Madonna, the mother of two black Malawian children, referred to her white son, Rocco, as the N-word, and then got buck when fans pulled her card for slinging around the offensive racial slur on Instagram. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman showed passion and over-the-top emotion moments after leading his team to the Super Bowl and Twitter exploded into a racist tirade of Klan rally proportions, with
people animals calling Sherman all kinds of foul, racist names. Sarah Palin terrorized Facebook with a post dedicated to President Obama, quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to make some insane, confused, dumb ass request for the most powerful man in the free world to “stop playing the race card.” And the editor-in-chief of a Russian magazine posed for a feature photo using a half-naked black woman, literally, as her chair. Her effing chair.
Is it me or have white folk (not all, but enough to notice) gone completely mad? I just… like… for real, people? I was out yesterday with my children, honoring the Prince of Peace on the holiday celebrating the efforts of a man who fought federally-sanctioned terror against Black people in the American south, and I come back to my Facebook feed only to find all this madness?
I have no words. Not any more. Over the past five years of MyBrownBaby’s existence, I’ve gotten angry about this kind of mess. But my emotions have been straight rung dry. Like a wash rag after a long, hot shower. I have not one word left. Not today, at least.
Instead, I implore those of us who are African American, or who are raising Black children, or who have Black friends or care about us and our experience, to stop giving this bullshit energy and focus, instead, on instilling identity, history and pride into our children—make sure that they know that they… are… the… shit… so that when they are bombarded with this kind of foolishness, they know better than to swallow that poisonous Kool-Aid. I’m not saying we stop fighting, by any means. But I am reminding each of you to be equally vigilant about helping our children embrace and celebrate themselves. So that they know better. And demand everyone else either do better by them or get the hell out of their way.
I came across this poem, written by my beautiful, chocolate drop, Mari, a few years ago and featured it here on MyBrownBaby. Her words still move me; she is, simply, amazing, and her words assure me that no matter what idiot tries to make her think she’s a lesser than, the work Nick and I are putting in to remind her she’s the straight fire is paying off. Witness her piece, “I Am.” Show it to your babies. And have them write an “I Am” poem of their own. They need to know they’re amazing, and get it down on paper and say it out loud so that their affirmations can drown out the stupid. Get on that today.
By Mari Chiles
I am adventurous and creative
I wonder if I will ever be brave enough to sky dive
I want to be able to travel the world
I pretend that I am not nervous
When I really am
I worry that bad things can happen to the world
Because of the environment
I cry when relatives die and when I think of passed relatives
I am adventurous and creative.
I understand that not all people can get along
I say a white canvas
Is full of possibilities
I dream of seeing the world and trying new things
From other cultures
I try to do well as a child so I can grow up
And do great things
I hope I will be known for doing something great
I am adventurous and creative
I am Mari Chiles
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.