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


Dr. Asa G. Hilliard: What Do We Tell Our Children?

As we approach seven years since his transition from this physical world, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard remains one of our great master teachers.

The brief clip below features Dr.  Hilliard sharing the key messages and ideas we should be teaching our children to ensure their healthy growth and development. A core problem driving much of the madness we see within the African American community is a lack of historical, cultural and spiritual groundedness as African people within the Americas. It's absolutely true that no historically and culturally conscious people would live and interact with one another the way many of us do.

So what do we do? How do we interpret and understand our experiences in context? What are the key messages we should tell our children?

Below are a few of the key themes from Dr. Hilliard's presentation.

We should be telling our children...

  • that what is natural is to be whole, to be in balance and harmony as a family, as a nuclear family and as an ethnic family.
  • that they are divine.
  • that they are creative.
  • that they must develop good character.
  • what recovery (cultural, spiritual) looks like.

And how do we go about telling our children these things? Just as Dr. Hilliard encourages us, 'We tell them by doing that which we want our children to learn and be/become.'

Indeed, there was a time when we were whole.  And then came trouble...

So what does trouble look like, particularly in a racial/cultural sense?

How do you keep people from becoming and remaining whole?

  • Erase the memory of the people you want to dominate (the memory of what cultural recovery and wholeness looks and feels like).
  • Undermine and destroy a group's collective cultural identity.
  • Teach people about the superiority of their oppressor over themselves.
  • Control the socialization process of the people you want to dominate.

It's absolutely up to us, and within our power, to recover and reclaim 'our way'.

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