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Grown Folks Business

grownfolksbusiness sair saircollective transracialparenting whiteparents Apr 15, 2022

Hi everyone, 

A couple weeks ago, I shared a playlist with one of our membership groups that we are developing for Social Justice Allies.   And as I listen to it and add songs, and listen again, I realized that there was an opportunity to use this play list as an example of a cultural difference that tends to exist between Black & Brown parents and white parents.  

It's something I call ‘Grown Folks Business’.

I became aware of this in my 20’s and used it as a parent in my 30’s – and I learned it from my Black friends as I watched them parent.   

What it means, is simply this.  Children get to hear & see some things that are ‘grown folks’ business’ in a safe way, while it being very clear to them that they may not say & do these things. 

For example:  Words in a song.  When a swear word, or for that matter, any word your parents told you not to say, is in a song, you skip it

Why does this matter?  In my observations, white parenting usually includes avoidance of ‘grown folks’ business’ in front of children.

 As in, we play the radio edit, or a ‘kids bop’ version of songs.  Or we separate our music into groups of what feels appropriate to us – like - ‘family music’ and ‘mommy/daddy music’. 

What is the outcome of that kind of sheltering?  I think it is part of the pattern of behavior that we white parents tend towards.  I also think this is one of the core patterns that creates opportunities for narrow minded views (racism, sexism, ableism) to exist in our children.  

It is an outcome of privilege, the privilege to not need to have difficult conversations,  and it sets us up to not know how to have difficult conversations when they are needed.   

Looking back, at how I applied this thought strategy to my parenting, what I see is that my child and I had more opportunity for great conversations.  AND, if you are a white person, parenting across racial lines, it will help your Black and Black Bi-racial children fit more fully across cultures with way less cultural shock as they explore their worlds. 



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