We’ve all read the “Things I Want My Daughter to Know” lists, and I was prepared to give you another one. Then I looked at Baby Bird and remembered the reason I started this blog.
This website is about her — my beautiful brown baby. I want her to have a record of my love and dreams for her. I want to do all I can — outside of coddling her — to help her have the best life.
I’d be doing her a disservice by writing a generic list.
I’m raising a little Black girl, and my advice needs to reflect that. Yes, people are people and women are women, so some generic guidance applies. But I want Baby Bird to be prepared for the situations she’ll encounter because of her race, and to embrace her #blackgirlmagic.
So here it is: Fifteen Things I Need My Brown Baby to Know.
- You’re not pretty for a Black girl. You’re beautiful, and your race isn’t a factor. Truth be told, your appearance isn’t a factor. You’re beautiful because of your heart and soul. Nothing you do to your outside will change that.
- You don’t have to represent all Black people, regardless of what others might think. Make decisions that will reflect the best you, and let the rest of us worry about ourselves.
- If a boy says you’re too (dark, light, short, tall, thick, or thin) for him to like you, then he never deserved your attention.
- You should make friends with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
- You shouldn’t try to hide your intelligence to fit in. Real friends will accept you for who you are, and they’ll love that you’re brainy.
- You must create your own definition of success. You’ll never be happy trying to live up to someone else’s expectations.
- What I said about success? It goes for beauty, too.
- You will fail at lots of things, lots of times. That’s OK. What’s not OK is to never try because you’re afraid of failing.
- I want you to learn to swim. I want you to try ballet and karate, math club and soccer. We might sign you up for golf or archery. I want you to get comfortable being the only Black girl in the room — it’ll happen more often than you think. Embrace those moments as your time to shine.
- It’s OK to cry. You’re allowed be angry. Go ahead — live loudly. Don’t let anyone write you off as the “stereotypical Black woman” because you’re not demure.
- Don’t apologize for saying no. It’s your right. Don’t apologize for being strong. It’s what you are.
- Society might not acknowledge your accomplishments. Don’t let that stop you from feeling amazing about what you’ve done.
- Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to ask me for help.
- You should smile from your heart every day. Don’t do it because someone told you to. Do it because you woke up. God gave you another day, and that’s worth at least one smile, right?
- No matter how far apart we are, if you call for me, I’m coming to you.