There are tons of “teen anthems” that encourage their listeners to live life in the fast lane and be adventurous. There is also a general expectation that young children will make mistakes out of pure naivety, and while they should still be held accountable for their mistakes, they should also be offered the chance to learn from them. Unfortunately, for many Black children and teens, life doesn’t quite work the same way as it does for their white counterparts. Rather than learning from mistakes or feeling free to take risks, they have to tiptoe through their childhood, understanding that any misstep could prove to be detrimental to their lives.
Stand Your Ground Laws Are the New Reason to Be Home Before the Streetlights Come On
Almost every Black adult remembers the time their parents told them to be home before the streetlights come up. It used to be that this was mainly because it was time to come in for dinner and prepare for school the next day. Now, Stand Your Ground laws give parents a new reason to ensure their children are in the house before dark. The self-defense laws seem to operate on the premise that Black teens are frightening enough to shoot – especially if it’s dark outside.
Black Children Literally Can’t Afford to Get Sick
Many Black families across the U.S. can’t afford health insurance and this means they also can’t afford proper care for their children if they are injured or sick. According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation of statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau back in March, nearly every state in America has substantially higher numbers of uninsured Black citizens than their white counterparts. So while white children can afford to take part in risky adventures or break a bone or two practicing awesome skateboard tricks, many Black children have to approach playtime much more cautiously.