Today, a spotlight on the childhood and parenthood journeys of Black people.
Ramble of the Day
I’d like to use today’s Hoddle to share words and videos on the topic of raising Black children. It is not a new topic of conversation — one of the things I’m sharing is five years old. I will be spotlighting two stories from two different points of view: one from a parent and one from an adult looking back on his childhood. I found the stories to paint the very nuanced tale of parenting Black children, and do so in an impactful way. They stand really well on their own, so I’m going to limit the commentary today and let the accounts stand on their own.
I’m starting with U.S. international Jessica McDonald’s story, from The Athletic’s roundtable discussion with USWNT players, which you should give a read if you have not. The North Carolina Courage player spoke about an away trip to the Utah Royals last year, one her seven-year-old son joined her for.
I brought my son on the road with me when we played Utah Royals, and security guards there wouldn’t let my little boy onto the field after the game to come and meet me. You know, he — with kids, you have to repeat yourself, you know, a lot of times, and a very normal thing — but it boiled down to (the guard) threatening to call the police on my son if he tried to come down onto the field to meet with me. So I didn’t think he handled that in a very professional manner. There were witnesses there who heard him and saw how truly rude he was, and so for me, as a mom raising a black male here in the United States, that was just the start of it for my son, experiencing something like that. He didn’t know, obviously, what was happening, he’s very innocent, but it obviously makes me feel some type of way that that’s already happened to him. ...
I reported the security guard in a very professional manner, and yeah, I was heated. How do we prevent those threats from happening, how do we prevent these killings from happening? I don’t know, but I just know that it truly needs to stop. My heart is very saddened for my little boy, because there’s gonna be a time and a place for me to speak to him about the world — how the world is gonna be for him as a black man, and I have no words to even put together. It makes me feel very uncomfortable, and I hate the fact that I even have to have that talk with him, as if we’re stepping back, you know, in the early 1900s. It’s crazy, it’s madness, and so I’m just trying to teach him to obviously just be a good human being, and obviously being able to handle himself in situations like that.
The second is a March 2015 TED Talk from writer Clint Smith, in which he recalls his own childhood. It’s only five minutes and worth watching if you can, and reading in transcript form if that suits you better..
Early on, he describes the balance his parents had to strike as this: “Their parenting always sought to reconcile the tension between having my siblings and I understand the realities of the world, while ensuring that we never accepted the status quo as inevitable.” He later reflects, “I think of how hard it must have been, how profoundly unfair it must have felt for them to feel like they had to strip away parts of my childhood just so that I could come home at night.”
As with other things, there is more to read and watch — Smith recently wrote about being a parent, and the 2019 Netflix film American Son (based on the 2018 Broadway play) directly covers the topic by showcasing a Black woman’s struggle as she waits to find out where her missing son is. All depict the very specific experience of parenting Black children, which is one worth knowing.
Links of the Day
- One tested positive for COVID-19 from the Premier League, and six tested positive from the Championship.
- MLS will return to play July 8 with the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
- Chelsea donated its £100k prize money for winning the FA WSL to Refuge, a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse.
U.S. Soccer repealed its rule banning players from kneeling during the national anthem.
Canada women’s national team coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller will leave the job in August.
A longer read: Suzanne Wrack interviews Tijuana’s Renae Cuéllar and San Diego Loyal’s Carlos Álvarez on balancing their careers and their marriage for The Guardian