I cannot remember how exactly I connected with Concetta, but I can tell you that from the get go she has been helpful, insightful, and kind. It was online somewhere, and since then, I've pretty much been loving and liking all of her things.
I was more than excited when she agreed to share a post for this Voices of Color series! She shares about her mom's adoption into a black family, her experience with Black History growing up, and what we can do as white parents raising kids of color.
She also has a beautiful book you need to pick up: Too Busy, Too Bored for Prayer: A 7-Day Challenge to Reconnect with God and a Friend
Black History Month is the perfect time to create an awareness in your home of the contributions African Americans have made to the world.
Think about it: As a child, how many Black scholars and pioneers did you study in school?
As a Black woman, I can attest that history taught in American schools is decent, but narrow in scope and diversity. It’s told from the perspective of the White majority, and naturally designed to highlight their own achievements, while excluding the achievements of minorities.
It’s okay. There are ways around this.
In my childhood, February was when my mother made photocopies of biographies of great African Americans in history.
Weekly, we’d read them together and discuss their impact. We’d make cool posters or I’d write an essay. (I was never excited about the essays).
At night, my family would watch films like, Roots and The Color Purple to discuss slavery & life after Reconstruction in America.
My favorite was a PBS documentary series, Eyes on the Prize. I remember learning so much about the Civil Rights movement and the power of voting, voter suppression, and systematic oppression.
Yeah. Heavy subjects, but necessary.
Here’s why: Children of color are different and will experience difficult moments in life that will be hard to understand. None of us have the full solution to racism yet, but having a basic understanding of Black History can make the conversations you have more informed.
As a White parent, you didn’t grow up hearing about the same experiences that I did. So I want to bring you close and tell you how my parents explored Black History with me.
Then I’ll share a few things you can start doing right away.
My father is a Black man, born in the late 1940’s in West Virginia — which meant footage of segregated water fountains and restaurants weren’t just news clips to him. They were his memories.
Growing up, I heard stories of he and his siblings receiving harsh warnings from their parents about avoiding certain interactions with Whites in order to avoid being killed.
My father was just a boy when Emmett Till was brutally murdered after a lie was told on him by a White woman. What happened to Emmett and nameless, countless others fueled terror and outrage in Black homes.
Growing up, I would stand in stores with my dad, watching him become upset, waiting for assistance, while being purposely overlooked by prejudiced employees.
You should know that, for a Black person, prejudice often becomes something that is sensed long before it’s proven with evidence.
A lifetime of experiences makes you a reluctant expert.
For my father, it was important that I understood the trauma of our people within America while respecting a heritage full of costly hope.
My mother’s perspective was slightly different.
My mom was born in Boston to an interracial couple in the 1950’s. Her father was African American and her mother was Italian American.
However, my mother was adopted and raised by a local Black couple.
She didn’t learn of her adoption until adulthood. It was easy to hide this since both of her adoptive parents were fair-skinned.
My mother always told me that her childhood in the Black community where they lived was very difficult.
In addition, her (adoptive) mother always discouraged her dating men with dark skin.
Constantly feeling “too White for the Blacks” and “too Black for the Whites," my mom fell into a grey zone when it came to culture and identity.
The two very different experiences of my parents pushed them teach me about our heritage.
Property schedules often omitted slave names.
Sealed adoptions were a vault.
Could they tell me about my direct ancestors? Nope.
But they eagerly showed me examples of Black greatness.
People with whom I had no familial connection came alive, and felt like family when I read their stories.
Every achievement I studied made my own dreams feel possible. The success of African Americans that was normally radio silent in textbooks, now spoke loud through photocopies, VHS tapes and simple art projects.
Don’t be afraid to dip your toe into the waters of a culture that is not your own and splash around a bit.
Come with an open heart so that you can better affirm the differences in your child of color.
Here are four words and few ideas to start your Black History experience:
Start Small. Start Local.
Research the regional history of Black people in your area. Visit historical sites together.
Ask trusted friends for recommendations of some of the best Black churches or community organizations nearby. Visit a service, sit in on a program, have fun!
Dedicate a posterboard to Black History in a visible place in your home. What you lift up your children will value.
Watch Many Rivers to Cross by Dr. Henry Louis Gates on Netflix
Watch the Yara Shahidi speech on Blacks in the media (https://youtu.be/by0xMAXqnVc)
Listen to Slave Narratives from the Library of Congress (https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/voices/)
Purchase a few Black magazine subscriptions (start with Ebony and Essence)
Research HBCU College Tours run by local organizations
Ask friends of color for the names of some of their favorite shows that affirm Black culture. Watch, laugh, and ask questions.
Finally, THANK YOU for loving your child enough to read articles like this.
You have a deep desire to serve your child better.
It’s amazing to think that someone who looks nothing like you will carry the same heartbeat and character of your home. And, you are someone who understands that celebrations like Black History month are essential for your child to more easily answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “Where do I come from?”
They come from your love and a diversity of greatness that we are all a part of.
Let that love cast out all fear about celebrating Black History.
Concetta Green is a native Bostonian in love with history, documentaries, comedy, and art. After pastoring for seven years alongside her husband, she now enjoys creating tools that make spiritual learning and practice easier and more accessible to all. Concetta is the author of, “Too Busy, Too Bored for Prayer: A 7-Day Challenge to Reconnect with God and a Friend” available on Amazon. Connect with her at www.concettagreen.com or on Instagram @
Concetta's book, Too Busy, Too Bored for Prayer: A 7-Day Challenge to Reconnect with God and a Friend is on amazon: