IDEAS: Who gets to be a patriot in America?
I did not understand then, but I get it now.
My grandfather was now bowing, he was behaving the way he was taught to survive.
Code switching at its darkest.
His history with white people was very different from mine, a daughter of the North. But I internalized the lesson.
You have to behave a certain way around white folks.
I learned that lesson more subliminal, but there were more direct things. Take the Black tax, please.
My friend Darrell McKinney put it best in a Facebook conversation: “You have to work twice as hard to get half the credit as someone who will get the job just by being white.”
According to the Journal of Early Childhood Research, Black parents prepare their kids for bias messages to mitigate discrimination in a proactive manner.
Much of that preparation is based on the parent’s experience, according to research by Professor Diane Hughes of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Development and Education.
The Black tax is no doubt meant as a buffer, but it is also a burden many Black parents feel they have to pass on. It ties the child’s hands and frees them at the same time.
My mother taught me that I could be anything I wanted in the world. But because I am Black, I would have to work twice as hard to get there. Imagine having to work twice as good to be seen as “good.”
I won’t get into specific details, but my mom was completely correct.
The rub is that even if when you are the very best, your legitimacy may still be challenged by those who question if you are deserving.
The double rub is that you are being questioned solely due to the skin you were born in, the skin your elders passed down to you.
The tax is too high.
All indications are that Black people will be made to pay it for generations to come.
I am not sure what my grandfather would say on this subject. I just know that he wanted the best for those who followed him.
He wanted us to survive — and he wanted us to thrive.