They Could Be Heroes

As a mother of African American twins, Jhina Alvarado draws attention to what it’s like to raise her children in an era where movements like Black Lives Matter are necessary. Although racism is something Jhina, who is half Mexican and half Korean is familiar with, her experience as she raises her children is vastly different. As Jhina explores what it means to raise black children in today’s turbulent times, she feels a responsibility in raising awareness of how black children are stereotyped and the effects of these stereotypes.

 

Often times, black children are viewed as cute and adorable until they hit puberty. At this point they are no longer viewed as innocent children, but instead, they are viewed as possibly harmful to society, often described as older than they look, and mistaken for dangerous. For reference, George Zimmerman, who admittedly shot and killed Trayvon Martin because “he thought Trayvon looked dangerous” described Trayvon as a black male, in his late 20’s, when in fact, he was only 17. This is one of many examples of how black children are seen as “threats” starting from a very young age. At the core of this bias are stereotypes that leave black children at risk of discrimination, racial profiling, and sadly, death.

 

Black children are overpoliced, under-protected, and pushed out by a society that does not recognize that they are still children.  If we redefine how we see black people, we can invest in raising black children safely so they can reach their full potential. Black children are fierce beings who are courageous, smart and curious and not violent or dangerous, as society often times sees them as. If we dismantle our bias and give them the same opportunities and protection as their white counter-parts, black children can grow up to be anything they want; president, doctors, engineers, educators, fathers... In the series, "They Could Be Heroes,” Jhina Alvarado challenges us to see that each child has the potential to be a “hero,” IF we can change the way we, as a society, see them.

All applicable copyrights held by Jhina Alvarado. 2016

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