It’s been a year, for sure. Here, I offer a few quick updates with more to come and a word about a podcast I’m on via the amazing Trina of Parenting for Liberation (link at the bottom):
We left our beloved day care after E aged out. From there, we made a brief stop at a play-based preschool where E struggled to figure out social interactions with others. He got pulled out a lot to “take breaks.” I inquired about patterns and learned that he was the only Black boy that was being held out so frequently. The clincher came when E told me that other children were calling him “bad,” and my fear of labeling and punitive measures compelled us to move into a “more-structured school.” There, a Catholic School, the pendulum swung all the way to the other side and E lasted about a month before we were asked to leave. There, he was one of two Black boys in his class. He began mid-year and was expected to have made all necessary transitions by the second week of school. It was an impossible situation and left us demoralized and hurt. Believe it, too, when parents talk about the preschool to prison pipeline. It exists. It exists. It exists.
Fortunately, we’ve bounced back because we’ve found a fantastic small, in-home preschool/daycare run by the most amazing Black teacher. I swear. She’s magic: firm, high expectations, loving. E has gotten it right together. His new teacher’s theories include that people simply didn’t care enough to attend to the bad habits that he’d acquired. She’s nipped them in the bud and he’s blossoming, and I feel like I can catch my breath before we begin the next leg of the journey. I’ll write more about the preschool debacle once I’ve gotten a bit more distance from it.
In these situations, I’ve learned that I have to speak up, show up, and stand up for my kid. I have learned, too, that I’m not imagining things and that anti-Blackness and White Supremacy are everywhere, particularly in the classrooms of preschools.
I’ve pulled my supporters even more tightly around us. One of the proudest accomplishments that’s come out of this is the founding of a parenting group called Free, Whole and Happy Black Boys, modeled on the amazing Parenting for Liberation. As a treat, I’m going to leave you with a link to the latest podcast, featuring me. Please give it a listen (it’s about 30 mins., the perfect amount of time to get you nearly across the city if you’re living in the Bean). I discuss how the group came to be. If you’re in Boston raising a Black sun, join us! We definitely cannot do this work alone.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons