There’s a toddler gym where the mostly white and wealthy folks go that I take my son to. It’s so refreshing to see the children play with each other without judgment. This isn’t to say that some of the kids aren’t jerks but they’re equal opportunity jerks. Still, some moms and nannies watch with laser-focused curiosity and caution as their sons and daughters jump around in the ball pit with a dark-skinned boy with nappy hair he inherited from his large, bearded, daddy, looking on.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, the only time us Black kids would interact with white people were at school with teachers, in the streets with cops or maybe the landlord. Either way, it was in a very limited capacity. I didn’t have any friends aside from Blacks and Latinos. It wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I associated with a white person who wasn’t some sort of authority figure. I wasn’t the only that had this experience either.
A lot of my friends grew up the same way which created a twisted cultural perspective. To us, white people all had money, they were smarter and for the most part more important than any of us. It wasn’t until adulthood that we realized that white folks can be just as smart or dumb as anyone else. It was like when the Wizard of Oz was exposed as a regular, insecure, basic ass dude. The curtain was yanked and the perfect superhumans we were in awe of as kids turned out to be just as flawed as the rest of us.
This is why I will continue to have my kid around people of different races, especially white people, so he becomes accustomed to being around them. I believe that having experiences with folks of different ethnic backgrounds lessens the cultural shock later on in life when it really counts. Without that exposure, it’s easier to mistake stereotypes as facts it helps kids realize that despite what they see in media or encounter dealing with someone of any race, no one is any better or worse than they are.
We need to more than ever reinforce the foundation of Black confidence and ensure fear and hatred don’t block our babies from greatness. That way our history will be more meaningful for them than just old clips of our parents and grandparents being attacked by dogs or slave movies where all we do is get our asses beat and raped for 90 minutes.
Love for yourself and your people is what drives community building. Getting caught up in hating white people or being too scared to stand level with them only makes you stagnant. I’d much rather my child spend his life’s energy gaining the knowledge to navigate this world on his own terms.
Regardless of if America becomes “great” again.
Larry Hester is a Brooklyn-born writer who’s written for Vibe, BET.com, The Source, Complex and more. He now resides in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and son. He welcomes any parenting advice or encouragement. Check him out onFacebook and Twitter @almostcooldad.
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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