When I first titled this blog – Sunday Family Dinner it was a way to encourage families to strengthen their communication and for parents to connect more with their children. I remember growing up in Michigan with the maternal side of my family and Sunday dinners being a big deal. This was the time where we connected after church and discussed all sorts of topics and caught up on one another’s lives. My mother and grandmother usually started cooking on Saturday night to ensure we had a big, delicious meal on Sunday. Since my mom and grandmother were such good cooks, we often had close family friends share in Sunday dinner with us. I thought about these Sunday dinners as there has been so much discussion about parent involvement in the education of their children and violent outbursts from parents at school board meetings surrounding topics, such as critical race theory and wearing masks.
I think these parents have fallen victim to political bullying. Politicians have politicized these things leading to some parents not thinking for themselves and displaying bullying behaviors of their own at these meetings. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that parents should be actively involved in their child’s education and school, but not based off misinformation from dishonest politicians. Going back to the concept of Sunday family dinner, parents should be having honest conversations with their children about race and racism in this country and how certain groups based on their race and ethnicity have been oppressed in this country. I think slavery should be taught as the history of this country and all people in this country, and not just the history of Black citizens in this country. If parents would be honest in their conversations with their children and if schools taught the truth in history class, critical race theory would not be an issue.
This blog is meant to share strategies for wellness and healthy families to produce healthy individuals. But as a mental health professional, I see how racism impacts the mental health of communities who have been on the receiving end of racist systems and practices for far too long. For the health of this country and all its citizens, racism in any form can no longer be tolerated or accepted in this country. I also could not stand by and watch Senator Mitch McConnell “other” Black people in this country. Words and language matter and his words communicated that America is white and everyone else is the “other.”He is wrong and his words were wrong. I am an American, who happens to be a Black woman. I am proud of that. This is why it is so important for families to have dinner together and engage in honest dialogue about these things, so that the next generation is not dealing with voter disenfranchisement, systemic racism, marginalization, or oppression based on their ethnicity, race, or culture.
I encourage families and parents to use this concept of Sunday family dinner to connect as a family and have the difficult conversations, so that they and their children or families are not falling prey to political bullying.
Happy Sunday, Dr. Daphne