A village answers ‘What does it mean to raise a Black child in the 21st century?’


I’ll get right down to it. I asked several people the following question: What does it mean to raise a Black child in the 21st century? And here are their answers.

F. (36, female, nurse): “It’s about instilling values of integrity, pride, hard work. You have to show your kids that being Black isn’t about what the TV or the radio says it is. It’s about teaching them how their grandparents and great-grandparents really went through it so that they can have a better life.”

S. (28, male, cook): “You have to get them off this slave mentality s#!t. If it weren’t for slavery and colonization, Black folks wouldn’t even be Christian. Everybody wants to hold on to it so tightly, but I feel it’s one of the barriers that have been holding us back. Teach your kids about African religions; the stuff we were doing way before slavery. Teach them an African language. Our kids don’t have to be African-American, or Black. Let them be Africans in America. Let then know they have a real home.”

Z. (33, female, healer): “Raising a Black child means being prepared to deal with double and triple consciousness. You have to understand, our children are smarter than we are. But things are moving so quickly that their social and spiritual selves are having a hard time keeping up. You have to give them God, family and friends, and you have to teach them how to put on the brakes and block out this crazy world.”

See more insight into what the “village” thinks it means to raise black children in the 21st century, exclusively at Ebony.com.

See how Shawn Taylor took control of his health—for his daughter’s sake and his own—on Ebony.com.


1. Black & Proud: How I Teach My Children to Love Their African-American Heritage
2. Study: Arming Your Children With Race Pride Will Boost Their School Performance
3. They’ll Wear The Armor: Guarding My Babies From The “N” Word
4. Fighting Words: What Happens When You Call A Black Child the N Word.

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