As we all may know, a lot of the media from the US is focused on the aftermath of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the murder of young Trayvon Martin. It is very interesting to see the aftermath of the ‘not guilty’ verdict and how it’s renewed the conversation about race.
Would the verdict have been different if it had been a young white boy killed by a black man? Many would say yes. As Africans we should not look at it as not really being our problem because we need to understand global race issues and how they affect us in any way.
Growing up outside Africa, I was very aware of race issues and my parents always made sure we knew what to do in certain circumstances (what you do when you were called a nigger or when the police stopped and questioned you for no good reason).
This was carefully targeted to my brother especially as he got older and started staying out a bit later. They had dealt with racism in the workplace and got stopped for ‘driving while black’ so they could enlighten us hard headed kids on the truth about our society.
So, what will I teach my children, especially my sons?
I will teach my future daughters that Black women will always be stereotyped and that they will have to work twice as hard to beat these stereotypes. We get judged on our hair, weight, careers, school choices and relationships as if they only apply to us and not other races.
As for my future sons…. well I will pray the day I find out I have a son whether he’s born here in Rwanda, Africa or the West. They will always have it a bit harder in certain aspects of life.
For example, you look at all the great projects that NGOs sent up for girls around Rwanda and you wonder, what do guys get? Girls have schools popping up around Rwanda that are interested in them getting into ICT.
And let a girl want to go to university abroad to study sciences, she will get money thrown at her from every angle. I’m not saying this is bad but I think in this race for gender equality a lot of young men are being left behind.
In the Western world, if he ever becomes wanderlust like his mother and wants to go to school or travel outside of Africa, I will have to teach him the realities of what it is to be a black man. They won’t look at you and differentiate you from being African as opposed to African American or Caribbean.
We are all the same in the eyes of a racist person and sometimes they may put him into a situation where he will have to think quickly before he ends up in jail or worse.
He too will always have to work harder because even in our own country young boys are usually misunderstood and sometimes put into categories depending on their grades in school or their interests in life. I will prepare him to be a confident man and to not be so quick-tempered with society when they are not always nice to him.
It is unfortunate that some parents like Trayvon Martin’s parents probably taught the same to their son but like many others before sometimes these lessons are not always enough.
What will you teach your sons?
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