Sunday, July 8, 2012

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Why Atlanta Needs a Black Homeschool Expo

A Black Homeschool Expo was recently announced, it is being held in Atlanta
Roots to Fruits presents.....
Finally, the first of it's kind!
The 1st Annual  Black Homeschool and Education Expo!
....addressing the specific needs of our children to awaken their genius!

Save the Date! Saturday
July 28, 2012

Atlanta, Georgia
Only $20 all-day admission
lectures & workshops included
Children 12 and up $5
For Details Call 678.368.8593
*vendors, educators, homeschools, after-school,extracurricular & rites of
passage programs, tutors, and more... reserve your space now!
The response to this advertisement on local homeschool groups was.... interesting.  
One email loop broke out into a full blown argument immediately, with one person citing black-on-black
crimes in anger that Blacks would dare have an expo that she felt was exclusionary.  Another email loop was much more civilized, but there was still an undercurrent of dissatisfaction do the perceived exclusivity  of the event.  

Now, when I first saw the announcement of the event, I felt that it was not something I was interested in.   Now, however, because of the uproar that ensued, I am tempted to do so.  

I finally did put in my two cents on the more civilized of the two email loops... here is some of what I wrote. 

Re: Fwd: 1st Annual Black Homeschool and Education Expo!

While I follow this loop, I actually live too far to participate in most events, so few of you know me. But there is a reason I prefer this email loop over others. It is because everyone is so respectful and frankly... evolved.

This same conversation occurred on another loop and the result was UGLY. I am still scratching my head over how within two posts, someone was quoting statistics on black-on-black crime. It truly hurt my heart, but this groups conversation has lifted it. Thank you.

Race relations are a tricky thing. As small children, we don't even see color as MLK envisioned it, but as children get older, they begin to ask questions, and when we as parents can't answer them, this is where I believe racial rifts begin. What we really need is an Expo on race relations and cultural sensitivity.

As a black woman of 44 years, I have always existed in a world somewhere in between black and white. As a child, also in a predominantly black city, I was also outcast for being an Oreo... you know, black on the outside, white on the inside. I was too "white acting" for most black people, and I fit in better with white kids. I would often befriend the white kid who was being picked on, at the risk of being ostracized from the group.

For this reason, I feel I can speak on the Black Expo from a unique perspective. My family is often THE cultural diversity in any group.

For the most part, things are fine, but every now and then, we are dealt a blow that we must digest, discuss, and overcome. There was that time in a co-op where it was announced that if it had been slavery times, that my child would have been a slave. Guys... it is really hurtful for a black child to be singled out that way in the group. While the rest of the group might think... "that is just crazy... that kid is sooo cool. I am glad slavery is over!" the black kid thinks "Wow, there's something wrong with me.... everyone is looking at me now.... Born 100 years earlier, and I would be a slave. Born 50 years earlier, and I could get lynched for hugging a white girl." Bless the teacher's heart. She meant no harm, but I took weeks to talk my kid off this ledge of inferiority.

So this is where a Black Expo, or a black homeschool community is a positive. I can't blame a non-black teacher for wanting to get through black history month as quickly as possible... it is awkward and uncomfortable at best. But some things need to be taught to black people from a black perspective... and it takes so much longer than a month. We need time to learn that #1 THIS happened, #2 THIS was the result, #3 THIS is where we are now, #4 THIS is how much further we need to go, and by the way, #5 WE didn't do it by ourselves...People of all races jumped in and helped make things right and only by working together can we move forward.

Guys,as a country we are still stuck on #3, and black people are still stuck on #4 at best. I think we as black people need to learn these lessons before we can work through these issues ourselves and share them with others.

Will an Expo such as this get us to #5? I doubt it. Just looking at the advertisement and speakers, it appears to me that many of them are happy to still be in a reactionary phase of #3 or 4. We have given up on moving forward and are just seeking an alternative. Does this make the expo bad?... I don't think so... we still have a long way to go... maybe it can give us a starting point. I feel like if we begrudge a Black Expo, we begrudge progress.

This is just a small portion of what I want to say... I'll probably have to blog about it now because my heart feels soo heavy, but I pray that this group will continue to take the high road and ask true questions as to why people feel like a Black Expo is still necessary, and not be accusatory because people are just seeking out what they feel they need.

By the way JAPANFEST was the highlight of my child's year last year... I feel like a come one-come all, Black Homeschool Expo could be just as awesome for other races... but I think it will take before it becomes more of a cultural celebration than a conference on educating black children.



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