One of my daughter’s favorite people is the 6-foot-4 guy who used to babysit her when he was in his teens. He also worked in our church’s childcare room and it was not unusual to see him with one kid on his shoulders and four more hanging off each limb. He was universally adored by children (still is, probably, but we haven’t seen him in a few years.)
Big dudes always seem to be universally beloved by kids… I think it’s because they believe them to be giants!
I’ve been on the fence about whether I had something relevant to say here. I was one of these kids almost half a century ago.
I had a black nanny for the first few years of my life in Florida. My mom died before I was two, so was handled by many people, but having a black caretaker was a common thing in the South, but pre-70s, just on the verge of change.
Later in Kansas, I did have a 20-something black male babysitter. I think it was 1971-1972. My new stepmother had my two brothers in quick succession, so again I was handled by several people to give her some relief.
Desegregation was in full swing, and my preacher father was befriending the progressive youth, and I was given to the boyfriend of a biracial couple to go do whatever we wanted. One thing that stands out is a trip to see a touring company performance of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
It was a heady time. Our elementary school was named after Toussaint L’Ouverture, the Haitian revolutionary. Group meetings of classes singing Three Dog Night songs together (Black and White, Joy to the World). It’s only decades later that I realize what a bubble I’d been living in because my parents were likely trying to shield me from racist influences.
It just seems so frustrating that for so long people have fought for equity and equality, only to have it undermined by others who can’t even muster the logic, much less the kindness, to see that separatism and xenophobia never result in a win for everyone involved.
ETA: I really wish I knew what became of him. My heart tells me he was a really cool guy, and my memories paint him as looking kind of like Georg Stanford Brown.
It’s an unfortunate truth that men’s involvement with children is regarded with suspicion. I’ve been thinking about this with the backdrop of Kavenaugh’s confirmation.
Is it really that strange (however deeply wrong and damaging it might be) that a culture that downplays male sexual violence as an inevitable part of of boys growing up; or that insists that men’s need for sex is so constant and uncontrollable that sexual assault is a natural outcome does not trust men?
I don’t think it’s possible to hold those beliefs as well as the belief that men are to be trusted with the most vulnerable.
I know that men are just as capable of kindness or cruelty as women. I’ve seen more than a few examples of men who act with real kindness and empathy.
I would not call the police on a male babysitter of any race.
But I’d be remiss to ignore all the mistreatment I’ve personally experienced and witnessed, or the way that sexual violence by men is excused, and sometimes encouraged.
It’s a terrible double bind.
Edited to complete a sentence.
Have a look at this thread:
That is about the most depressing, infuriating bit of reading I have done lately. I just have no words, other than to apologize for my race. Weak tea, I know. Funny thing is, where I grew up (small WV town, mixed race neighborhood) it was the black families tnat were stable, respectable, and to a small nerdy white boy, most importantly safe. I went to the AME church with my best friends, all black, and got some funny looks, but felt welcome. To this day I feel more comfortable around black folks than whites. Never caught a whiff of this while growing up. After my mom died, never heard a peep from any white friends from childhood. My black friends posted some heart wrenching messages, talking about losing their second mom. The thought of any of them going through this makes me furious.
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