When I found out that Boris Johnson would become the next UK Prime Minister, do you know what I felt? Not outrage, not shock, but justification. I felt justified in my decision to prioritise teaching my children to love their blackness.
The election of a nationalist, populist and white supremacist has validated my conviction that in addition to the usual parental duties – ensuring that my kids don’t eat too much sugar, that they are hitting their ‘milestones’, etc – as the mother of black children I have an additional duty: to challenge the deeply entrenched racism which underpins British society so that it does not damage them.
How do we as parents of black children mitigate the racism which can affect our children’s self-esteem and mental health? How do we raise our children to be proud of themselves despite institutional racism in the schools they attend and the paucity of well rounded (not token) black characters in the books they read and the tv programmes they watch? I believe that the answer lies in encouraging our children to think independently and ensuring that they see black people and black cultures celebrated.