Raising a child is quite a challenge.
When they’re small, you feel as though the entire world is dangerous. As they grow, you waffle between encouragement and fear, wings for them and tears for you. Teenagers, well, they’re a whole separate category and in the new book “My Brown Baby” by Denene Millner, some parents have even more to worry about.
It’s not an overgeneralization to say that all moms want the same things for their kids: kindness, honesty, trustworthiness, success, love, to mention a few. Every mom teaches those things, but, says Millner, African American mothers parent their kids differently than other mothers.
It often starts when a brown baby is born.
When her first daughter entered the world, Millner says that, though she was married, insured, and well-employed, the hospital treated her reprehensibly and she had to be vocal about it—something that she says other mothers of color have experienced. She was also criticized for wanting to breast-feed her child, and again for breast-feeding as long as she did.
Millner, a mother of two young women, remembers the joys—oh, the joys!—and the aggravations of having small daughters. Raising brown girls means teaching them to love their curly hair and their “bubble-butts.” It means making them understand that they might never have straight blonde hair, but that boys will still like them. It’s showing them how to love their bodies by loving yours.