Follow the care instructions
As a Culture Coach, working with TRA families, I believe these families must be given the space to grow and create whatever future they'd like to have. However; it can be a challenge to help families reach their goals, when they choose not to follow the care instructions for Black children.
If you are not a Black woman or a Black man, what do you know about raising strong Black men or women?
Don't get me wrong, your race does not automatically qualify you to be a phenomenal parent of color, but you've likely had to navigate through some experiences in our radicalized society, which may allow you to be a good guide for someone else.
My children are 12 and 18. We live in a fairly non-diverse area outside of Phoenix, AZ. I want both of my kids to grow up as Bold, Loving, Awe-inspiring, Creative and Knowledgeable about self. This requires my husband and I to guide, nurture, protect, listen, observe and act. While many parents feel similar, no matter the ethnicity we all have different care instructions.
Love is required for all, but what is unique about your Back child? My daughter has a bright smile and a big personality. She is also one of the few Black girls in her grade, and as she develops more relationships will she try to assimilate into what's normal, or will she try to find her own way? Well, like most kids, she will try to blend in, and not be embarrassed. However, is her color a problem? Is her hair texture the joke? Will she deny her soul-filled roots to be more palatable to those around her?
When my son chooses a girlfriend, will he automatically believe that Black girls are not the best choice? Will he follow his friends and share in the belief that Black girls are too "extra" and less than the standard? Will his teachers respond more harsh if he debates what they say, or has an alternative opinion? Will he be stopped and harassed (or worse) by the police? Will he be expected to work twice as hard as his white counterparts for minimal gain?
As White parents of white children, do you also have to worry about these issues? If not how will you teach, advocate, stand for and protect your Black child? My hope is that you will find Black communities, coaches, friends or confidants to help you with the care instructions. Do not assume there will be nothing that requires an unexpected level of attention.
We have the same struggles:
Conscious Black parents have many of the same struggles you have as a culturally conscious TRA parent. We are working to raise amazing kids, who are comfortable in their own skin. The difference is we have to reframe or change the meaning of ideal. Cultural representation and racial mirrors are very important. In our homes, we have to manufacture a lot of these things, and it's no easy task. Will you take the time to create an environment where ALL of your kiddos are getting what they need? It begins by simply realizing there are differences, which must be celebrated.