My blackness is a defining characteristic of me. People often want to pretend they live in a world of color blindness in which they see no race, but that is a blatant lie. I see it every single day. I’m supposed to have an attitude, I’m inherently violent, and I’m on welfare. At least that is the assumption based upon my skin tone. People do it all the time, and I don’t expect any less from a child. Children notice color. Children ask questions. Children of color, in particular seem to pick up on the nuances of race in our society fairly quickly. My five year old knows I’m black, her father’s white, and she’s in between. She asks questions, and as her mother I answer them to the best of my ability. I’m just dreading the day where I have to tell her the truth about her race and how people will see her. It’s the talk all black parents have with their children, it won’t be any different because she’s biracial, as biracial in our country is black. We steady hold fast to the one drop rule, until it’s inconvenient for us. I dread putting my child in school and it terrifies me. I’m actually considering homeschooling. I’ve already picked out her curriculum, I’ve visited a homeschooling co-op or two to get a feel for them, and I’ve even looked at private schools. This video makes me reconsider even private schools, because there isn’t ANY diversity within a private school, and this kid’s experience reflects my own in predominantly white public and private schools I attended as a child. It’s heartbreaking because I know that it isn’t a unique experience for black children of the upwardly mobile in America.
People often wonder why I would consider homeschooling, and it’s simple. My experiences in public and private school tell me that school is inherently a horrible place for children of color, particularly in schools that are predominantly white. There is no recourse. You will be seen as a troublemaker, a know it all, told you are less intelligent, and you will essentially be beaten into submission until your confidence in yourself is eradicated.
Public schools, at least in Texas are very inconsistent in terms of the quality of education. Often times schools in predominantly non white areas tend to not get as great of ratings of their schools in comparison to white areas. Is it matter of intelligence and the Bell Curve theory? Probably not, but people will think that. In reality, it is a matter of tax base. The wealthier your school, the more resources you have. I really don’t have to worry about putting my child in a more economically advantaged school district, I can do that, but I find more than not, that economically advantaged lends to not be very diverse; and when you don’t have much diversity you have the problems I ran into as a kid. So I need a well off school that offers diversity and will shield my child from people who think she is inherently inferior because she is not 100% white. That doesn’t exist in Texas, and I do not want for her to have the same issues I had in school, in which anything lower than a “B” will send her into a fit of rage for fear of being put into special education classes. Not to mention, it’s Texas, even our best schools really aren’t the best schools out there in most cases, not even in the wealthiest of school districts, which is why the best education in Texas tends to be with the elite prep schools and private schools that average at around $30k/year.
Am I sheltering my child by considering homeschooling? Absolutely, and I have no problem stating such. White people have the luxury of their children being sheltered from privilege and racism, why can’t my child have the same? I feel I have to make that happen for her and homeschooling is a big way for me to do that.
I’m not the only one thinking this way.