No, your child’s life does not depend on you teaching them to be an insufferable social justice activist or an artificially frail victim-in-waiting
Imagine being married to the kind of spouse who writes an open letter to her husband and publishes it in Everyday Feminism, insisting that she take the lead in all parenting decisions as you raise a mixed race child together because she is black while you are white.
Imagine being publicly instructed that it is your solemn duty to raise a social justice warrior child, the newest member of the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics, whether they want to follow down that dismal path or not.
Well, the poor husband of Adiba Nelson doesn’t have to imagine, for he is living the nightmare. For a start, Nelson addresses him as though she were an android, which cannot be pleasant (unless he happens to be one, too):
Husband, for the last few years, we’ve been very firm in our decision to not have a child of our own.
You have two sons from your previous marriage, I have my daughter, and that has seemed like plenty. I’ve been so firm in this decision that I’ve gone as far as telling friends that they’re wise to only have one, or none at all.
Then about two months ago, we had a change of heart, and lo and behold, we’re taking steps to prepare for pregnancy.
And so the scene is set.
However, there is no blood test you can take or vaginal swab I can provide that can prepare you, White husband, to raise our Black child.
Yes, our Black child. Because even though our child will technically be biracial, having a biracial child who is half Black means you have a black child (by social, legal, and sometimes medical standards), and that comes with a whole new set of rules.
While your oldest White child may be targeted for his mental illness, statistically speaking, our Black daughter is 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police. So yes, there are some things you need to know before we embark on this journey.
Because in the words of Aladdin, you are about to enter a whole new world.
A whole new world, yes. A whole new world of pained continual racial awareness at all times and a laser-like focus on what divides rather than unites us; a whole new world of corrosive victimhood culture, combined with an infantilising trend among adults to affirm one another (and their children) well in excess of their merits, setting them up for future failure.
And then comes the agenda:
1. We’re Raising a Social Justice Activist
Today, more than ever in our lifetime, this is crucial. Not just to the world that our child will grow up in, but also, to our child’s survival.
The world at large will see our child as Black when it comes to crime, academia, housing, and everything else, but it will question their loyalty to their Jewish heritage when they stand up for the rights of people that look like me.
It’s crucial that we remind our child that one identity and experience does not negate the other, but that as a Black individual living in this country, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure that everyone is entitled to (and receives) fair and just treatment.
By that same token, we also need to teach them how to leverage their access to Whiteness and all of the privileges that come with it to help achieve this goal.
We need to gird them with the confidence, wherewithal, and history of both our heritages so that they can not only speak out against all the -isms with knowledge, but also with empathy.
It’s critical to our child that they understand that while they are in fact, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, and African American, the beautiful bouncy curls and caramel colored skin that earned them oohs and aahs as children can also earn them an all expenses paid trip to Rikers Island, or worse, the morgue.
We are raising a social justice activist. Their life depends on it.
Their life really does not depend on becoming a Social Justice Warrior; this cannot be emphasised enough. Using this kind of overwrought language may help to imbue the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics with a nobility that it would otherwise lack, but it does not make the statement true. In fact, while nobody should discourage political activism, it is probably true that becoming a social justice activist and involving oneself in various conflicts with an often militarised police force actually increases rather than lowers mortal risk.
2. I Need You to Follow My Parenting Lead in Public
Black people are exonerated at an exponentially higher rate than other races (four times more than Latinx folks and 1.2 times more than White folks), which means that our child is more likely to be arrested, tried, and convicted for something they didn’t do – simply because of the color of their skin and the kink in their hair.
So if we’re out and about and I scold our child for touching things, or I preface every outing with “when we go in the store, you stay right by my side, and you don’t touch anything,” it’s not me being mean.
It’s me educating our child (as subtly as possible) in the ways of the world, so that we aren’t one day paying for court appeal after court appeal.
Adiba Nelson might call it “educating our child in the ways of the world”. Others might view it as constricting their curiosity and imbuing them with a paranoia and vulnerability which they ought never to possess, certainly not at such a formative age.
3. If We Have a Daughter, Fill Up Her Cup of Self-Worth on the Daily
Yes, to the point of obnoxiously overflowing. I really mean that. Obnoxiously. Overflowing.
As Black women, our styles, beauty regimen, body shape, and facial features have historically been mocked, shunned, and in the case of Sarah Baartman, even put on display in a traveling circus.
When we’ve been nothing but ourselves, we’ve been told it is not good enough, not pretty enough, not right enough – simply not enough.
However, when these same looks, regimens, and shapes are worn, relished and co-opted by other races, it becomes socially acceptable, the hot new fad, and all the rage. But you know this. This is nothing new to you. What you may not know is how to counter this.
Well, I’ll tell you.
To proactively counter this, from minute one of her girlhood, she needs to hear the words “hello beautiful girl,” and every day from that day forward (unless she tells us otherwise).
From the moment we teach her her first anything – rolling over, holding her head up, tracking with her eyes – she needs to be told how fiercely intelligent and unstoppable she is.
Because what could go wrong with filling a child with so much unearned positive affirmation that entering adulthood (or, god forbid, the corporate workplace) is set up to become a traumatic event due to lack of continual praise?
What if Adiba Nelson’s daughter isn’t “fiercely intelligent and unstoppable”? That is not to speculate that she will be ugly and dim (though both are a possibility). But she may be dreamy and artistic, have street smarts rather than book smarts or be known for her empathy and sensitivity rather than as an indefatigable warrior queen. All parents probably project something of themselves onto their young or unborn children, but Nelson seems to have predetermined that her child must become SJW 2.0 or else consider her life a failure.
And what’s all this about the husband having to defer to the wife when it comes to parenting techniques? As the social justice warriors would say: Um, doesn’t that, like, totally reinforce existing harmful gender role stereotypes?
Nelson then leaves her husband with this motivating pep talk:
Husband, being the father of a Black child will not be easy, because by nature (and history), it forces us to confront the fact that the world we thought we knew is not the world we know at all.
There will be times you will feel a rage you didn’t know existed because of someone’s “innocent” microaggression towards our child. However, those moments will be countered with earth-shattering bliss as you watch our child break through every ceiling with ease.
And when those moments come, I’ll turn to you, give you some dap and whisper in your ear, “Congratulations, husband. We did that.”
But today, as we prepare ourselves to bring a beautiful Black child into this world, I only have one thing to say to you.
You got this.
How incredibly condescending. How arrogant, to assume that a fully grown man and existing parent of two children (not to mention somebody Nelson presumably loves and respects enough to have willingly married) requires public guidance and cajoling in the art of raising their new daughter, simply because she will emerge into the world with slightly darker skin than his own.
What chance does this child stand if it isn’t merely exposed to infantilising victimhood culture through the education system but is marinated in that culture from birth at home? How much harm stands to be done to this child as she is raised to view the world entirely through the intersectional prisms (or should that be prisons?) of race and gender theory?
Thank heavens that I didn’t have to put up with any of this nonsense growing up as a biracial child myself. Thanks heavens that I was raised to relate to people as fellow humans rather than members of separately siloed racial identity groups, and not to see colour (I know, I know, how triggering to hear such a thought expressed today).
I fear for the child that Adiba Nelson and “husband” are about to raise together. But then I remember that children do love to rebel against the faith and values of their parents, and that gives me hope. May Adiba Jr. grow up to be a huge ideological frustration to her mother and a thorn in the side of the social justice and identity politics movement.
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