“The little actions we take or not are the things that form the norm.” Faustina Anyanwu.
You all know how much I am against the “Poor Children in Africa” narrative.
Today, I had an opportunity to bring about one little change at a time. On Tuesday, my children came back from school, as we usually do, we began discussing how school went.
It got to my second daughter’s turn to say how it was for her, she signalled half and half. Meaning not good and not that bad either. I wanted to know more about what made it not to be that good for her. And she said, “mum, you won’t like it.” I said, “I won’t like what?”
Then she told me what had been said during the assembly and it was one of the things I didn’t like and that I always told them to be watchful about. I asked her to tell me what exactly she was talking about. Then she said, “they were talking about poor children in Africa.”
I knew this was the right time to take action. Yesterday morning, I wrote a formal complaint letter to the headteacher via email and before 10am, I received a call from the school inviting me for a meeting with the head. I accepted to meet her today.
This morning, the particular teacher who held the assembly called me again and was panicky also apologising for the wrong expressions used.
I told him, it wasn’t about him or the assembly he held but the system which allowed that to happen. I reassured him that I didn’t hold any grudge against him but would still like to speak with the headteacher.
This afternoon, myself and my husband walked into the school and had the meeting with the headteacher. And my joy is that the head understood our concern which we presented very proffessionally backing it up with facts.
And today, together, we have been able to change the vocabulary which will officially be used when addressing these issues in the school. We can change the narrative one school at a time, one expression at a time.
It is not only in Africa that we have poor children why always refer to them at all times. So today, we have changed that narrative to ‘poor children around the world’.
Moral of the lesson:
Sometimes, and in fact always speak out on what you believe in and quietly and graciously do your bit to make this world a better place.
Every human regardless of race is created with dignity and must never beg for it but always have it with them. What we accept we agree to.
Black parents pay attention to what words your children are fed with at all times.
*Because representation matters.*