“Fierce People”

When asked about how she talks to her sons, navigates with them, on topics such as being black in the violent world, Poet Elizabeth Alexander said this:

That the life force we have as a culture that has survived against all odds is extraordinary and beautiful. That is why I teach African-American studies. And my babies—two tall young men, walking around in these tall bodies, made vulnerable by their skin color, that is a parent’s nightmare. You teach children to be safe and smart in the street. But you need to teach them to stand up straight in themselves in their gorgeous, mighty culture. That they are fierce people from fierce people. The worst damage racism can do to our children is to raise them up to be fearful.

There’s much to learn in these words.

Read her full interview in “On the Healing Power of Words” on the Root here.

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