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Not a day passes without thinking about race: what African migrants told us about parenting in Australia

A group of children run around at school.
Parents of Black African children report having to consider how race affected the identity, perception, opportunities and well-being of their children. Shutterstock

Race informs how Black parents raise their children in Australia. Our study, published in the journal Child and Family Social Work, found it complicates parenting in ways that non-Black parents might not have to consider.

We interviewed 27 highly skilled professional African migrants from eight different Sub-Saharan African countries about their experiences of employment, belonging and parenting in Australia. Parents of Black African children told us they had to consider how race affected the identity, perception, opportunities and well-being of their children.

One parent, who overheard her daughter telling her (white) friends about her experiences as a Black teenager, reflected:

This week I heard her tell one of her friends; there is no one day that passes without her thinking about this (race). Yeah, and her friends were really, really […] shocked. They said they do not have to think about it. Then, she said, ‘Every day when I get on to the bus, you know, I think about who I am and if somebody is going to say something, when I am on the streets, you know, I think about what will somebody think or say or do.’

Parenting is complicated by race

Many parents said they were unprepared for the extent to which race would become a defining marker of their parenting process in Australia.

One parent noted school was especially difficult for his children. He described instances in which his son had been called “a nigger” and threatened with violence, as well as fighting for his daughter’s rights to wear her afro-natural hair in school.

It put a lot of pressure on them and on me as a parent to explain without creating differences between them and the white kids […] We create a lot of explanations and conversations around who they are.

Parents of Black men and boys, in particular, reported feeling more concerned about the stereotype of black masculinity and how much more likely their sons were to be criminalised or profiled by police.

One parent said she constantly reminds her son that, because he is a young African male, he must

…always be conscious wherever he goes or wherever he is.

Some parents reported feeling overwhelmed and unprepared to support their children to deal with racial slurs, micro-aggressions (such as racial “jokes”, comments and “nicknames”) and racial exotification (such as hair-touching, invasive questions about their bodies or being described as “exotic”).

Teaching Black children about racial dignity

Participants reported a significant aspect of parenting involved teaching their children about their blackness and self-worth.

Because blackness is often inferiorised in white-dominant contexts, many told us they felt if their children weren’t taught about racial dignity and self-worth, they would grow up internalising feelings of inferiority.

One parent explained how, for her two children:

We have conversations about what they look like, how they are different to other people, and people may want to point out those differences. [We teach them] being different does not mean being inferior or anything like that […] we talk to them to be confident about who they are and to be proud about where they have come from and their African heritage.

Another parent reflected:

We have had instances […] where he has sort of alluded to the fact that somebody told him, ‘You are Black, you are not like us’. And we have taken that up very quickly with the school authorities (but) we have (also) tried to tell him in a soft way […] being African doesn’t make him inferior.

‘Having the talk’ and affirming children’s experiences

Most parents in this study considered that explicitly teaching their children about race was necessary while growing up in Australia.

This involved “having the talk” and explaining to children about why their skin colour was different — preparing them to live in a world where their blackness was sometimes going to be a hindrance and how deal with such instances, including interactions with police.

This process of teaching children about race and racism while also sharing positive cultural knowledge, concepts racial dignity and resilience is called racial socialisation.

However, despite the efforts to instil a sense of pride about their African heritage in their children, many parents also encouraged their children to “curate or minimise” their blackness and/or Africanness in an effort to reduce their experiences of racism or racial profiling.

Others told us they pushed their children “to be exemplary”; that they had to be great representatives of the African/Black communities.

For the children, these expectations from family can lead to their blackness being worn as a “burden”. Parents, however, saw it as a necessary form of racial socialisation that prepares their children to face racial discrimination with greater resilience.

‘Colour-blind parenting’

A minority of parents interviewed believed their children “do not see colour” and tried their best “not to make race an issue”. One parent, for example, said:

We always taught our children race is not an issue, we are all the same, so it was easy for them to fit in.

Another parent said:

…when it comes to my children, they do not really have that idea of […] ‘I am a certain colour’ […] we’ve not had that conversation because there has been no reason to. We are people, we are not ‘coloured’ people.

This “colour-blind parenting” aligns with mainstream Australian ideas that people “are all the same”, and that racism is not a significant issue in contemporary multicultural Australia.

While well-intentioned, such an approach might make it harder for children to discuss potential experiences of “racial otherness” with their parents.

Where to from here?

Media representations of African migrant families often depict irreconcilable cultural clashes after relocation. But our interviewees were able to successfully adapt and change their parenting behaviour and attitudes after migrating, which improved family dynamics.

If you’re a parent, talk with your children about race and racism, and its effects. It is important Black children know that they are not imagining their racialised experiences.

Think about ways you can introduce these concepts to your children. Young children can understand complex concepts when discussed in age-appropriate terms — and through humour.

Children’s books such as Sharee Miller’s Don’t touch my hair!, for example, help introduce the importance of setting — and respecting — personal boundaries.

We also summarised some tips on how to raise racially conscious children in an SBS video here.

It’s hard to know who to trust … 

Conflicting information and misinformation about COVID vaccines is rife. To cut through the confusion, people have been turning to the scientists and researchers themselves. And thanks to the reach of The Conversation, these experts have been able to provide the latest evidence and facts about the vaccines to millions of readers a week. But as a charity, we need your support. Without your help, we won’t be able to keep going.

Source: TheConversation

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Africa

African countries must come together to find new ways of addressing infrastructural concerns – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged African leaders to come together to articulate a new way of addressing infrastructural concerns on the continent.

Speaking at an Infrastructure Solution summit organised by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday May 12, he encouraged leadership on the continent to demand an equal playing field on the global finance market to enable Africa adequately enhance efficient infrastructural development.

“it is absolutely important that we should expand the influence of the institutions like AFC, ADB. ADB has recently gone for recapitalization to enable it to be able to do more.

“The governments of the continent we need to to put our weight behind this attempt but we also equally need to address structural constraints in the global capital market in the world.”

The infrastructural summit, one of the biggest networking events is expected to provide a unique platform to address and overcome some of Africa’s historical challenges.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Africa

Ghana to host West African Internet Governance Forum 2022

ISOC Ghana

The Internet Society Ghana (ISOC Ghana), in collaboration with the West African Internet Governance Forum (WA IGF), will host the West African Internet Governance Forum in Ghana after a two-year virtual event.

The theme for the 2022 edition, ‘Digital Sustainability: Data Innovation for post COVID recovery’, seeks to promote Internet Governance issues in West Africa through a multi-stakeholder process.

The two-day event scheduled from Thursday 26th May to Friday 27th  May 2022, will be held at the Airport View Hotel in Accra. 

Speaking in an interview, NRI Coordinator for West Africa Internet Governance Forum, Madam Mary Uduma, called for more internet stakeholders’ involvement in the WA IGF processes as “internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”

The event complements current subregional efforts in the digital transformation in West Africa; therefore, it will tackle key issues such as Economic Recovery in West African countries: Prioritizing Data Privacy and Security and Freedom of expression online, the impact of the fight against disinformation within the subregion, digital economy policies, regulations and, multi-stakeholder issues amongst others.

Therefore, this will explore the challenges and opportunities in enhancing its digital economy in a world of information, communication, and technology.

 
Source: Citinewsroom. com

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Africa

ECOWAS gives military in Guinea April 25 deadline to return to democratic rule

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The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS has charged military leaders in Guinea to provide an acceptable timeline for transition to democratic rule by April 25, 2022.

Failure to do so, according to ECOWAS, will lead to economic and financial sanctions.

Leaders of ECOWAS made the decision during an Extraordinary Summit in Accra on Friday, to review recent political developments in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, stated that it was unacceptable that there was no timeline set by the military junta to return the country to democratic rule.

“The fact that, as of today, we do not have a transition timeline in Guinea is a source of major concern. On several occasions, the authorities have indicated the concern that there is no visibility about the transition in Guinea, and we are demanding that a transition timeline is provided. As nothing was coming, now we are putting a deadline—April 25. Beyond this deadline, economic and financial sanctions will kick in.”

Burkina Faso

The leadership also expressed concern about the continued detention of the former President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, since the coup d’etat.

“The other condition, we set is that, President Kabore be set free immediately. The mission that went to Burkina Faso two weeks ago also insisted that he is set free unconditionally. As we speak today, President Kabore is on House arrest, and this is totally unacceptable.”

Mali

Meanwhile, ECOWAS has charged the transitional government in Mali to return the country to constitutional rule within 12 to 16 months.

This is a part of talks to restore democratic governance in the West-African country reeling under political instability.

Jean Claude Kassi Brou, said in view of the global political and security situation, there is an urgent need to reach an agreement in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation in Mali.

“The discussions were extensively on the situation and taking into account that the sanctions are impacting on the country. There has been substantial work that was done by the Technical Local Committee Meeting and after examining the recommendations of the mediator, the Head of State disclosed that, they are willing to provide an extension of the transition in Mali for 12 to 16 months in addition to the three months that have already passed. So, agreements will be reached so that the sanctions are gradually lifted.”

Source: Citinewsroom. com

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