Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Parenting in “Post-Race” America and the Role of Black Public Intellectuals (Left of Black S4:E16)

Parenting African American children in this age of not-so-post-racial America is no joke. Parenting African American children in the United States has always been wrought with craziness and some level of anxiety for many African American parents, precisely because we know the importance of 'race' consciousness, and the perils of not having one.

The idea of post-racialism is really more of a distraction than anything else anyway, as confronting racism is but the beginning stage of African Americans' process of understanding our identity as African people, and the underpinning worldview that gives way to the pathology of white racism. Having said that, this 'race' construct still has very real consequences, especially beginning during the early childhood years.

One of the topics, or dynamics, David Ikard and Mark Anthony Neal discuss during this latest episode of Left of Black is some of the challenge related to our efforts to protect our children from the really hurtful and backwards messages about race, beauty, and life.

Especially important, as David Ikard points out, is the importance of African American parents introducing our sons and daughters very early on to the meaning of race and racism in this country and throughout the world, including the politics of beauty, precisely because our children pick up on these messages so acutely, and via so many different sources, very early on.

Interesting discussion, and one I find myself having frequently with other African American parents who are very much concerned about not "losing" our children to this pathology of white racism and oppression. African American parents are - and must continue to be - the buffer for our children.

This is a discussion we should all be having - and more frequently. Likewise, white families should be having similar conversations; one anchored in more of a Tim Wise type of perspective.

The discussion about African American parenting comes in the beginning, and the full Left of Black discussion is about 30 minutes.

Left of Black host and Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal is joined via Skype by Professor David Ikard, author of Blinded by the Whites: Why Race Still Matters in 21st Century America (Indiana University Press) in a discussion about parenting in a “post-race” society and the role of Black Public Intellectuals.Professor Ikard teaches English and African-American Studies at the University of Miami.

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