Black children have a right to be heard, loved and believed.
In the raising of Black children, we often overlook the need to provide a place of comfort for them. We become concerned, consumed by protecting them from the evils of the world, the flesh and the devil outside the walls of our homes. However, in attempting to endow them with the strength to go and conquer, we forget they are subject to the same psyche assaults of anyone else–if not more. I cannot tell you how often I have been told during the course of this month, in dealing with this topic, this quote, “Black people don’t get depression.” When the countenance of a Black child isn’t perpetually happy, or easily dealt with, those issues are ignored because so much else is going on: working, paying bills, raising children, adulting and trying to take care of ourselves. In the haze of trying to make it, things are missed–and what is missed? It’s often overheard at dinner tables, or kitchen phone conversation.
While we are or may be taught to ‘what happens in this house, stays in this house,’ in certain instances, family members vent to the willing listening of their family members about the issues facing the child or children–sadly, even in cases where the child may be struggling with an emotional issue- can be or is made fun of! It is not totally unorthodox for Black children to suffer from anxiety or depression or helplessness. Is it not fair to assume they need care and sensitivity as well? And why are we so quick to not extend it to our children?
Providing a place for a Black child to be safe is paramount. However, there must be an willingness to provide that. In the world we decide to make for ourselves, in trying to make sure we are okay as parents and adults, in masking our own untreated traumas, we assume that as we got over our stuff with no help, these little people being our children should be able to as well!
Trauma of any kind has to be dealt with, it doesn’t just get better. It can fester, morph and become something else all together different which may impede your ability to be sensitive trauma in people close to you–including your children. In that callous space, where you could attend to them, you shun them. In that shunning, we make our children less likely to come to us with matters that hurt or break their hearts because they don’t want to be made sport of.
In a world that wishes to devour black children, strip them of confidence, belittle them, hide their history from them so they may never know what heights they may reach, to have a safe space in their own home is phenomenal. The African-American community is the least likely to reach out for counseling services or mental health services. We make fun of people who do therapy or counseling services–we say ‘that’s what white folk do.’ This notion of trying to equip Black children for the reality outside of their homes, while not allowing them total personhood is monstrous on some level. A child that doesn’t feel safe at home, may never feel safe or wanted elsewhere.
Life is hard enough, and we all fight wars no one knows about. Sometimes its nice to be understood, listened to and not have your depression, bad break up, anxiety or ideations sniggled about over the cookout barbeques in the summer.
[images from Google]