Growing up Black is an experience we share as a Black community. We watch shows depicting it, we make memes and jokes, we reminisce and joke about it. Yet we rarely question what growing up Black did to us as individuals. Even more so some of us feel required to give our kids the same upbringing we had. I grew up in an area that another Black individual called “A Dark Place”. I wanted to show my old neighborhood to my future children. Now I think I will skip this spiritual baptism. Why? because what I would be showing them is not happy memories but traumas.
While Black people are the definition of funk, rhythm, and soul we are also the definition of blues. Our upbringing does affect us and we need to acknowledge it before we progress in adulthood. I spent the last two years addressing my upbringing and feel better for it. Issues addressed only to myself. Self-healing and self-understanding were necessary to help promote me to self-love. As a Black Man self-love is rarely spoken in our circles. The Bravado contract we signed as teenagers remain in full effect. Some of us, regardless of gender, wonder what s there to address?
If this doesn’t apply to you, walk in peace. Just know that it applies to some people who look like you and share your community. We as a community need to discuss ass-whippings, the lack of parental affection, be raised to know you are Black, and so on. I had a class in Seventh grade that taught me how to engage with White people and people in general cause I am a Black Man. My Black childhood erased and replaced at the age of 11. I was taught to cross the street if it was only a white woman and me on that sidewalk, avoid elevators if it was only one other person getting on, and forced to watch or learn about traumatic events young because you are Black and need to know.
Being raised Black is being raised to grow up fast. we force lessons and traumas on kids. We faced those same traumas and we fear for the Black kids’ lives. Growing up we face a hostile environment. If we don’t address it we will never grow and the cycle will repeat. The best example I have is the show “Blackish” when they had that “deep” moment and he made his kids watch. The father was wrong at that moment. The kids didn’t need to see that because then it normalizes it. We have to address these traumas so our kids can be Young, Black, and Free. So they can grow to pass the fear and trauma and be better than us. However, that’s just my opinion.