By THERESA DAVIS
As a Caucasian parent of children of color, my parenting is on a whole different level. Haircare has changed for me – no more just washing, combing, done. Black history is so much more than just the work of Martin Luther King Jr. My family has become very aware of the eurocentrism in our school curriculum and how little it goes into how black culture has enriched America’s culture as a whole.
As a white person, I have no idea what it is like to be out in public and fearful of someone calling the police on me, or being followed around a store like a thief simply because of the color of my skin.
I find the experience of parenting children of color to be enriching, enlightening and eye-opening. Our family has been “woke” since our children walked through our doors.
There is a uniqueness to our circumstance. Racism and white privilege for us is like changing clothes. Sometimes the racism can be subtle, just like a general feeling of being unwelcome in an environment. Other times it’s more blatant, like being called nasty names when our child is having a public tantrum. When the kids aren’t with me, I feel the white privilege turn back on. It’s an interesting yet unwelcome experience that I could do without.
Parents of children of color things have to say things to their children that one would never say to a white child, such as “Some people may not like you because of your color, and because of that you need to be more careful.” No parent should have to tell their child these things, and no child should have to hear it.
As Caucasians, parenting a child of color is like wandering through unchartered territory. There are many twists and turns, hostility and kindness. It’s mostly on-the-job training, but the enrichment and education we get is well worth it.
Theresa Davis is a former early childhood educator and has worked in childcare centers for more than 15 years. She is also an adoptive mother, living and taking care of her family in the Capital District.