This was such a good read. I see Black kids who have this look at bus stops all over my affluent community. My kids grew up Blackitty Black, but my partner’s kids are growing up in sanitized/blackless environments. What’s worse is the White kids at the school are all into Black culture as long as they can consume it from a distance. My partner’s kids steal (I use the term steal because they absolutely have never experienced Black culture, film, gatherings, etc.) Black culture, language, etc and then come home saying words wrong, using them in the wrong context, making up new meanings like White folks do just desecrating our stuff. When I try to correct them they look at me as if they are racist. Just like White people. So your story resonates with me for this reason.
What would be your advice for Black parents sacrificing their Black children for that powerful White gaze?
Because you never really fit in anywhere, you never belong. That’s kind of what I feel. It’s code switching, except these Black folks have no real/permanent foundation because their code really isn’t theirs. It’s colonialism. It’s being assimilated. It’s problematic from the outside looking in. It gives the appearance often of being ashamed of being Black to Blacks who did not grow up in White/affluent settings. I feel sorry for people in this situation, those who forsake their own culture for Whiteness because it seems many don’t have peace and comfort.