I am a black woman, married to a black man with whom I have a black daughter. Our countries of origin are irrelevant. I see blackness before nationality. We instill black pride in our children and we also teach them- that they are their brother’s keeper.
As parents, we aren’t always given the opportunity to see just how much the values and teachings which we pass down to them are actually put into practice.
Our daughter is a freshman in high school. We, openly, discuss race, being black in this country and globally -as well as we encourage her to find her voice without being afraid to use it.
About three weeks ago, my daughter had a substitute teacher in her Spanish class- an older, white and burly southern dude with a chip on his shoulder. Every morning, during third period, the students stand to recite “The Pledge of Allegiance”. Unbeknownst to me, my baby has never stood for it. Hell, I didn’t even know that they still recited it in schools. I digress. Apparently, this racist asshole didn’t appreciate that my daughter didn’t stand for it so he challenged her. He demanded that she stand. She, politely, declined. He became agitated and began to shoot off a barrage of questions at her. Questions like: “Was she an American?”, “Did she realize that people died for her to be able to recite it?”, and “Who did she think she was?” (that is classic, pissy supremacist speak).
Sir, that’s none of your damn business. Any of it.
“Who the fuck do you think YOU are asking my child about her convictions? “
She responded politely, “Why would I stand when, clearly, black people are not equals in this country?”
Diablo! At 14, my baby is a fucking revolutionary. That one question stopped everyone in their tracks. She held strong, never stood and spoke truth. Tears came to my eyes, y’all. I can’t make this up. All the conversations about our history and current events and she’s been listening and dissecting information. Even when I thought that she wasn’t.
Black power at its finest was wrapped in cafe con leche skin with a bushy afro and bright eyes who had just broken into her teen years.
Needless to say, he was boiling and proceeded to pick on her for the rest of the period which culminated with a trip to the office. She didn’t argue or talk back. She packed her shit up and walked out maintaining her pride and her dignity. When she arrived at the office, she explained what happened to the secretary and she just had to wait until class was over. She wasn’t in trouble. Of course, she came home and told me and I, immediately, called the school to set up a conference. That will be in blog post to come later.
The second incident with this same “Pledge of Allegiance” happened with her actual Spanish teacher. White supremacy has two faces- the benign, ally and the blatant racist. Her teacher was the first. After the first incident with the substitute, her regular teacher asked her every morning to recite it. My baby continued to decline. Her teacher couldn’t yield to that response. She asked her, “Why?” She responded as she did the first time. Here’s what sent me. I can appreciate a blatant, asshole racist because I know where THEY stand. THIS, particular, instructor was willing to perpetuate racism and supremacy- ALL UNDER THE GUISE OF CARING ABOUT MY DAUGHTER. BITCH PLEASE! This is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to disrupt my daughter’s critical thinking process while appeasing your white ego. FUCK OUTTA HERE! The public school system will not dim the light on black pride in our children. Mi gente, THESE are the people who are teaching our black and brown babies. They teach conformity. They teach lies. The folks who are rewriting our history. Verbatim- her teacher said, “If you stand and recite it, it means you are fighting against it.”
YOU TRIED IT! Fortunately, Miss NWT is far too intelligent to fall for the “banana in the tailpipe”. My child- the fruit of my womb- looked her in the eye and said, “No thank you.” Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!
This same teacher then LIED and said she emailed me as if that would scare her into standing. She doesn’t know me AND I have 3 email addresses and I’ve YET to receive one email from her. I will be emailing her today though just so that we are clear on my daughter’s stance and MINE.
When does patriotism bypass racial pride?
It is imperative that minority parents encourage and cultivate critical thinking among our children. There’s a world ready to shut them down. We live in a world where being “black” means death or jail. I admire my daughter’s strength and her quiet activism. Mines is loud and in your face. I learned that even though I don’t see my “Lemonface” holding the lighter or the gas can – she is surely starting fires. I couldn’t be any prouder than I am right now.
Fight on, Guerrerita!