Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Episode 19 featuring the author of "Parenting for Liberation", Trina Greene Brown
How do you raise liberated children when your mind is still oppressed? You can't. Well, you can try, but it'll be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Cognitive dissonance will create resistance and you'll find yourself turning into the very parent you didn't want to be. In order to decolonize your parenting, you have to decolonize your mind first so your children aren’t raised on survival and violence. We have to reflect on the way we were parented and make choices based on what will build our children’s confidence instead of passing on oppression. We have to essentially kill the colonizer in our heads in order to free our minds.
In so many words, decolonizing is about liberation. Liberation from the need to perform Blackness for the comfort of white people. Liberation from oppressive parenting practices. Liberation from fear-based parenting. Liberation from internalized antiblackness. Liberation from capitalism and classism. Parenting for liberation is about connection...to ourselves, our children, and our community. In order to raise liberated, free-thinking children, we have to decolonize our minds first to be free-thinkers and liberate ourselves from oppressive messages fed to us for generations.
So, how do we do this? Enter Trina Greene Brown, podcaster, social justice warrior, and author of "Parenting for Liberation: A Guide For Raising Black Children"
On this latest episode on the Parenting Decolonized podcast, Trina and I discuss how we build communities of liberated children that will liberate future generations. We dive into practical tools like self-reflection, shifting from rules to family agreements, and finding a like-minded community to hold you accountable, so we can finally heal as a people. And we discuss how Trina became a more intentional, conscious parent. What I loved most about this candid conversation is the revelation that her oppressive parenting was fear-based because she just wanted to do what she thought was necessary to keep her son alive.
“In my home, I found myself clamping down on my son, saying no more than saying yes, and raising my voice. I realize that I was not living out my values of equity, joy, love, and freedom in my home because I was parenting from a place of fear. I was parenting to protect, but protection did not allow my child to be free. I was putting boundaries and restrictions on my child’s humanity, and I was blocking him from being his freest self because I was afraid. I realized I wanted and needed a shift. I wanted to unlearn and heal from my fear and replace it with liberation and freedom.”
That fear is valid and real. White supremacy has snatched the lives of Black children for hundreds of years and Black parents have adopted adaptive behaviors, that are sometimes very toxic, to try and keep our babies alive and with us for as long as possible. Sometimes it feels like the intergenerational traumas we've experienced because of colonization have made indelible imprints into our DNA, but to think that gives white supremacy too much power. We can parent for liberation and we can decolonize our minds. Here's how I did it...
I thought about how I was parented and how that treatment manifested in my adult life. Sure, I'm a bright, ambitious, intelligent person. But I'm also healing from deep insecurities that keep telling me I'm not good enough, not intelligent enough, and not deserving of love that doesn't hurt. I have to constantly overpower the negative voice in my head with love and empathy. Some days just doing that exhausts me. I don't want this for my daughter. I never want her to shrink or doubt herself because her mom made her feel like she didn't matter. When you hit or berate your kids, your intention may be to teach them a lesson that you think will keep them safe, but the lesson they actually internalize is that their bodies, their voices, and their feelings do not matter.
I created a parenting "why". As an entrepreneur that's the first step in starting your business...to think of your mission and the WHY behind it. My parenting why for raising a liberated, carefree Black child is because I never want her to look back and think of what she could've been if not for the voice in her head telling her she wasn't good enough. I never want to crush her spirit. I never want to use my parental power to control her. I want to guide her and allow who she's meant to be to naturally emerge, so she knows herself and is confident in her abilities. Understanding my WHY helps me figure out who I need to become to meet the goal of raising a liberated child. That means doing the work to heal and being intentional about how I interact with her, choosing connection over correction, to form a relationship that fosters security, love, and empathy.
Lastly, I have to address my own colonized mind. I have to address the rage I feel inside myself sometimes. I have to continue to heal, pulling off the mask that I've worn for so long. Because sometimes, that rage will surface out of nowhere and find myself completely overwhelmed with this feeling I thought I mastered controlling. On my podcast episode "Black Exhale and Embracing Rage" with Antoinette Cooper of Black Exhale, I realized rage was something I never gave myself permission to express and I think that's because it scared me. But I'm learning I have to allow myself to feel these "darker" emotions to make space for everything else.
Parenting for Liberation isn't easy work when you're healing from intergenerational trauma, but it's necessary if we want to usher in a more equitable, peaceful world. The book "Parenting for Liberation: How to Raise Black Children" shines the light on parenting practices that help us connect with ourselves, our children, and our communities because we have to think about decolonizing on a grander scale. It would do our liberated children a great disservice to care about what's happening in our homes. We have to care about the attitudes of the people in our community at large. Trina talks about how to do this in ways I never even considered. I don't want to give too much of the book away because I want you to get a copy for yourself and keep it as a manual for how to decolonize your parenting. Please make sure you get a copy because it's a great read. You can find it in all the major online bookstores but I encourage you to purchase from a Black-owned bookstore, namely Feminist Press during this Rona scented season as Black entrepreneurs struggles to keep their doors open. Click here to get your copy.
Because I love ya'll and wanted to support my new best fran Trina, I decided to do a book giveaway. I'm giving away 3 copies of Trina's book. One on Facebook, one on Instagram, and one for my Patreon Patrons.
If you're a Patron (THANK YOU), you don't have to do anything special...your name is entered into a random drawing and I'll choose the winner on 7/31 at 9 pm CST.
The Facebook and Instagram giveaway will start 7/24 and also be announced 7/31 at 9pm. Click here to find out how to win on Facebook
Click here to join the IG giveaway
For more Information about Trina from Parenting Liberation, visit:
Decolonizing is an ongoing journey. I'm glad you're coming along with me.