A Black parent’s journey to racial justice organizing
By Zakiya Sankara-Jabar
“The preschool scheduled a meeting with me, during which they presented paperwork that was all ready for me to sign. I was told that if Amir had a disability or was identified as having something wrong with him, then he could go to a public preschool for free wherever I lived. It was as if they were selling me on this idea, like it was a win-win: We get him out of here and you don’t have to pay.
I refused to sign. I did my own observation. I wanted to see for myself what was going on. I saw that my son looked just like any other child in there. He was exhibiting the same behaviors as other children.
My pediatrician, who is an African immigrant, told me, “I’ve had the same problems with my son. If there are any other problems, come to me first.” She added, “They don’t understand Black boys or Black children.”
That’s when the race question came up for me. I went to the university library and did a literature search about Black boys and education. It turns out that there is a lot of research on the subject.
I suddenly realized that I wasn’t a bad parent and my son wasn’t abnormal. This was something larger, more societal that was happening to African American parents.”
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