You ever try so hard to not let something bother you that rage starts to stir inside of you despite your efforts?! Well, that’s where I’m finding myself today. This morning I woke up trying to figure out what exactly bothered me. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the weight I carry with raising black children. My first post of 2018 was supposed to be a letter of encouragement to all millennial moms, so I apologize for the tone that this post may take as I’m still working it out as my fingertips hit the keyboard. I’m discouraged, for the lack of a better term, because I feel like in this day and age being a black mother of black children is HARD!!! Motherhood, in and of itself, is HARD especially with the rise of social media and the constant act of comparing yourself to that picture-perfect mom whether you’re trying to or not. So, why am I discouraged??? I think it stems from the desire to uphold the innocence of my children, but at the same time desiring them to be aware of the mindsets that exist in others. The dream of my heart is to be able to say that racism does not exist today or that it’s getting better, but just a couple of weeks ago my big brother found himself the victim of racism in the town that I grew up in that happens to be the neighboring town of the city I’m raising my children in. I will not go into details of the altercation, but my brother was basically told he did not belong.
This is not the original image. I’m choosing not to further spread it.
Now this! H&M recently put out an ad for a hoodie marketed toward little boys. Unfortunately, the hoodie was worn by a little black boy & the hoodie said, “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Here’s the deal… You could probably say those five words to both my boys and they would not be offended at all. They’d possibly consider it a complement, as would many young children their age despite their race/ethnicity. Let me go on the record to say that I do not believe H&M as a company is racist. I do believe they had a lapse of judgment in the way they marketed the hoodie, but I do not choose to say they are racist or the ad itself is racist. I think we moreso need to consider how people responded to the ad, because to me that speaks volumes. Yes!!! The media does tend to be divisive when it comes to these types of things, but the fact remains we are the ones that choose to feed into it or not. The way people have been responding to the ad all over social media further preserves my dilemma of whether or not to maintain my children’s innocence or make them aware. Now, let me go ahead and say I know there is a time for everything. I am not suggesting I would discuss with my current 3-year-old and my almost 5-year-old boys the baggage that comes with the term monkey for black people. However, I am inclined to start thinking about what these types of conversations look and sound like.
There are too many stories to share regarding being black in 2018 that further discourage me as a mother of black children. Here’s another one for the record, though… Recently my little brother purchased a new (used) car… a 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo. He was driving to my parent’s home when he passed a police car going in the opposite direction. He noticed the car turn around to follow him all the way to my parent’s house. I asked my mom how she felt listening to her sons share with her their experiences, and her response is she’s left feeling speechless. I’m not going to lie, when I heard what type of car my brother bought I thought to myself: “Why’d he go & do that?!” I asked this question because I know the color of his skin & I also know the perception people will have of a black male driving this kind of car. However, I also know my brother has admired this model of car for a while. As black men, my brothers have to consider things that my boys will potentially one day have to consider. My brothers and my husband have stories on top of stories of how they’ve been treated differently because of the color of their skin. We have now added a baby girl to our family, and as a black woman who has dealt with identity issues I am even more purposeful in making sure my children know who they are and Who’s they are. My husband has said it before, “If you don’t know who you are, the world is gonna tell you who you are & you’re gonna believe it.”
The media’s images of black people have no place in shaping the identity of my children. Their identity is in Christ. I am coming to terms with the weight of my responsibility to help them know their identity in the Lord. I guess I appreciate H&M for reminding me of this as I walk into 2018 trying to muster up the strength to be the mom God has called me to be in Him!
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [1 John 3:1-2]
“But you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” [1 Peter 2:9]
“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” [1 Peter 2:15]
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” [Psalm 139:14 ]
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
Check out this sermon from my pastor, Pat Lynch, regarding have a sonship mindset versus that of a slave. This sermon really ministered to my heart & I hope it blesses you as well: http://subspla.sh/snbsh35
Also, if you’d like to know my husband’s perspective after seeing the H&M ad, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/qSFRC3e50dg
Hey, hey! I'm Yvette!
I'm a thirty-four year old wife, mother of four, podcast host, and writer from San Diego, California. I'm a former math teacher turned stay-at-home parent and influencer with the unique opportunity to bring women into community with one another and encourage them in their seasons of life through my podcast, Yvette, Unplugged and my online community, Women, Unplugged.
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