October is Black History Month. Linda, mum at 18, shared with us how she’s teaching her son about Black History and also how she approached discussing it with him.
My son first became aware of Black History Month when he first started school.
Prior to this, I hadn’t really had any real discussions with him about it because at his age, I wasn’t sure it was something he would truly care for or fully grasp the understanding of.
It wasn’t until he started asking questions that I knew I had to educate him more on the topic. He was adamant to know exactly why black people in particular, were treated differently because of their skin colour.
He would ask questions like ‘Why were black people beaten up?’ and ‘What is a slave? What did black people do wrong?’
These were some of the hardest, heart-wrenching questions my son had ever asked me. He seemed quite upset and confused about the idea of segregation and oppression of black people and ethnic minorities.
I knew how grim the details of black history was and it was hard to articulate to a 4 year old at the time. I didn’t want to scar him with gory images of pain and suffering; I wasn’t sure how at that age, he would be able to fully comprehend or interpret such a huge subject.
I was fearful that it would potentially change his perception for the worse or brew some kind of resentment. On the other hand, I didn’t want to alter any of the facts or leave anything out or sugar coat it because I felt it was important for him to know, even at that age, the true history of black people and their development.
I wanted him to appreciate the journey and witness that heroism and bravery of the men and women who fought for equality. I wanted him to have gratitude towards some of the people that lost their lives in order for us to be where we are today.
I wanted him to see the beauty in the struggle and for the message of unity & perseverance to fully resonate with him.
One thing I did notice, is that there wasn’t much I could teach him or that the school was teaching him on black British culture in particular that reflected or directly influenced the society we live in today.
‘Black British History: Black Influences on British Culture (1948-2016)’ is a great book for parents who want to teach their children the fundamental history of the black people in Britain whose contributions to the culture are often overshadowed or overlooked.
I think the book helps parents like myself who want their child to be well-versed in ALL the history regarding black culture.
I have to admit that the beginning of the book caught me out when it quizzed whether any of the 33 people on the cover were easily identifiable.
I could only pick out 8 faces out of the 33 and the fact that my son could only identify 1, UK Grime artist Wiley, made me even more intrigued to study the book with him further.
The book did a lot to teach us about the amazing people that heavily influenced Britain and through teaching my son I learned a lot myself.
My son would usually just sit and listen to me babble on but with this book he is able to engage in activities and writing tasks, which made him even more eager to learn about the history of his people.
It also tackles reading comprehension, which helps me as a parent know that he understands the message of the text.
This is an insightful book on black British culture that my son, now 8 years old, thoroughly enjoyed reading and seeing images of people in all types of industries that have had a significant influence to the music, fashion, film & TV, amongst other industries that we see today.
Knowing that despite the barriers, many of these people in the book fought to pave the way for diversity in many different fields, has done a lot to boost my son’s self-esteem and taught him that with persistence, self- love, self- affirmation, hope and dedication anything is possible.