
Since it is a reality, many families have to figure out how to approach the topic when speaking with young children. Kids are finding out at younger and younger ages that the color of their skin could be the sole reason someone hates them. One of my favorite YouTube families, Beleaf in Fatherhood, recently published a video where they sat their two oldest sons down to talk about racism in America. Glen "Beleaf" Henry started his channel to advocate for black families and put out a positive representation of black fatherhood. So it was no surprise to me that he would create such an informative video about his experience teaching his children about systematic racism along with his wife, Yvette "MrsMelanin" Henry.
In the video, Beleaf and Yvette speak with their sons, Theo and Uriah, about why some people may view them differently based on the color of their skin. It is clear that the boys comprehend some of what their parents were trying to explain, but not all of it. This reality made me cry as I watched the remainder of the 25 minute video.
I cried because I realized that so many children are having, or have had similar conversations with their parents and loved ones. So many young children have had their innocence ripped away because they have to be taught about the hate other people have toward them. It made me think about the conversations my parents had with my brother and I growing up. It made me realize that one day I will have to have this same conversation with my own children.
This is the reality of a child of color. We are taught from a young age how some people view us because we are black. When we are old enough to fully comprehend the hate we face, we notice it, even when we aren't paying attention. We face microaggressions and blatant racism each and every day on minor or major scales.
The trauma we face is exhausting. It is impossible to escape this reality. So black child, never feel like you are alone. I am exhausted for you. I'm exhausted that you have to carry the weight from the pain we face. I'm exhausted when you feel that pain in your stomach when you see a cop car. I'm exhausted when you realize that someone is following you around a store. I'm exhausted when people deny your friendship because their parents won't allow them to have a friend with skin like yours.
Though I am exhausted, I won't stop advocating for you. I will never allow your stories to become forgotten. I will encourage you to chase your dreams even when others try to stop you. I will fight for you when you feel weak. Your pain is valid. Your cries are heard. Your lives matter and all of your brothers and sisters of color will never allow you to feel alone.
To watch and listen to the conversation by Beleaf in Fatherhood, click here.