Life in My Words
By: Monique K. Rose
Daily exposure to racism in elementary school and below is emotionally and mentally traumatizing for children. I can tell by the conversations young children have about the topics that they THINK they understand well. This is why I don’t advocate for children to get involved in current events too young. Definitely not before middle school. (I’m a certified grade 6-12 teacher so perhaps my perspective is a bit biased. I’m open to your feedback)....
I wasn't aware of traumatic events going on in the world until 6th grade. Prior to that, I exercised cognitive skills, communication skills, and analytical skills. My parents enforced spirituality, education, and overall mentally prepared me by ensuring I had a strong foundation to take on the information that later consumed my thoughts as a preteen and beyond...
I find that children under 11 years old may not ACCURATELY identify racism in a predicament until they’re old enough to metacognitively reflect on it. For instance, if a white girl bullied me or didn’t want to play with me I just INNOCENTLY thought as a child SHOULD: “she's mean,” or “she just doesn’t want to play with me” or “she doesn’t like me” or “let me go find someone else to play with”. That’s normal or acceptable in my opinion compared to a child complaining that the white girl is being racist. It’s detrimental for young children, while their brains are barely developed, to accurately identify and cope with these worldly corruptions. According to the American Psychological Association, children that are exposed to traumatic events are more likely to have mental health issues. That’s how most of the kids in our community grow up traumatized and conditioned to a victimized way of thinking. I believe parents should continue to raise their children to see the world innocently until they’re mature enough to digest the corruption. I like that church is an uplifting place for children to identity right from wrong and understand that there are sinful things in the world before actually facing it. There are many places, programs, or organizations other than church that create a safer space for children to learn and understand current events.
It’s embedded in westernized culture to feed children the media. In many countries and cultures, children are raised to excel in their studies, build on their crafts/talents, and focus on self sufficiency. America apparently loves to condition peoples minds with their media agenda aka propaganda. I won’t expose my child to it. He’ll learn events through reading and in a classroom setting where his thinking is guided by experts. There are many interviews online where celebrity parents say that they advocate for the same, although they work in the media industry. I recall parent teacher conferences and PTA meetings where parents said that they don’t allow thier children to watch tv or use tech devices unsupervised. My upbringing was a bit similar so I experienced first hand the benefit of this and will continue to raise my son in that way. When he is in middle school, we will dissect these conversations with him.
But of course, how one raises thier child is very subjective. So to each it’s own but always keep your child's mental health in mind. - @moniquekrose
#Keepinmind #mentalhealth #JustMyPiece #perspective #Childdevelopment #mentalhealth #childrenareprecious #futureleaders #HistoryInTheMaking #educationiskey #insight
Our minds are mendable
so that our reality is bendable.
We are not victims.
We suffer because we’re warriors.
God gives his toughest battles to his greatest soldiers.
How dare we lay down and surrender to a black reality that we can change?
This is my mentality and I am Black American,
I know what my reality is and that is not the one that we were conditioned to believe
or was historically painted for us as African Americans.
By: Monique K. Rose
What is the Black Reality?
We are constantly exposed to this notion that being African-American or Black American equates to suffering. The idea that Black Americans are born into unfair circumstances, often disadvantaged by individual and institutionalized racism, leaves many Black people feeling hopeless about their future success and family growth. Historically, we were displaced in a white supremacy society that inherently made us victims of an identity crisis because we struggle to fit in a society that constantly enforces we don't belong.
Thousands of African-Americans can relate to some of the experiences that leaders in the Black community highlight in their music, art, books, podcasts, and more. Take, for instance, this clip of Meek Mill, spotlighted as an advocate for prison reform, as he describes the experiences he faced as a Black man in America.
My story may not be one of immense financial struggle but it certainly is one filled with pain. I learned early on that as a Black women I am subject to living a laborious life, working double the time and triple the effort to achieve success. Compounding the physical labor of black womanhood is the ongoing emotional fight to be strong when I am deeply saddened and the psychological damage caused by years of verbal and physical abuse. I battle self-doubt as I avoid making life choices through a tainted lense of reality caused by dysfunctional relationships and traumatic experiences that I once considered a norm. Growing through these ongoing pains has given me the strength to break through every glass ceiling and put me in a position to inform and inspire Black girls on how to do the same.
The Black Reality Is Divided.
The collective feeling of hopelessness that is caused by a collection of testimonies that convey Black hardship, is birthed in what Kanye West dubs the “slave mentality.” Referencing slavery, he states during his visit to the White House for a press conference with Donald Trump, "You were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all. It's like we're mentally imprisoned."
West left many people, especially our Black community disheveled and uproarious for various reasons. I evaluated the media's response to Kanye’s analysis of members in his culture and felt the magnitude to which he ignites this feeling of black victimization. He reminded us that oftentimes black people feel targeted and misunderstood. The question that lingered in me as I listened to the press conference was how can a fellow African American, who himself went through the trenches of the black experience, share beliefs that do not resonate with his own people?
As I reflected on Kanye West's successes, admiring the fact that despite our horrid history in America and his shortcomings, West still made it on top of the game in his era, becoming a world-renowned billionaire, I resonated with his beliefs on the "slave mentality" and imagined the opportunity to approach him with this query:
Does he imply that some Black people suffer because of the mentalities we derive from our experiences and history of suffering and now we've become this abyss of suffering energy that gravitates more suffering because we continuously, consciously and subconsciously, hone in on these experiences of suffering?
The question should not demote, denounce, or disclaim the facts of our history and the fight our ancestors faced daily, many of them dying as a result. I acknowledge discrimination, racially organized socio-economic standards, and injustices that my fellow African Americans face even still today. However, I can't help but ask how do we stop the growth of that seed planted in our lives throughout history? How do we blossom despite the tainted fertilization of our history.
Let's change the narrative to one of Black Excellence
Has it dawned on the people that defame and denounce West for marrying a woman that is not Black and embracing the the world's most hated president, Donald Trump that maybe, just maybe, he no longer thinks from a "slave mentality" or the struggling Black American mentality that we are conditioned to harboring due to our school history textbooks?
The expectation in most cases for Black women is that we’ll end up unhappy, struggling, single mothers with messed up children and lifestyle diseases. As a African American female, I must say that we have potential far greater than our fears.
I, myself, experienced my potential to be like Donald Trump; jumping through the loop holes, utilizing the system to our advantage, and infamously being my natural self without regard to society's life standards and expectations.
The picture painted for Black men is that they’ll be fatherless absent- father’s that are forced to work multiple jobs to make a living or spend their life being emasculated and humiliated in prison. Many are afraid that they'll be victims of police brutality or killed by their own people in their community. Why is this the generalized story? Why aren’t the positive, prosperous, and peaceful sides of our culture glamorized the way the drugs, aesthetic bodies, foul language, and crime rates glamorized in the media. Could this also be what Donald Trump Calls “fake news?”
Perhaps successful African Americans like West, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle & Barack Obama, Shaquille Oneil, Lebron James, Supa Cent, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, and Beyonce, (just to name a few), have transcended from the Black struggle to a mindset of power, passion, self-will, and meritocracy. Maybe West thinks from a superior force, a higher calling placed on from some higher being he believes in and we too can all beat the odds and design our lives to create the success stories that our ancestors did not have the freedom to choose. We can choose to be in God's image, prosperous and purposeful, or we continue to point blame while blossoming into society’s image. God promised us all a life grander and greater than the life we imagine when we put our faith and trust in him.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
Thousands of prosperous Black Americans discover that they have a gift, believe in their gift, and align their life purpose with delivering that gift. The power of our gifts is that it gives us something to live for and shapes the vision we aim to blossom into. The gift distracts us from the negative stories and the false realities painted for us in the history books we read and the media we see. Twelve Years A Slave and Django Unchained are movies that constantly regurgitate the pain of our past instead of our promised purpose - we are Children of God and we are made in his image (1 John 3:2). We all need to recognize who we are. Our suffering is no different from the suffering Jews underwent like segregation, third world countries experiencing poverty, or middle eastern countries battle like religious wars. Let’s stop allowing unfair treatment to define who we are. Let’s unite to determine our future and recreate the Black narrative. Let’s stop calling ourselves victims and decondition our minds from a failure mentality?
God's greatest gift to us is the ability to change and grow. I am proud to say that being Black American is an added advantage in 2020 and beyond. We have multifarious resources at our disposal, limitless access to information, unrelenting creativity, mental freedom and the privileged opportunity of owning our craft by becoming business owners. It’s time we collectively change the Black American reality by mastering our crafts pushing the negative narratives to the back of Black American history.
Monique is a teacher, entrepreneur, mother, and writer. She wears multiple hats due to her mission - living her best life unapologetically as if every day is her last day. She aspires to help all people with personal development and their health and fitness journey.
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