Black History Month is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our role as adoptive parents in educating our black children and the community around them about black history. I asked our clinical therapist Annie Newman to think about her childhood experiences with learning black history. Annie had commented during our Parent Resource Event in celebration of Black History that this type of opportunity had not been available to her parents when she was young. Annie was was born in Haiti and adopted into a white family as a toddler. I asked her if she would mind offering a few thoughts on her experiences with learning about black history growing up in a white family. She graciously agreed and this is what she had to say.
‘When I think about black history, I have to say that it was not emphasized in my education; however, I do remember in elementary school being quite interested in people like Harriet Tubman. When we were asked to write little essays on some historical person, I would often gravitate to her. I would research and investigate at home with my parents, this woman whom I thought was strong and amazing. I am truly grateful that my parents showed so much interest in fostering my intrigue with Harriet Tubman, but that’s as far as it would go. Opportunities like this did not occur specifically in my educational experience, unless it was something that I brought up at school. I cannot remember ever learning about Black History in school, and if I’m being completely honest, to this day, I don’t know as much as I wish I did. This isn’t to say that self-discovery and learning about this topic is a bad thing, but I am saying that supporting intrigue and interest within the school system would have been much appreciated, not just for myself as a Haitian Canadian, but also for other students.
I’m grateful for Annie’s presence at our office and the wisdom she brings from her personal experiences. As the month of celebrating Black History comes to a close keep in mind that as parents we have the incredible opportunity to foster and support our children’s interest in Great Black Hero’s of both the past and the present. We also have the resources to provide our children with accurate information about black history and the tools to support them in forming a healthy identity. These opportunities to invest in such an important aspect of your child’s development should not be restricted to one month of the year but part of an ongoing lifestyle of learning through exploration.
If you require more information about how to support your child’s learning about Black History or have questions or concerns about parenting a black child in a white family please feel free to contact us www.achildssong.ca.