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Having to explain senseless, horrific events to a child is one of the most daunting prospects a parent ever has to experience in their lifetimes.
To explain the inexplicable, to explain to a child the inhumane acts committed by a segment of one population on another, while in many ways personally processing the effects of those acts, which continue to present day, is a nightmare much of world’s population will never experience.
Dr. Tamecca Rogers has attempted to tackle this nearly impossible prospect in her writings with her son Keith Ross. It’s called: “A Promise Deferred, The Massacre of Black Wall Street.” The book, crafted for children, presents, with illustrations by Arushan Art, a vivid picture of the senseless tragedy that took place in 18 hours between May 31st and June 1st in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
However, how do you explain racism and violence to a child? What can be done to preserve their innocence?
“That’s the hard part,” said Dr. Rogers. “I wrote another book, ‘Does My Life Matter,’ and it’s a children’s book. With Keith going to school and his friends saying, ‘no, all lives matter,’ so for me it was necessary to explain that to Keith, so he can articulate that as well.”
Because of being isolated much of the time due to Covid-19, Dr. Rogers, Keith and her other children were, as much of the country, inundated by the news media with the reports of the death of George Floyd.
“My kid is actually watching the news with me and we’re seeing this unfold in front of our face. As a parent, I thought, ‘I have to have the talk with you,’ “said Dr. Rogers. Virtually all African-Americans have had to have “The Talk” with their children, explaining in the best way they can, the inequities of society and violence, often unprovoked against men, women and children of color. “I’ve already had the talk with my older sons that are 24 and 19,“ she explained. “With Keith, I had the talk, but it was just like a gloss over the talk. I had to go a little deeper as we watched these things unfold (with George Floyd). For me it was hard, as a mom, because George Floyd was calling out for his mom. I was like, where would I be when my son is in trouble, when things like that happen and I can’t protect him. It’s hurtful, because you do believe you’re taking away from their innocence. It was difficult for me, and since I knew how difficult it was for me, I figured we should write a few books about it to help other people explain it a little better.”