Black Parenting in a Time of Crisis

As the Baltimore Uprising consumes hearts, minds, and souls, I could only imagine what it’s like to be a Black parent in this time of chaos and Revolution.

Black traditions are rooted in protecting the innocence and safety of our children. Our culture — in some ways — encourages a type of subservience to white racial hierarchy as a means for survival and familial longevity. While some Black families push back against this racist caste system, others reinforce it through choices motivated by fear — fear of retaliation and ultimate extermination.

That’s what I’m seeing now.

When Allen Bullock’s mother Bobbi Smallwood, and stepfather Maurice Hawkins, encouraged their 18-year-old son to turn himself in after the front page of the local Baltimore Sun showed him attacking a police vehicle with a traffic cone, they did so out of fear.

“Hawkins, 44, said Bullock had agreed to surrender to the police after being told by his stepfather the police would “find him, knock down our door and beat him” if he did not.” — The Guardian.

And now, the teenager is being held on $500,000 bail, and faces a possible life sentence. Smallwood now regrets her decision, upon the stunningly personal realization that the system means to make an example of her Black son.

And there’s Toya Graham, the “Hero Mom” who was caught beating her son 16-year-old son. After a brief media circus of articles and television appearances, she is now the subject of a criminal Child Protective Services investigation. Of course, this unsurprising turn of events has yet to capture the bloodthirsty attention of the mega media.

“My intention was just to get my son and have him be safe.”

I am not, nor have I ever been, a mother. I could never understand the parental side of protective bonding. But I do have parents, and I see how they look at me when I head out to protest. I hold the intimate conversations we have over what I choose to publish on Black Millennials. As they listen to my desire for Black Liberation, I see that fear — the same fear expressed by Bobbi Smallwood, Maurice Hawkins, and Toya Graham.

But through their angst, they support me.

Black parents are the most powerful element in Black Liberation. Parents nurture, protect, and exhibit strength.

So to the Black parents out there, I urge you to train up your children to no longer remain subservient to a racist system doomed to fail. Sacrificial cooperation does nothing productive — it doesn’t guarantee freedom, justice, or safety. Sacrificing Black children for an ephemeral peace of mind energizes white supremacy at the expense of Blackness.

It’s time to resist. It’s time to break free from a damaging mentality that mandates subservience for survival. We deserve more, we can do more. And we need your guidance in doing so.

*Featured Image Credit:

photo 1Arielle Newton, Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.


4 responses to “Black Parenting in a Time of Crisis

  1. Yes. I am not a black parent, but am raising black children and have to swallow down the fear I have for them in a way I never did for my caucasian, asian or latino children. Enough already.


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