For #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m sharing some of my thoughts…
A few weeks ago, a “Grey’s Anatomy” episode (Season 14, “Personal Jesus”) had my full attention.
I also had tears in my eyes during those last 10 minutes when Bailey and husband Ben teach Tuck “how to behave” when stopped by the police. And yes, I said “when”, not “if” because getting stopped is eventually just a matter of time.
The scene perfectly depicted the type of “Talk” many of us received growing up and which I referred to below in my old post under #1, 4, and 5. If you find this unbelievable, take a few minutes and read the comments left by fellow bloggers.
If you want to see the “Grey’s Anatomy’ scene I’m talking about, click here and scroll to the very last video. Hopefully, the video will still be active by the time you click.
“Lessons Your Parents May Not Have Taught You” – Marquessa, July 2016
As children, our parents taught us a number of life lessons at a very young age. Whenever we would gather around the dinner table, they would regale us with stories of their upbringing, childhood and their day at work and in return, we would share all the details of what had happened during our school day.
But being raised by vigilant parents, oftentimes those dinnertime conversations would be sprinkled with “lessons about life” that were important for us to know as First Generation children of immigrants growing up Black in a mainly White and French speaking environment – an environment where being “outside the norm” wasn’t always well-received.
These “lessons” were rooted in real-life incidents experienced by those in our small circle of family, friends and friends of friends.
Growing up, your parents taught you lessons too.
But different teachers provide their students with different content material based on the classes they took in the school of life:
- When stopped by the police (not “if” you are stopped by the police), keep your hands visible on the wheel and do exactly what you are told. Shooting first and asking questions later are the rules of the game. Dead men tell no tales and when you’re dead, only one side of the story will be told and it won’t be yours. Remember that…
- When you’re in a store, never put your hands in your pockets and avoid opening your purse until you’re in front of the cashier. The ones that hate you because of your color will not give you the benefit of the doubt and will be quick to treat you as a thief. Remember that…
- Excellence is the best deterrent to racism. Be kind to all, get your education, keep your eye on the prize and secure your future. Racists assume that you are nothing, come from nothing and know nothing. Surprise them by being “someone”, coming from “something” and knowing that you are capable of greatness. They will have to find another way to try to break you and your spirit. You won’t let them because you’ll know better. Remember that…
- Think carefully about your actions and how you approach certain situations. What is perceived as “a pass” for someone else will likely be seen as a “crime” if you’re in the same situation – remember that! ; and
- When you see your friends doing wrong, walk away. Because if the authorities are called, you will be the first one they haul away – no questions asked. Remember that…
Those are just a handful of life lessons I learned being in the skin I’m in.
©July 8, 2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.