Friday, July 04, 2008

Back from the barbecues.




So I went to a couple of barbecues today. The earlier one was in a part of Philly known as Logan. Working class, blue collar, black neighborhood (you folks from Philly know where I am talking about), and I had a blast. The music and the food was good, the people were genuine, and when I had to leave to head out to our next stop, I didn't want to go.



But leave I did. Mrs. Field was pinching my arm so we headed to another barbecue out in a fairly affluent area of the burbs known as Newtown. (You folks from Philly might know that area as well) Now, as you might expect, I didn't have quite as much fun. The people...well, they weren't as much fun, the food wasn't quite as good, and I didn't hear any music. Still, I have to admit, I had a decent time there too.

But that's not what I want to post about. I actually want to ask you smart folks who read and comment on this blog, your opinion about something.

There was a black couple at the barbecue we visited who are fairly affluent themselves, and they live in a predominantly white area. Their son, a very handsome kid, is going into his sophomore year in high school. He is on the tennis team (the kid can hit em. I played with him when he was twelve, and he was wearing me out then), and I am pretty sure that he will make the varsity baseball team as well. To top it off, he makes good grades, and he is very popular in his school.



Now here is the problem; at least more so for his Mother than his dad. All of his friends, including his little girlfriends, are white. His parents told us that before they left to come to the barbecue, the kid headed out with a car full of little white girls. And his Mom was not pleased about it. Not because, she said, his little playmates were white, but because, according to her, she knows what can happen in situations like that.



Now honestly, the kid's father and I didn't have a real problem with him going out with his friends and having a good time on the fourth. The kid is popular in his school, and he is going to attract girls, black and white. Problem is, at his school, there aren't many black girls (or boys for that matter) for him to interact with. Hey, the kid is a product of his environment. And it's not the first time that I have heard this kind of lament from black folks who have moved to the burbs and have a problem with their kids interacting with only white kids. It happens all the time. But is it such a bad thing? As long as they get the proper cultural indoctrination that they need at home and from their family, should his black parents even make an issue of it?

Now I understand Mom's concerns, I honestly do. I mean you hear all these stories about the black kid in the group getting singled out. all the time. But you can't stifle the kid and tell him not to have fun with his friends, whoever they might be. You can't tell your kid to be intolerant of other kids because they are white, just because your experiences say things aren't always what they seem. Or can you? I don't know, I am not a parent, so i really don't know what I would do. he kids is a teenager, you made a choice to live where you do, you can't now tell the kid who to choose as his friends. At least I don't think you can.....




I don't know, which is why I am putting it out there (I told his father that I would, so it's all good). Mrs. Field understands Mom's concerns, and we debated tha...okay we argued about that shit all the way home. Somehow it went from a discussion about race and parenting to women and out of control testosterone's. Needless to say, I ended that bad boy [the debate] as soon as possible. I told her she was right ("I know I am she said"), acknowledged that maybe I would be concerned about my son too, and headed to my computer.












81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, John White moved his family out to the burbs and look at the mess his son go into, in which it was on fault of the his. It's the price you pay to live the American Dream.

Anonymous said...

no fault of his.

Ron in Wichita said...

I'm in somewhat of the same situation myself. All you can really do is tell them that they DO need to be careful about their associates: Remind them that everyone claiming to be your friend, AIN'T: Remember that they are still Black, and in this country, that ALWAYS means that you WON'T get a fair deal; And never stop talking to them and asking them about what they are doing. I really don't care if I violate their privacy or not; that's why I'm the father. And if you even THINK they are about to fuck up, step in hard and fast and YOU make the decisions on what will and will not happen. I tell my daughter constantly about experiences growing up in the deep south in the 60's - 70's, so that she won't be lulled into the "it's all good" type of foolishness we like to tell kids. I want her smarter, faster, and tougher, and more cynical than the rest. I want a survivor that i won't spend sleepless nights worrying about whether or not she's got enough street smarts to make it through the teen years and into adulthood.
I'll still worry; every good parent does. But at least I know she'll have her eyes open, and hopefully she's picked up on what I tried to teach her, and will be smart or suspicious enough to walk away from any situation that looks like trouble.

Phil Davis said...

Our kids were in a private school (over-over-over-whelmingly white) at one time. For a variety of reasons (socialization being at the top of the list) we took them out and put them in the public school system (overwhelmingly black). To date the best decision we've made on behalf of our children.

After many, many, many tortured conversations about child rearing. ... we're not sure Brown V. Board and integration were really a step forward for black folks. The people we respect the most (family and church folk) were all educated in segregated schools.

The whole experience of having my kids in a predominately white and privileged environment (and seeing how they engage the world) has me gravitating toward social, cultural and economic nationalism. (I suppose that makes me a field negro.)

Anyway, I've seen what happens to black men nurtured from early on in white educational worlds and get the access that affords them. They eventually get singled out for something or the other. Usually they don't even know what hit them.

In other words, the mom should be very concerned. (You're a lawyer, is reckless eyeballing still on the books?)

Peace,
Phil

west coast story said...

Ron in Witchita: your kids are soooo lucky to have you as a father. You remind me of my cousin who told his kids when they were teens: "I'm not your friend. I'm Dad."

Anonymous said...

Well, what is your take on this interracial video #1 and this #2

CoyoteFe said...

I was raised wayyyy out in the Philly suburbs, and raised my son out here as well. He was popular in a predominantly (97%) white high school, and his best friends are white (wink). Luckily and happily he has yet to be singled out, but when he went to Penn State (yeah, wayyy up in the mountains) he was amazed at the students who acted like they had never seen a black person before (as in STARING). He told me once that he had caught himself assuming that people he met were bigots until proven otherwise.

Luckily and happily he has good friends of all colors, and there is concrete evidence that they watch each other's backs. No matter what, I think that life comes, and if you can't be ready, be able.

Kudos to Ron as well. Your parents raised you well, and you're passing it on.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

It depends on whether or not he smokes weed or uses other drugs with his white friends - which a lot of teens do. A young black male in a car with a white female is more likely to get racially profiled and pulled over. If no one claims ownership of the drugs, everyone gets busted. This happened to my son. His white girlfriend got two months probation, while his black ass got a year. He was so pissed he refused to report to his P.O., and that compounded the problem. You can read about it in my article, I Wept In The Courtroom.

Otherwise, we lived in three different neighborhoods while he was growing up, and between 7 and 14, this included the white suburbs. The other two were/are Latino/Black. On the positive side, he gets along with everybody. On the downside, he had to struggle a little harder with what it means to be black in America (Hurricane Katrina blew his mind), and only recently discovered how great black girls are. He's in love with one now.

NSangoma said...

~
Hmmm, sophomore year = grade 10; if he started school at age 5, then he is 15 years-old or soon to be 15 years-old. Call me olde fashioned, but that is a bit young to be leaving home riding with friends of any colour, that is, with no adult supervision.

My children too, attend an independent school. The school is majority white, whilst the neighborhood we live in is majority black; though we've begun to notice whites, east Asians, Latinos, and central Asians moving into the area.

My daughter is 16, driving age, but for social functions she is always chauffeured by a parent, myself, or my wife, or one of the parents of her friends. A 15 year-old boy rolling off with his friends with no adult presence in the automobile is not good.

As far as the white girl, white woman thing goes; my son, age 12, handsome, good athlete, excellent student, excellent musician, excellent dancer, is popular with all of his female classmates: black, white, African, Chinese, Japanese, Pakistani, Indian, you name it. My son is an elite student at an elite school, and those are the females that he is surrounded by.

Socially, my son's best friends are black. Academically, well that is a different story; when he enters the 8th grade this fall, he will be the only black 8th grader, male or female, taking 10-th grade math. (his 10th grade math class will be taught in the middle school, not in the upper school) His 8th grade classmates in this math class, male and female, will be non-African-American.

Independent schools are generally 18-months ahead of the public schools, so one's children lose a lot when they are remove from an independent school and placed in a public school; unless the public school is an elite suburban school or an elite magnet school.

The average Negroe cannot go to a magnet school, only very select Negroes get into magnet schools. A magnet school is a private school paid for by public school funds.

When a Negroe says, "I took my child out of the predominately white private school and placed her/him in a public school", check to see if that public school is a magnet school.

When black children flunk out of our children’s school, they usually enroll in one of the elite suburban school districts (a mailing address; renting a small apartment or a trailer-home makes you a resident of the school district) or in one of the elite parochial schools.

The 11th grade, my daughter enters grade 11 this fall, we've been told is the grade where you have to strictly monitor your children’s social interaction with white teens. Some white families we are told, provide their children with beer and hard alcohol for their parties, as well as, leave the premises so that the teens call bed-up if they'd like. We already have an eye out for this.

Live in the hood if you'd like, live in an upper-strata black suburb, attend an all-black church, but keep your children in the best schools that your money can buy.
`

Christopher said...

I'm sorry, I am a little thick... I don't get the problem.

I have three sons, I'm white and my wife is from West Africa. What are you worrying about? That they will become not black enough? I seriously don't get the problem. I realized awhile ago that my fear about my boys growing up to be thugs is equivlent to my wife worrying about them growing up to be rednecks... This is my culturization issue.

Luckily we live in America's most diverse city-- Houston!?$%#^! At my kids public elementary school, there are children from 54 countries. Total enrollment 400.

I used to live in Philly and I rememeber how the race issue defined the city. I dated a West Philly girl and boy was that an issue. But outside of Philly things are changing... My kid plays soccer with Colombians, Mexicans, Indians, Ethiopians, East Europeans etc...

I wonder am I going to be a real asshole when my sons start dating. What kind of girls are they going to bring home? Sisters, preppy girls with pearls, Asians, or Hispanics? Hopefully I will be able to say its all good.

honeyindigo said...

honestly, i agree with you field. because that is where they chose to live, that is who he has to befriend. there is nothing wrong with it--as long as he is careful. i don't see how his mother is getting upset. that's like moving to a home 10 feet below sea level and then being upset when you get floods in your basement.

on that note, i do believe he is too young to be driving with a car full of females at that age. race needs to be the least of his mother's concerns--why her son is out, on a busy (and sometimes dangerous) holiday, with a car full of young girls needs to be her first concern, and she needs to be handling THAT, not worrying about their blond hair and blue eyes.

Heru said...

I encourage my children (boys, ages 11 and 12)to choose their friends based upon the character of the individual that they are interacting with. I've also taught them that the color of one's skin does not preclude or exclude one from engaging in bad behavior.

I choose to live in a diverse neighborhood because I wanted my sons to be in an environment where they can see and be involved with children from different ethnic backgrounds. However I teach them about our history....from Indus Kush to Kemet to America, because its important that they know their culture so that they can appreciate others.

heartsandflowers said...

I think honeyindigo gave a great response. I mean the parents should do some evaluation as to why they choose to live and raise a child in that environment but expect their child to not want to participate fully in it. I'd be concerned about knowing who the kids are, meeting the parents and behavior and disciplinary actions that may be needed. It's more of a character issue than anything else.

jackson said...

the first part of this post is pretty telling--there seems to be less of a concern about economic class determining whom one feels comfortable associating with than with race determining the same.

i've always been that way myself, having transferred to a predominantly white boarding school from a public school that was 99% black. the boarding school’s black community was largely middle- to upper-class, and coming from a working-class household, myself, i--despite having grown up around black folks--chose mostly white, working-class friends.

once i entered college,i likewise gravitated toward folks with whom i shared common traits, be they hobbies, class, racial experience, whatever. i image that this kid would do the same.

to use a shaky metaphor, blackness is a bit like knowing how to ride a bike; as long as the couple instills in their kid strong, culturally-conscious values, he's likely to find friends who share the same principles once he enters college. and a lot of those friends, simply from having a similar racial experience--which no amount of fretting on his parents’ part will prevent him from gaining--inevitably will be black.

freemanpress said...

Well the kid runs a chance of being called a Oreo (Black on the outside white on the inside) I went to Law School in PA with a guy who grew up around only whites. He didn't see anything wrong with it at all. He also seemed to hate blacks because they didn't like him. He thought it was because he was smart, and I'm sure his parents told him that. Really it was because he preferred white people over his own. I know most people will think that's racist well shit it is. If anyone prefers another race over their own something is wrong. It's like not liking yourself.

Either way the way I've seen people counteract this is by sending their children to Black Colleges. A place where they can see other smart black people and grow to love themselves. I guess Howard will have a great tennis player in a couple of years.

Brown Man said...

This is an unintended consequence of being included in all levels of society, but the question it raises is this - when you finally get out of the box racialism has put us in, do you drag it along behind you or can you throw it away?

The people in your post don't need to worry about their child as much as they need to worry about themselves. In our household, which is smack dab in the middle of the psychological depravity of Atlanta's white Northside suburbs, we exalt the positive achievements of black people, denigrate those of us who deserve it, whether they are ghetto dwellers or upscale negroes, welcome our family, and socialize constantly with our friends - white and black - from all walks of life.

If the child ends up thinking like you do, you have wasted your time and money. They won't have the same experiences or know the same limitations as you, especially if you are twenty years older than they are or more. The ability to genuinely connect with the larger world, to not only glean the education and the knowledge, but to KNOW what people who are not like us believe in, what they enjoy, how they interact socially - you can't buy this any other way but to live it. Since most of us didn't live this life growing up, we have no idea what its supposed to look like, and anything we see will naturally appear to be foreign to our own sensibilities.

I'm not saying to send your child out there with a "Don't Worry, Be Happy" T-shirt - just don't pile so much of the shit WE needed to get through the seventies and eighties on your twenty-first century progeny.

They might still end up being the most dashiki wearing black nationalist in the country - but even Malcolm and Martin were standard bearers for their causes precisely because of this ability to communicate intuitively with the mainstream American.

This compartmentalization seems inauthentic, but it is the same thing we've always done, only at a higher level.

"Keeping it real" is really keeping it multi-dimensional, with a little perspective thrown in the mix.

Another Scorpio said...

Well, since our son is mixed race (me, the Mom is Black) and his dad is Greek (Greeks don't consider themselves white - Mediterranean is the world), we had the same issues.

But we laid down a few basic laws - no drugs, no crime, and call for a ride home if you or your friends have been drinking.

Worked out well. He has, now that he is an adult, as many Black friends as white and seems to be pretty well adjusted.

Keep the faith.

kid said...

Here's a story that I'm going to put on my blog as a cartoon. In Cleveland
the entertainment district was known as the Flats.You get a stamp on your hand and go from bar to bar. One block away was the lake.The flats were really a white thing. Me and my friend Niecy decided to go down there.Here's the problem she's stacked,she's has red hair, and she's black.Now she looks like a white girl(imagine Kim Kardasian with red hair). We were in a car in the flats playing when two white guy pulled us out of the car. What saved us? Was it my Kung-fu skills,my strength as a black man? No it was her when she said to the white guys "wot's up wit dat?".They told me sorry , but I didn't let it end.I said so if she was a black girl you would have let me kill her. They brought a 30 pack of beer to the car. "We're really sorry, we didn't know". I still went off. They brought a lid of weed and said "we're really sorry" I told them you were about to kill me when you thought that I was hurting a white girl, you think because I'm black you can buy me off with beer and weed?She said "shut up with the black stuff and get the beer and weed."Now she looked white ,imagine if she was white.I wouldn't be here to type this.It's messed up , but that IS America.

achoiceofweapons said...

These parents have a job to do which is make sure they are connected to the Black community and it's organizations. IE Links, The Divine Nine, NAACP etc and to make sure that he is involved in some Black things preferablly one's that include alot of girls. Boys are gonna chase Girls, any girls so expand his options! The White world will take him in and exploit him so it's up to us to make sure while his pallet is broad and his options wide he has a connection to his people and its women.

Respectfully
Jaycee

Christopher said...

Parents are the ones responsible for messin' with the young 'uns minds and polluting them with ideas of bigotry and hatred.

They are just kids. Hanging out, driving around, having a nice summer day together and what do the parents do but infuse the situation with negative racial politics.

The parents are too blind to see this has nothing to do with these kids -- but it has everything to do with the flawed thinking of the parents.

Leave. The. Kids. Alone. It's 2008, not 1908.

Hathor said...

FN,
The thing that would bother me is that Newtown is too damn close to Feasterville. 15 is not old enough to negotiate with some cracker cop or citizen who thinks they are going to do white America a favor.

Woozie said...

Well as one of these black teenagers going to a predominantly white/non black school, I can tell you me and the *smart* black people I know recognize our blackness, but we don't make anything of it because we don't care. That's not to say we're disrespectful of all that black people have accomplished, it's just that in our environment our race doesn't matter.

I don't know about the Philadelphia area but in southern Montgomery County MD has been that people are largely race neutral. I have friends from all sorts of social circles, races, religions, genders, and even sexual orientations. I think Dr. King would be very proud of how at least this area has turned out.

Woozie said...

And by *smart* I meant not those black people indulging in crap rap music and a culture of violence. Those black kids tend to only befriend other blacks or latinos. I don't know much about them because the ones I've had the pleasure of talking to are retarded.

NSangoma said...

~
Indus Kush, Indus Kush; hold a minute field, the quality and the knowledge level of your posters is on the rise.

Indus Kush (Harappa, Mohenjodaro), what next, Angkor Wat, Shang Dynasty, the Olmec?
`

Hathor said...

woozie,

Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs ain't race neutral. The thing my son complains about after we moved in a mostly white part of this neighborhood, is that he is always followed by the police. That pisses him off, that he is constantly monitored where he lives. This happened day one when we moved in, and he went ahead of me to open our door. Black male in the vicinity.

Phil Davis said...

"Live in the hood if you'd like, live in an upper-strata black suburb, attend an all-black church, but keep your children in the best schools that your money can buy."

I've come to realize that it is more about ethics than education.

It is us educated folks have us in the mess we are in. A well educated friend of a friend declared that the next promotion and "I'm a crook."

It seems as if the "best educated members of the corporate class" are either crooks are enablers of crooks who don't have the ethics are the balls to say "this is wrong." Who created Enron and the 100's of other corporations that the SEC routinely requires that they, "restate earnings?" My answer is that it is the "best educated class."

I've realized that the "glass ceiling is not made of glass at all. The glass ceiling is made of ethics." (Put that in your quote file.) "Mr. Stan ONeal, we will let you in and let you out if you promise to play by our rules." " What does if profit a man if he shall gain the world and lose his soul?"

I'm know I'm rambling, and yes I do want the best for my kids. While a good education will give them, "more options" good ethics will help them sleep at night.

Fields post opened up a can of parenting worms.

The problem of the 21st century is still the color line. I'm very concerned about my child and all children navigating a society and culture dominated by white folks.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I'm dealing with this right now, we live in Maine and at 16 my son likes the girls. Not too many Black girls here so he dates white girls. I will admit when he heads out with someone, I do get nervous because I know some knucklehead could run up on him talking greasy. Actually he has had some incidents recently but he has handled them well.

I don't know that there is an answer other than as I am learning the reality of living in such places is that your kid may end up dating or hanging with the predominant race. Its not a bad thing and as a mother I am learning I need to let go and let my son be and try not to project my baggage onto him.

field negro said...

Wow, you all are some seriously smart folks. I mean that. I don't have kids, but if I did,I would have a post every day asking for parenting advise. Hell I would have a blog dedicated to that shit.

If knowledge is power then this has got to be one of the most powerful blogs on the www.

Thank you all for your input. Honestly, and this is scary, I actually agree with damn near everything everyone said. How is that possible when some of you have some different opinions? I will read one comment and say, yeah, he is right. And then I will read another one, with a totally different viewpoint, and say, yeah, she is right too....geez.

Nsangoma, one correction. I think the kid is going into his sophomore year, but I might have been wrong. It could be his Junior year, which I guess would make him closer to sixteen. But again, now I am not so sure. His dad reads the blog, so I am sure that he will call me sometime this week and give e his exact age.

Kellybelle said...

I have to agree with the mom. I say this because I have a friend who is about to have a bi-racial child. She's white, hubby's Black. She wants to raise the baby all free and hippy like. I keep telling her the child needs to know how to talk to the police, how to behave in a store, what to do when he hears the n-word for the first time.

Your little tennis playing friend needs to learn to be bicultural. Sign him up for Jack and Jill, get him involved in a junior chapter of some Black male mentoring organization, join a Black church back in the city. I went to an all white school and I knew what white kids did--drink and drive, shrooms, acid, sex, mouthing off to the police--I could not do.
Hurry up before this boy gets into trouble.

the uppity negro said...

Well, isn't this an interesting sichy-ashun.

I'm doing an internship out here in the near lily-white suburbs in Montogomery County, just northwest of DC. Even if the demographics aren't lily white, let's just say, I'm about the only adding color to these monochromatic events.

I'm working with youth this summer, h.s. to be exact, the majority of them entering 9th or going into 10th grade and in one of the early meetings with the Youth Steering committee, I said that I was here to give a different cultural perspective and also, learn something about a culture that I wasn't a part of.

To which one of the parents told me that I might be surprised at just how multicultural the kids were and she went on like one of the CHRISTOPHERs above talking about how their kids go to a school where 54 different languages are spoken (eerie how the same number was used) and just how multicultural the kids are.

Well, culturally aware doesn't make one culturally sensitive and I could imagine that that's what these parents are struggling with--how to make their kid culturally sensitive, primarily to that of black American culture. Let's be honest, being aware of certain Indian cultures or the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese doesn't quite cut it being a black man in these United States.

Being a product of growing in the city, the heart of Chicago, and now being out here in the suburbs, I could see just how this young guy would be removed from the life's of millions of young black men growing up in the cities and certain small towns in America.

And yeah, get him in some Jack and Jill program next to the nearest city, it may help.

But, um, yeah, that's the price you pay when you move out to such suburbs--I'd say just deal, or insist they go to an HBCU, lol.

hennasplace said...

Field:

I understand the mother's concern because it's about the hypersexual myth we have about black females and males, and the myth and stereotypes are perpetuated by blacks and whites. It's not so much about him having white friends or girlfriends, but very complicated issue about interracial dating and the idea that white woman yells rape and the black guy did still as a strangle hold on the society.

However, we parents should have this discussion with their children. We have such to communicate with our children about our concerns while giving the space they grow and become independent.

There was a time when African-American of all classes living in the same neighborhood, so you have a mixture of upper-class, middle-class, and working and poor class prior to integration. More African-Americans moved into neighbors where that provided them with better opportunities.

Here is paradox, African American wanted to move into more affluent neighborhood and become a larger part of the American society and did not realize that future generations will not have same experiences about race. In way, we want to move forward, but cannot fully let go of a terrible past. There is always that gray cloud. We need to change our perception.

My niece does not look at race in the same way I do, and I do not look at race in the same way my mother did because the generations have a different experience and perception about race. Yes, it's generational and it's nothing new.

The best advice I could give my son or daughter if I had children is be the best person possible, always show respect for others. Just use your best judgement and instincts as your gauge to sense when something is wrong. Always follow that first thought when you sense that something is not right.

I have to said that when I was a teenager, I was kind of Maverick that even though I like making friends and was a team player, but I cherished not getting into trouble more. I had no problem with breaking with the group if I something wrong because I didn't want to deal with consequences such as getting suspended or going to jail (I have a this thing about enjoying my freedom). However, I do not like trouble because that is when everything gets complicated particularly when it's something inane and stupid.

I think we should have better faith in our children and give them more credit particularly if you have a laid a good foundation for them. It sounds like he is a great kid, and perhaps it's probably a great idea to meet his friends. I say have go back to school party and observe his friends. Kids usually hang with other kids who share similar interests and values. You have to remember that more you protest about your children's friends the more likely they will rebel and continue to hang with them to spite you. I'm quite that we not old not to remember how we were when we were teenagers, so some empathy and sympathy is in order with a little wisdom will help. There is the ability to do something different without alienating your teenager and still being that good parent. It can be a win-win situation.

Christopher said...

Field,

You've got to see this.

Here's what the Motherfucker from Midland said vis a vis Jesse Helms death:

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend and a great American," President George W. Bush said in a statement. "Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called ‘the Miracle of America.’"

Fighting back the desire to puke all over my Dell computer.

field negro said...

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend and a great American," President George W. Bush said in a statement. "Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called ‘the Miracle of America.’"

And that is why he will always be the "mofo from Midland" :) Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

it seems like mama wants to make damn sure that her some becomes a self-ghettoizing bigot no matter who his friends are and how they feel about him. Go Mama!

szechuanpork said...

NSangoma said...
but keep your children in the best schools that your money can buy.

There's only one high school in Little Rock that's upto academic standards and if you enroll at the others they encourage you to transfer. When academic conditions get bad enough the state takes over and a lot of people lose their jobs so they use grade inflation and test do overs to avoid that. We're going the charter school route for our second child.

Hathor said...

Why did this become a discussion about a child's racial identity, acting black or acting white. My first thought was about the child's safety. If the child is black, they have to know about bigots in the world whether they live among them or not, because they never know where they will encounter them.

All the likes of Jesse Helms are not dead nor is the KKK in the Philadelphia burbs.

Anonymous said...

The kids, other than those Left Behind, tend to judge each other with less colour-vision than their parents.

Yes, for many Penn State students, it is literally the first time they have seen AfAms. North of Route 80, Pennsyltucky is essentially all white.

Hmm, an AfAm needs to stay with their kind. Does that include Ronnie White (sidebar) or the POSs that tortured the young couple or killed the college student? No thanks.

Mold

Anonymous said...

it seems like mama wants to make damn sure that her son becomes a self-ghettoizing bigot no matter who his friends are and how they feel about him. Go Mama!

second.

just put a xxx-larege white t-shirt on the child and tell him yt is out to get him whatever he does. so let's get the free ride over with now and knock up those white bitches, buy a glock and run to the inner city where he belongs. mama will be proud then.

quakerjew said...

Please Christofari,
The MF is not from Midland, He's a mole from Kennebunkport. I know it's fun to write MF from Midland, but if he was really from Midland he'd be all connected w/olde skool Mexican Mafia folk (the foot soldiers of the federales), and....wait a minute. OK, never mind.

Field, this post is the stuff that sends me seeking. Looking for that space between Woozie's, "it's just that in our environment our race doesn't matter"
and the, "don't ever forget you're black" mantra my AA pals' parents sent them out the door with daily.
I want to pull these threads together, knot them securely and echo Chris' "Leave the kids alone."
Grown-ups do perpetuate the shit, though. Hard case racists teach their kids, so parents of color must teach theirs - nuclear proliferation.
I'm now working in that suburban one-black-kid-per-grade-level school. And though that means I can ease up a little on being parental - for these rich kids have conspicuous parents - everyone had dinner last night, everyone has a place to do their homework, no-one's wearing the same clothes 3 days in a row, etc., I'm still in "Papa mode" and I need to make sure everyone's OK.
So I worry about the safety and identity issues though it's none of my business. And I can only write (semi-anonymously) about it, because I can have no voice in the discussion - even though these ideas consume me. (Sideline Alert! Thank you for "heading to your computer" and providing the forum - very gracious behind your bully pulpit)
These are our concerns as black identity continues to lose it's poverty cloak, I think.

field negro said...

"just put a xxx-larege white t-shirt on the child and tell him yt is out to get him whatever he does. so let's get the free ride over with now and knock up those white bitches, buy a glock and run to the inner city where he belongs. mama will be proud then."

That comment is exactly why the kid's mother has some concerns. I know it was probablly a sad attempt at humor, but the tone is telling.

Oh well, it's called the "world wide web", everyone can get in here. :(

Kat said...

I say let the kid enjoy the priveleges of upper middle class life but he has to be careful because he will judged more harshly in America. What will he do if he is pulled over by the cops, or stopped by a security guard at a store or if he is called the n-word by his "friends" or even if he is singled out for some bullshit.

This boy seems to have a good life with opportunities ahead of him, don't let the criminal justice system get a hold of him. Racism is alive and well, my friends. People can go on pretending it's all kumbaya and holding hands but America will never cease to remind you that you're black even if you wanted to forget.

jp said...

This is a long over due debate IMO. My wife is from an upscale area in Chester County, PA and I'm a kid from a middle class, but black section of Queens. Talking to her about some of these issues very illuminating. I think black people need to be very careful where they live and raise their children in suburbia. Montgomery County, Maryland, which is very diverse and contains a more liberal open minded white population is not typical. You have issues where the black students get ostracized, or are police targets, or end up with John White type situations. Personally, I'm not living anywhere where I feel my children won't be allowed to fit and grow as people. Suburbia fine, but I'm picking a diverse town.

Vixen said...

I think that black parents should be very careful with allowing there smart, talented,well-rounded children hang out with mostly white people. When they hget a bit older many f them start to feel like they are white and disown everything remotely black. I have seen in growing up going to provate school, doing gymnastics and ice skating, and being in ap/honors classes. If parents don't do something about that mess, they will most likel have a self-hating coon on their hands. My parents let me have white friends, but also encouraged me to play with my black cousins and church friends. Just do I could come to realize I AM BLACK, regardless of how many white playmates I had. I think little black boys need to grow up and be good black men therefore, only assocaiting with white kids might harm that. Also my parents tought me black history let me know how proud I should be to be black and I never turned back. If you are going to out your children in that white world you should be prepared to do some more hard work at home or be prepapred to deal with a black child in America scared to be black.

NSangoma said...

szechuanpork,
there seem to be at least 2 independent schools in Pulaski County AR:

Episcopal Collegiate

Pulaski Academy

NAIS

Independent schools offer financial assistance, if needed.

In math we have y = f(x); y depends upon x; y is a function of x. Excellent schools are a function of their student's parents.

The admission criteria for Independent and Magnet Schools is the parents; if the parents aren't right, the student(s) will not get in.

Autonomous public schools, Charter Schools, have to take any and everybody's Negroe family just as the non-autonomous public schools have to.

In IT there are IPS (intrusion prevention systems) and IDS (intrusion detection systems).

Independent and Magnet Schools practice IPS, they endevour to prevent undesirable families from getting in, in the first place.

Charter Schools practice IDS, they have to take all applying families from the jump; but if your family ain't right, you will be detected and asked to leave.

Where I live, the Charter Schools usually open serving the first 4 grades only, they add a new grade each year. By the time they open a Charter High School, there are a lot of well discipline students (theirs) in their funnel.

The problem with charter schools is that your children may have to sit in class with undisciplined disruptive students (they are a public school, so there are new non-charter school students each semester) for several weeks, before those students (families) are detected and removed.

Visit your local independent schools this all, give them a good look.
`

Bob said...

Sounds to me that the young man is doing just fine. Even in the Philly burbs be could be into the whole urban gansta culture thing (some of his white classmates are for sure) & getting into some very very bad stuff that would bring him to parts of Philly his parents would rather he not visit. I say count their blessings. Trust him.

jp said...

I have seen in growing up going to provate school, doing gymnastics and ice skating, and being in ap/honors classes.

This may the worse thing I have ever read. Are you saying participating in these activities makes one white. I was in AP classes, its a laudable goal for black and white children. If my child wants to skate(another activity I tried but sucked at) or fly off a gymnastics trapeze I'll support it. I do agree that you there is the risk of identity issues, and problems with dating, etc. But lets not be stupid here.

The admission criteria for Independent and Magnet Schools is the parents; if the parents aren't right, the student(s) will not get in.

I agree that getting in urban magnet school is a measure in how gangsta you are at the school board meetings so to speak. But they are some fine magnet schools that do admissions by exam. Hunter College High and the NYC Specialized HS(of which I'm a grad of one) come to mind.

freemanpress said...

The truth of the matter is the young boy has to be prepared. Now he can't be prepared by saying what you hope will be, as parent you have to pass down what is. Hope is when it never shows up, but thank God he was prepared.

As Blacks we know it is a mistake to hope that racism won't happen. We prepare for it like WAR and if it doesn't show up that's good.

I challenge any white person reading this blog to tell me they don't have at least one friend who is a bigot. Now if you know one multiply that by the number of white people in the country and you'll see why it's worth preparing young black children for this problem.

When I was his age and through college on through Law School I was always in a public place with whites. I went to Law school in PA and I was called Ni99a my first day of school. I was followed by the police to my apartment at least once a week.

The only thing that kept me strong and able to go through it was because I expected it. YES I expected it and they delivered. So don't listen to the people who HOPE for a better world, prepare your kid with the armor to live in this world.

freemanpress said...

JP, education is a not a white only domain. Nothing in this world is exclusively white, NOTHING.

It's just connecting with their culture. See most Blacks want to be exclusive and say there aren't any around. Well unless you live in IOWA it's a lie. There are organizations, study groups, religious groups that you can meet people who have kids and they can become friends. Look at meetup.com.

Or if there aren't any around you can join a multicultural group. All and All you just want to take the race question off the table.If you're the only one of your kind it will stay on the table. Because you are the example for the whole race.

The problem is you moved for better schools and safety not to morph into anyone else. Everyone acts like it's a taboo issue. If you saw a Chinese guy that was heavily into the Black culture wouldn't you say what the F?

If not connecting with your own Race is not important to you do what you want. Having pride in oneself doesn't make you hate everyone else or make you less sociable. If you were eating with a Jewish person and he didn't want to eat pork you wouldn't say he hates Blacks. You know his culture doesn't eat Pork.

We have our own culture and it isn't based on Rap, Women degradation, and the like, those are the lay of the land here in the USA. I just feel sad that people think being black is the ghetto when there are a lot of communities in DC, Philly, NY, LA, ATL, and Chicago that are established upwardly mobile communities. Seek them out and have your children surrounded by the right point of view.

Anonymous said...

These comments are all from the perspective of the parent. Here's my perspective as a kid moved to a mostly white high school, and having cousins whose parent kept moving them farther and farther from the hood. My fellow students always came to me for answers about why black people act the way they do as if I was the black spokesperson and why was I so different from other blacks (my mother moved to Cali from Boston). Most blacks that grew up in this predominantly white city believed the white hype that blacks are good at sports but other wise fail academically. A friend of mine would not even claim she was black, she said she was Cherokee, she would not even eat watermelon. Even though California was three years behind Boston and I got straight A's in Honors classes, I was told my senior year I could get into any college by just stating I was black, many of my classmates put they were Native American on their applications because they believed minorities were chosen over whites for college. When I would go to job fairs at the high school the recruiters would state I needed good grades and I had no chance to either get into college or a specific occupation without me having uttered a word only passing by the booth. I, my black friends and my cousins never discussed what we experienced, our naive parents so pro-Black thought these white schools were so much better, even though they had experienced racism much of their life. I never understood why parents would send their children to white people like suddenly they would not be prejudice against their kids, so keep believing the pipe dream that white schools are not full of racist and your children (like Tiger) will either have to separate themselves "I'm not like those negroes" losing and being embarrassed of their racial identity or fall into depression because of the constant implication that their "ghetto". Last story, attending my first class in this all white high school with my "cherokee" friend in class, I was reading an old textbook out loud in class, it had the word Negro which I simply changed to black my white teacher stopped me and asked why did I do that (in Boston we all changed the words in old texts, the whites, Puerto Ricans, everybody) my teacher stated negro was an acceptable word. I was dumbfounded and at 12 did not know how to answer, how was this white woman telling me what was acceptable to blacks. So stay in denial if you want but America is a racist country and those white classmates, their parents, teachers and administrators are putting your children through the ringer. I blame all the "pro-black, Black Panther" ideological parents for giving up and selling your children out by returning them to massa to learn how great the white man is and how ignorant blacks are just look at the tone of black blogs and many comments here, just like my teachers " we ain't like them negroes, wes better"

BTW how disgusting that you have that picture of Ronnie a man killed in police custody, all black blogs I visit I swear are run by white folks they all have the same premise "oh look at this dumb nigga I'll put him down to lift myself up" Most of y'all have never lived around all parts of the country or other minorities e.g. Samoans, Hawaiians, Mexicans, Vietnamese so you equate ignorant behavior just with black people and if you had some knowledge of the world and America you know POOR PEOPLE ACT THE SAME EVERYWHERE. I swear black blogs are worse than the KKK! I lived by Penn State racist mothers there too, most of Pennsylvania

Admiral Komack said...

"Now here is the problem; at least more so for his Mother than his dad. All of his friends, including his little girlfriends, are white. His parents told us that before they left to come to the barbecue, the kid headed out with a car full of little white girls. And his Mom was not pleased about it. Not because, she said, his little playmates were white, but because, according to her, she knows what can happen in situations like that."

-Have the parents talked to the kid?

Has the kid read up on black history?

Does he talk to his parents about his friends?

Does his parents know his friends?

Have the parents talked with the kid about riding around with white girls?

Would the mom have been worried if her son were leaving in a car full of little black girls?

Yes, yes, a lot of questions.

Maybe the parents can pay a P.I. to trail the kid?

Oops, another question.

jp said...

Freeman,
I couldn't say it better myself.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking how igonorant it is for you to label people house negro or field negro. How do you know you don't come from house negroes? who are we to judge anyone? People choose different means to survive, everyone is not a strong as other people. Maybe your family and mine is here today because of a house negro, some may have chose to commit suicide rather than live through the atrocities of slavery but that house negro chose to survive a different way. Some one please tell my why are black people so hard on each other, why do black people believe ignorant behavior only applies to blacks in America or the world and have to separate themselves " oh massa we ain't like them" it sounds like the same racial hatred massa gave us we keep perpetuating. Please someone answer my question, because ever since I've been online every black blog I read puts down black people like the blogs are written by the KKK,when is this self hatred going to stop? Is this why in the same breath as stating how racist America is parents from the '60's and '70's send their kids to massa for edumacation

Anonymous said...

BTW, I homeschooled my son so the first thing he did not learn is blacks were slaves. I did not teach him American history until he was ten. The first thing he learned was black people were the original people. I don't understand why black people would send their children to a mostly white school, why don't we have our own schools why give your most precious resource to racist America and then wonder why our children (especially the boys) are lost and violent. They still teach the Founding Fathers were great even though they owned slaves, I swear the generation of the Civil Rights movement has let your children down, got your jobs with the white man, your kids can go to school with whites and y'all just settled, leaving my generation wondering what happened. How come you did not open black schools run by black people, how come you did open black owned businesses, why did you move farther and farther from the hood, why did you you sell out your children, first you hated whitey but you'd rather send your children to be educated my them and not teach or erase his-tory. Crack came and killed my generations hope, and instead of lambasting the government for pushing crack and guns in our neighborhoods, you put down the crack user and their children " oh look at these dumb niggas, oh hip-hop is the reason for all our problems" What happened, your parents were getting lynched and grandparents were slaves and here we are in 2008 puttind down each other instead of creating our own wealth, education, jobs...

Anonymous said...

Field:

...And to the parents out in the Newton part of Philly.
First - can we get a 'Great day in the mawnin'" and a "Hallelujah...what took so long!!?" - another suit and tie-wearing; member of the U.S. Senate no-less; dues-paying member of the Klan is, thankfully, DEAD. And, is it a testimony to our times that not a whole lot of MSM time is wasted lamenting his (jesse helms)demise?
Our children (and grandchildren) have left us in the dust of identity politics. Become comfortable with the tired, bored stares from our children when we remind them that, "But, you/we're black". Moving to the 'burbs and beyond is understandable - as long as one is willing to live in that cultural desert. We must look silly hanging onto the rhetorical and ritual shreds of "authentic identity" that bolstered our maturity into the early 21st century. As an aging disciple of Malcolm and Martin; retired Panther and 'revolutionary', I have had to eat lots of crow and humble pie as my one child raises my bi-racial (and beautifully talented)granddaughter. With each passing day I better understand James Baldwin's comment regarding, "...the yoke, burden of racial politics/identity, the release of which brings the heavenly freedom that each of us ultimately and earnestly seeks..."
Thanks, again, for this forum, Field; keep us honest - house and field negroes and goin' nowhere.

Georgia "Flash"

hennasplace said...

I think Field mentioned something that teenager is a product of his environment. I think there is a paradox that while blacks who seek better opportunities by moving to neighborhoods with better educational school systems or paying for private education with the idea of preparing their children for a better life than them, but somehow remember their black culture. However, how do you define black culture. I do not believe adults have an idea of a definition of black culture, but we aspect your children to understand it.

The African-American community is not a monolithic group. We have Afro-Cubans, Afro Brazilians, West Indies, etc. The black community is as just diverse as people who are descendants of Europe or Asia people. Are we educating our children, but telling them to stick to their own kind? I do not have same interests as of black people with the exception that we are black. I have to be honest I have interest in music that does not include hip-hop. I like The Root, Common, and Mos Def, and that's as far as I going with rap. I am well-rounded individual that enjoys attending ballets and opera, but also love contemporary dance like Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor. I can have conversation about sports although it's more towards the historical and political aspects of sports. I agree that black history is important, but along just telling our kids about slavery that peculiar institution, we also have to highlight the many accomplishments of the community as well. It's what Soledad O'Brien said in an interview with Essence about her report on Black in America series of CNN scheduled to air later this month, "Most African-Americans aren't out here selling crack on the corner. They get up, go to work, come home, and go to bed. Those people are invisible in the media." There is a paradox where you will see Oprah or Condi Rice or the other of the spectrum where Q-tip was arrested for the possession of two kilos of crack cocaine.

We have to understand that we are living a different generation than that of our parents while many things change, some remain the same. But you cannot expect your children and teenagers to find black friend when you live in a predominately white neighborhood because they adapt and adjust to their surroundings. It is we the adult have a more difficult time because of our experiences. I understand we want to protect to protect our youth, but at the same time we cannot deny them of their own experiences either.

ava said...

I think that black parents should be very careful with allowing their smart, talented, well-rounded children hang out with mostly white people. When they get a bit older many of them start to feel like they are white and disown everything remotely black. I have seen in growing up going to provate school, doing gymnastics and ice skating, and being in ap/honors classes. If parents don't do something about that mess, they will most likely have a self-hating coon on their hands.

I agree. I used to work with one of these self hating coons. And the white people would actually laugh at him and call him a "wanna be white". What's funny is that a lot of these self hating coons who grow up and spend most of their time out in the suburbs actually stereotype their "hood" sisters and brothers. When in actuality, the most successful blacks in every field law, medicine, business, entertainment, etc. are blacks who are orinally from the hood. Some of this new generation coming from the suburbs are really some sad disillusioned souls when it comes to race relations with white people. If I happen to have children, they will have to have a strong connection to their blackness.

R.J. said...

This is definitely my expertise. I moved to an affluent WSZ when I was sixteen and I found myself going out with a lot of white people back then.

My advice to the teenager: Go out and have fun, but keep in mind at some point race will become an issue.

Grata said...

"The only thing that kept me strong and able to go through it was because I expected it. YES I expected it and they delivered. So don't listen to the people who HOPE for a better world, prepare your kid with the armor to live in this world".

Freemanpress,

I am with your entire post. I am black and foreign and even if I became an American citizen I don't intend to raise my children here. I was luckly to grow up without knowing racism and don't want my children to grow up in a battle ground state of mind.

Regarding raising your children in a white environment. For me the most concern would be identity. They need to be grounded in who they are and understand the realities of this society before you let them out. Sending a child in at an early age will definitely affect the formation of their identity and not in a positive way, I believe.
America sees the black person a certain way and no amount of denial can erase that fact. A child has to understand this reality and so when they deal with other people, they are better equiped to deal with any mishaps.

rikyrah said...

The average Negroe cannot go to a magnet school, only very select Negroes get into magnet schools. A magnet school is a private school paid for by public school funds

Yep. That was me, from grades 4-12.

Mama didn't play, and whatever she did to get me in, whatever test needed to be taken, I took it and passed with flying colors.

as for your OP, FN:

I'm with the mother on this tip.

My parents were seriously Old School, FN.

NO getting into cars with other kids.

IF I needed to go to a party, Daddy or Mama would take me and pick me up.

Period.

This was non-negotiable.

My sister thought my parents were crazy..until she had kids of her own and instituted the same policy.

Means she has a group of teenage boys always around her house, but she accepts that. Over time, she's been able to decifer which one she'd trust with her son being in their car and which one she wouldn't. And, her son, though he doesn't like it, follows the rules.

This parent's situation is why I'm not leaving the city.

Whitney B. said...

Yo,

Field, that turkey looks over-done. Me, being married to a Cajun, knows what a good turkey on the bar-bee looks like.

That being said, I read every comment on this blog. And, I have to say, I agree with most of you all (except for the racists of either stipe).

Nsangoma: what happened to your nutsieness? I find myself in agreement more than not these last few posts! I miss the angst....

Hathor: I agree with you. Philly is one bastion of racism by whites.

Kellybelle: what about the Williams sisters? I hope I got the name right as I don't follow tennis, except to follow them.

Christopher (with the pic): kuddos to you. Fucking biggots! What do expect from King George, who killed more folks (black) "legally" than most lynchings put together?

Question,
Have any of you read "Dreams of My Father" by Barack Obama? When he became Barack instead of "Barry". It opened my eyes wide open: with toothpicks.

I've always been a multi-cultural, multi-racial kinda gurl. I never even thought about some of the stuff that O'Man brought to the table. Wasn't raised like that. My house had many stripes, including color and gender issues. We were all part of a gumbo, lotsa good stuff to make a tasty dish.

Come time for high school. The school in our district, in the inner city of Chicago, was gangland supreme. Mostly 'cause of the Puerto Ricans, but it was a predominantly black high school. So, the stoopid mother and step-fiend went and bought a house in Oak Park, IL. Went from a nice blend of spripes, to a school of 4800 students which was predominantly white, and the year I was admitted, in 1969, had 4 (count 'em) four black students, two of them from other countries. Nice! Boy, was I "corn"fused. I hated it and dropped out at the age of 16. Fortunately, I got rescued by a scholarship and got to go to University for another 6 years, struggling to keep up with (3.8) a lot of privileged brainiacs.

Now, my drift off to kids today. I agree with your wife, Mr. Field. And her friend's mom. Kids today are allowed to much freedom. And, I do think it is dangerous for a young black man to be traveling in a car full of white young women. The cops in Philly would definitely pull that car over. For the most part, they are bigots, whether white or black. Their whole thing seems to be racial profiling. I see it everyday, as I live "in the 'hood". I've never seen a white person pulled over, they are always black or Hispanic (or whatever the "PC term" is for either race).

Case in point, one of the bar-bees I attended this weekend included an un-married white chick (OK, it was in the all white section of Marcus Hook) who's got a sparkling little white linebacker, not yet a year; she got a free pass to go to the Shore with her 'hoodie (all white folks) friends this weekend by her parents. What the eff is wrong with this picture? Trash is trash. I like these folks, for reasons other than their offspring issues, but come on America!!! What the eff?

As for Helms, RIP (rest in Pergatory you MF)!!! Another white racist bites the dust, and another one and another one and... Maybe someday we'll all be the same color, a nice dark cream. Cafe au lait.

Respectfully submitted ramble,
Whit Brown

field negro said...

"BTW how disgusting that you have that picture of Ronnie a man killed in police custody, all black blogs I visit I swear are run by white folks they all have the same premise "oh look at this dumb nigga I'll put him down to lift myself up"'

Anon 4:03PM, I appreciate your perspective, but you have got to be able to think when you come to this blog. Read the sidebar that I posted about Ronnie White again, and tell me if you feel the same way.

metricpenny said...

I'm a black woman living in an area with the same demographics. My daughter is an only child.

The black adults in our community tend to socialize amongst one another. The women with male children have this discussion a lot.

It seems the fathers don't have a problem with their sons "dating" only white females. The consensus being that the fathers know the male teenage mentality leans towards their sons "hitting it" and quitting it later. No problem. Just boys being boys.

The mothers' main concern seems to be they are afraid that their sons are doing exactly what society does -- making the white female the standard for what is attractive and desirable. Thus they feel their sons believe them (their mothers) to be substandard.

That's a difficult thing for a mother to discuss with her son. Especially if daddy is giving him the old wink and nod.

Whitney B. said...

Eield,

Just went through all of your side blogs; "AND IF THERE IS A HELL HIS MISERABLE SOUL IS THERE RIGHT NOW. I HOPE IT'S HOT ENOUGH TO BURN THE CROSSES TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT."

RIP, your bastard, RIP: Rest In Pergatory, you GD biggoted a-hole!

Amen, Brother Feild. Or can this red headed white chick call you that? Brother, I mean.

That effing bastard, may he burn in hell, if we're lucky enuf to have such a thing!

szechuanpork said...

NSangoma said...

I agree with everything you said, but the Federal Government pays for minority students' attendance in this Charter School. Central High is still the best High School here including all choices. Tons of good teachers work there. Just tricky to get in.

If you go to school with smart kids and hang out with them, you will be smarter. I can't understand the concept of acting white. I heard some AA mothers at the children's doctor's office just cussing up a storm about nothing, just gossip. Good thing they weren't acting white. Next time I'm going to say something to that.

Whitney B. said...

Oh yeah,

And Bob said "Even in the Philly burbs he would be into the urban gansta thing....& getting into some very bad stuff that would maybe bring hin to parts of Philly his parents would rather he not visited."

Hello, are you out there you idiot? Excuse me!!! Are you actually living in the inner-city of Philly? I am, and let me tell you, if you are black, under the age of 55, you'd better wear your seat belt and be driving the Philly dictated under the over 10 miles per hour on hour "not so fair" streets. Don't piss me off again, occifer!!!

Lawdy, how some of us reach some lofty places!

rikyrah said...

Nsangoma: what happened to your nutsieness? I find myself in agreement more than not these last few posts! I miss the angst....

I thought it was just me...LOL

Anonymous said...

Thoughts from an African-American private school teacher:

Welcome to the leading edge of change in the united states of murica folks. When you want your kid to have the best education possible to make it in the world as it is (as opposed to the world as we imagined if martin and malcom or jimi were still alive) then you understand that they must learn how to read, write, figure and research with the best of 'em. That is the goal for any kid. my kid, your kid. period.
Where to find that 'best education'? Usually its around great teachers. Great teachers are purchased like any other valuable commodity. Those schools that can afford to keep great teachers are where smart people send their kids.
Brothers and sisters, bear with me there is a point to this rambling:
The student in Field's example running off with the white gals in the car while mom and dad squirm is a snapshot of eras overlapping, like tectonic plates that represent generations. Our old-people nightmares of lynching, exclusion, separation and danger that we associate with hangin' around white folks (pun sorta intended) are (thankfully) lost on today's under-20-somethings.
That young man, those gals (and the rest of his friends on campus) have lived with each other for 4 years. Assemblies, sports events, social events, tests, failures, bad stuff, good stuff, teen stuff.
I can tell you from every day experience that these young people learn to respect each other as people first.
Kids do transcend their 14-year-old stereotypes and misconceptions to form incredibly nuanced understanding of what some of their classmates endure. When it works, its great but....
It is NOT exact science and often times African American students have significant problems in private schools because they have no support in the navigating the culture.

If mom and/or dad have no clue about the importance of education and what it takes to provide a quiet, safe regular place for their kid to do homework, then chances are it won't work. If the kid's homies are makin' fun because studying is acting white then it becomes difficult.

IF THE SCHOOL IS CLUELESS how to support African American students and their realities, then you have a real mess.

Thankfully, According to Field's example, the young man is getting good grades, he has friends and is not looked upon as a problem to anybody.
Private schools like the one he attends strive to make everyone feel included.

Don't worry about this young man. He seems to be making the inevitable transition From self-identifying as Black first to an enhanced, expanded self-identification as a citizen of the world who must be comfortable with his surroundings regardless of the skin shade of those in the room with him.
This young man will never forget he's black in America, make no mistake. It sounds to me as if his mind is now strong enough to understand his (very cool) new world without acting like, well, a niggah.
Bottom line: Mom and dad get over it. Your boy's growing up in a world where he's always going to be a rare commodity (smart, handsome, responsible, talented african american male) in this bitch called amurica so give him all the love you can and maybe a subscription to Ebony.

All I can say to that family is congratulations. We all should have your problem. Tell anybody who accuses your kid of selling out to get back into the crab bucket and chill out. =-)

(oh by the way...I don't know the school or the neighborhood but if this school is THAT special, the local cops already know many of these privileged pre-adults (including our boy you can be sure of it...). Don't worry mom, the local liberal cops are not freaked out by one brother in a car fulla white babes. Now, if it was the other way around......=-(
(Thanks again field....db)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

My siblings and I grew up in a suburb like your son's friend. Excellent schools, near NYC, wealthy and 99% white. Add to the mix, foreign parents who have no idea what it's like to grow up black America. My parents came here as adults who grew up in a countries where the majority of people were black.

Things have change since my high school days in that suburb. The kids are more multiethnic and are not as hung up on race as we were. It wasn't an easy place for me to grow up. I heard the N word all the time, then when I went to college I was called an oreo, although the majority of my friends where black, I was involved with the Student Afro American society and the black greeks. Just because a sister likes Duran Duran and Public Enemy and speaks in complete sentences doesn't mean she wants to be white.

I would say to the worried mom, sign up for Jack and Jill or join a black church. Her son might have to put up with other blacks calling him an Oreo but if he if he knows who he is and where he comes from he can tell those fools to kiss his ass.

lmb said...

Lawd, so many of you well-meaning folks have missed a good 25% of the point. Especially you brothas.

(Field, it sounds like Mrs. Field tried to call your attention to it but you decided to "un-address" it with her - i.e., sweep that clucker under the rug. Well, that's what I'm here for with my vaccum. :D)

Given the fact that you've all rescued this boy from urban blight, kept him safe from being dead, and educated him on multiculturalism, I guess it doesn't matter if he takes all those little white girls to prom one after another while the few little sistas in his class look mournfully on at their future in Oprah's 70%?

Or are we so enamored of the "Save a Son" program that we don't really give a hang about "Save a Little Sista"?

And before you tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, and my stuff is simplistic: when I was in high school, graduating valedictorian, I had to sit by while the only other brother in my class - a leading jock, some of you Titan fans might know who he is - took a white girl to all the school's social events because his MOMMA told him he "shouldn't date girls smarter than him."

So because of that mentality, for a long time I was part of the 70%.

And I can't imagine I'm the only sista reading this blog who was.

But hey - I guess it doesn't matter what happens to the young sistas as long as the young brothas are protected, right?

Right??

*crickets*

field negro said...

Anon. 2:27AM, thanks for those comments from an actual tescher's perspective. You make a hell of a point about teaching being a commodity like everything else.

nyc/caribbean....my experiences were probably more similar to yours. But then I went back home to Jamaica to attend middle and high schools, and I probably didn't have to dedal with a lot of the nuances that come with some forms fo racism. And you are right about the kids now, I think they are much more open to each other, and are stronger in their own persona beliefs.

lmb, no "*crickets*" here. I hear what you are saying, and that's an interesting point. Mrs. Field tried to make the same one, and I understood what she was saying too. But isn't every situation different? I mean would it be fair to place this kid in your school back in the seventies? Maybe if he was there he would have dated you, or asked you out to the prom? I am just saying.

BTW, I have met this kid, --played tennis with him a few times-- and he is not what some of you imply he might become. Trust me, even at this early age, I can tell that this kid is grounded and he will be fine.

Knowing both of his parents like I do, I would say that he has no choice.

kemetkind said...

He seems to be making the inevitable transition From self-identifying as Black first to an enhanced, expanded self-identification as a citizen of the world who must be comfortable with his surroundings regardless of the skin shade of those in the room with him.

I agreed with some of your post anon but there is no "inevitable" transition from self-identifying as black first that has any value to black people collectively.

Such a transition amounts to self-inflicted genocide. We lose our identity and we are hopelessly lost as a people on the world stage...literally, metaphorically, physically,scientifically...whatever -ally you can muster still fits.

That said there is nothing whatsoever precluding a black person from realizing they are a citizen of the world who must be comfortable with surroundings regardless of the skin shade of those in the room...most of us are.

I like many responders here attended predominately white schools with the requisite cadre of white friends.

From my perspective with a 7-year-old just pulled out of her all-white school in the burbs and placed into a black private school in the city, things aren't much different now than 30 years ago...

Kids show little regards for racial boundaries but when they get older and it's time to actually compete they will likely choose white privilege and all that comes with it over any fidelity to their childhood multiculturalist ideals.

So if all our kids have is this polly annish view of the world they are in for a rude awakening that we should've had sense enough to prepare them for.

Sounds like despite their males having stomached too much kool-aid Mrs. Field and the kid's mom have plenty of that good sense left:)

isonprize said...

Field,

Since you are in Philly now, check out the history of Jack and Jill club. NOT the cool website, Jack and Jill Politics I mean the J&J organization that was founded in Philadelphia.

Re: the black boy who jumped in the car with all his white friends. The J&J clubs were founded by black mothers so that their kids could be meet 'similarly raised' black kids.

Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

And while my parents didn't feel the need to join because the clubs were a bit too 'bougie' her tastes,(not to mention colorstruck at the time (It was the mid-60's), I have to admit, as an adult, the J&J moms had method to their madness.

Just like Jewish moms who tell their daughters, 'you can date anyone who want, but bring home a nice Jewish boy to marry (preferably a doctor)'

I ain't mad at 'em....

isonprize said...

To Lmb,

It is MUCH more 'acceptable' for black boys to hang with white girls than it is for black girls to hang with white boys.

My freshman year in college - wanna-be-Ivy in Pennsylvania. 4,000 students, 40 black boys, 10 (count 'em) black girls.

The one time I did go out with a white boy, everybody in the BSU, and I mean EVERYBODY ostracized me. Now, I coulda snuck around with him, and that woulda been cool, but out in the open? "What the hell is wrong with you? How can you do that?!"

Things have changed in A-merry-ca, but they haven't changed that much...

And let's not even talk about my girlfriend (white girl, blonde hair, who was raised in Venezuela, fluent in Spanish and quite used to all colors and cultures) dating a 'Barack' back in the early '80s. In. DC.

DC as in District of Columbia. She got the stares of LIFE from the sistas. and more than a few comments directed toward her 'barack.'

Miles to go before we sleep....

Plantsmantx said...

"I agreed with some of your post anon but there is no "inevitable" transition from self-identifying as black first that has any value to black people collectively."

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

"it seems like mama wants to make damn sure that her some becomes a self-ghettoizing bigot no matter who his friends are and how they feel about him. Go Mama!"


"just put a xxx-larege white t-shirt on the child and tell him yt is out to get him whatever he does. so let's get the free ride over with now and knock up those white bitches, buy a glock and run to the inner city where he belongs. mama will be proud then."

Ah, these two. Of course, we know that they'd be among the first to single out that black who is in a car full of white girls.

AgentX said...

Whew! Hot thread, Field.

I see both sides of the coin here.
Mrs. Field doesn't want the kid to wind up being chastised on Nancy Grace because inexplicable situation X occurred.

At the same time, this is 2008, not 1968. Well, to some degree, it still is 1968. But still...what are the odds of something happening? One in a million? Kids should be kids and not chained to the baggage of the past. Not everybody is out to get you, just half of everybody. Let the kid have some fun and get some life experience

Jonzee said...

Wellsuh,

I grew up in a 95% white town outside of New York City. At the end of elementary school, my parents took me out of public school (where I was literally one of 3 black kids--out of 400) and put me in a small parochial school of 140 kids--with 40% diversity (asian, spanish, Afro-carribbean). My parents, of course, told me back then that their fear was of the junior high being large and having a small but well know number of pot heads. Later, I was told it was because both of my parents felt that I lacked an appreciation of my blackness.

And I did. I went from only loving hair metal to having a significant appreciation of hip-hop (and hair metal). I became engrossed in the various cultures around me. And I am much better for it.

I also found out later that my father--who had a bunch of white friends growing up( and pledge a white frat) felt I needed to be in more diverse situations, because his own experience with his white friends was "its all good in grade school...but we don't do black" when they grew up.

As such, I would be concerned if I were mom. I know alot of young men like the son you mentioned. And more times than not, they grew up to "not do" black women or 'appreciate' their blackness. Those who did 'appreciate' it was because the parents made sure to take them to cultural events, discuss family and political history etc, to offset what could be a disaster.

RisingTide said...

Damn, Field, you get a lotta comments!

Here's my distilled wisdom.

1. I hope he wasn't driving! PLEASE tell me that was an 18-year-old behind the wheel!

2. Fifteen, and now they're worried? That's too damn late. You take a kid who is seven or eight, and you tell them stories. Kids like stories, even if they aren't the fun kind. You get them in the mindset that "this happened".

For age Fifteen? Ugg.

3. Send the kid to boot camp. Insist that he's grounded until he learns how to defend himself articulately. Wake him up at five in the morning, and demand he explain just why he is in bed with a girl. Give him a few beers, and explain why his hand is touching a girl (lock him in the basement, you don't want the police knowin' your kid is drinkin'). Sit down and train him, until he's able to master the life skills he needs. Give him some thought experiments, some "this happened to me, and I want your answer engraved in your SOUL." He'll think you're overreacting, sure. Give him an hour off his curfew for good behavior (i.e. takin your paranoia seriously).

4. Yeah, get him involved in some stuff that involves meeting more than just the whitecrust folks.

DON"T saddle the kid with your paranoia -- channel your paranoia so that your 'still-quite-relaxed' kid will be able to defend himself. He'll think you've gone nuts, and let him. He'll remember what you taught, and you will both pray you don't need to use it.

ac said...

Interesting thread. Here's my two cents: the mother's concern about her black son alone in a carful of white girls is right to be concerned. Not because he's expressing interest in white girls that may or may not endure his whole life, not because he must not be "black" enough after living in the suburbs and hanging "white", but because he is a black male alone in a car full of white girls in a white suburb no doubt patroled by a predominately white police force.

The parents should talk to him about the dangers of others starting ish with him and his friends and of racial profiling. He needs to make sure his friends understand the dangers to him personally when the ish starts to fly they don't make matters worse, however well-intentioned. He may want to give his friends some heads up just so that in a worst case scenario they aren't all 0caught out flat-footed. That's not injecting/projecting their outdated fears of racism that's called reality and keeping it real. Be prepared for the bad stuff just don't let the preparation be your whole existence or even a majority of it.

After that the parents should trust that they've raised a good son and given him a thorough grounding in his heritage and roots and let him work the rest out on his own as we all do at that age.

I can't agree with the points vixen, ava and others are making about growing up in a predominately white environment. It's not growing up in a white environment alone that induces self hate and Uncle Tomsism. If you are well grounded and given appropriate home training you can have a very positive outcome. It doesn't necessarily require Jack and Jill or other organizations like that, although that can help. I can't help but think that those who use growing up in predominately white communities as an excuse to self-loathe are hiding some unacknowledged prejudice because it is so far removed from my own experience.

My three siblings and I grew up in a whiter than white neighborhood (we integrated it circa '75 as small children). While my brothers dated white women for a time in high school and college, both eventually settled down to marry black women (by the 90s and 00s). Both had a strong black identity and sense of self through-out. Our older brother (now deceased) experienced multiple problems with the white police force as he traveled through the County with various white girlfriends and that's what this young man's parents needs to be concerned about. When my younger brother went through the same phase we were living in a different all white community and he was a very well-known hs sport star - he didn't have quite the same trouble - but he knew to be on the lookout for it. Later in the 90s in yet another white community he was constantled hassled for DWB.

Both my brothers admitted in later years that the older they got the more aware they became of being fetishized (although not in ALL cases) and the more concerned they got about finding a life partner who would truly understand their "black" experience, not that necessarily equates to a black mate...) What I have found the most interesting about both my brother's choices in spouse is that they are both very dark, while my brothers are both pretty light. I love that they didn't just marry some light brown version of the white girls they had dated throughout the years, that they aren't colorstruck - they married sistahs!

To me that dispells the notion that if a young black man starts dating white girls, in a predominately white neighborhood, that its all over and Momma and Daddy might as well resign themselves to a Look Whose Coming to Dinner future.

As to the other half of our family - us girls, we turned out okay too. We all lovingly embrace our rich black heritage and are proud of who we are as a people. No self-loathing here.

Although as an aside I would note the dating scene was harder for us girls in an all white climate because most of the black boys were dating white. I think we would have been better served by contact with some Jack & Jill and other black organizations.

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