Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raising a Strong Black Woman?

When my oldest, and somewhat sheltered,  child was in 4th grade, she came home from school a little frustrated because someone at school had said the "F word." Actually, she hadn't heard the word, but someone told someone that so and so said the "F word." So she sat at the table and told us the story about the kids at school talking about the kid who said the "F word." In an exasperated tone, and hands waving, she said, "kids at school keep saying that someone said the "F word" and I don't even know what that means...Funny? Fabulous? Fantastic? What? What does it mean?"

I hear the label "strong black woman" all of the time. I feel a little like my oldest daughter in that I don't know exactly what that means but I hear that label being dropped frequently.  I think I want to raise my daughter to be a strong, black woman. I think...but since I don't know what the label means, I decided to do some investigating.

First, I decided to look up the word "strong" in the dictionary. Of course, it means the typical "having strength," but I wanted to see what else that word had to offer. Other definitions included: powerful in influence, competent, and having courage. All of those definitions set well with me. I can handle it if my daughter is influential, competent, and courageous!

However, I still wasn't sure what it actually means to be a strong black woman. I found a Facebook page called "Beyond Black & White" by Christyelyn D. Karazin. I read several of her blogs and decided I would pose the question to her: How do I raise my daughter to be a strong black woman when I don't know what that means? I found her answer to be both informative and interesting. Christyelyn basically said that she doesn't believe in the label "strong black woman." She went on to say that she has three daughters, and she is not raising them to be "strong black women." She is raising them to be WOMEN, educated, refined, and with high expectations in what they want out of life and out of a partner.

Wow! That sounds like a big task, doesn't it? But you know, there was a great sense of relief there for me because, even though that task is monumental, I can do that! Forget about the label. Forget about being exasperated because others are saying so and so told so and so that I should be raising a strong black woman. I just need to raise my daughter to the best of my ability and teach her along the way to be a WOMAN...educated, refined, and with amazingly high expectations!