Everyone Should Celebrate Black History Month (From a White Mama)


I would be lying if I said that I truly celebrated Black History Month before the adoption of my son (who is black).

Yes, I talked about it with my kids. We have always been an inclusive family. We are culturally sensitive and respect people from other races and cultures.

But did I make Black History Month a priority? No, I didn’t.


Probably for the same reason as most (white) people who are reading this post. Because it didn’t affect me. Unfortunately, that is the way it is, right? We don’t take the time to learn about things until they directly impact us or a loved one. Adopting a black child has taught me many things.

One of those lessons is that Black History Month isn’t just for black people.

It is for ALL people.

Prejudice Still Exists

I live in an area with no diversity. As you can imagine, when you are a white family with a black son in a predominantly white area, you get some looks. Stares at the grocery store, at the ballpark, and at school are all very common for us. I am certain most of those “looks” are because my son is the cutest thing ever (see pictures for proof). However, there are some stares that I don’t think come from a good place.

The next thing you know, mama bear is awakened, ready to defend her cub.

Why it is Important

As a white mom with white kids, I only thought of black history month once a year. Now, as a mom of a black child, I think of it every single day. I know that I am a work in progress. Therefore, I must continue to educate myself, as well as my kids, on the prejudices that still exist and how to fight them. I have to teach them to be socially aware. Black History Month is a great place to start.

Ways to Celebrate

Educate Yourself on Black History

Some will say, “What about American History”? In a nutshell, Black History is American History. You can’t have one without the other. We all study American History in school, but somehow Black History is often left out, or they just skim the surface. We need to learn about those who came before us, the black inventors, the scientist, and the humanitarians.

Think back to when you were in school. How many of the people that you learned about were black? For me, it was only a handful. History teaches us who we are and how we came to be. Understanding and learning from history prevent us from making the same mistakes as our ancestors.

One of the keys to ending and understanding racism is educating ourselves on Black History.

Surround Yourself with Diversity

There is nothing that I love more than including diversity in my home. I am deliberate about buying books, magazines, and art that shows people of color. I also try to find TV shows and movies that offer a diverse cast. Even when it comes to toys, I will buy the black doll or superhero. These simple changes can have a big impact. Children are products of their environment. By providing them with opportunities to see black people represented on TV or in day-to-day life, they will accept and appreciate the differences that make us all unique.

Talk with your kids

This one is tough. Black History isn’t pretty. It is painful, ugly, and hard to talk about. Our tendency, as humans, is to avoid things of this nature. We have to talk about it, though. Families must discuss it. Let your kids ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, find the answer together. As with most things, communication is key.

Create a safe space to ask the hard questions.

How Will You Celebrate?

There are many things you can do to celebrate Black History Month. I can’t tell you what that needs to look like for your family. I just know what works for mine. What I can tell you is that I will never know what it is like to be a black person. However, I would give my life for my son, and that has given this topic a whole new meaning for me.

Be a Better Person

I know not everyone will adopt a black child as we did. My hope is that this post will make you want to learn more about Black History because it is important. Every person you see (no matter their color) is someone’s child. Above all, no matter how you choose to celebrate, make sure that it doesn’t end in February. Posting a quote once or twice a year isn’t enough.

Make a choice to celebrate Black History every single day, even if you are white.

I promise you will be a better person for it.

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Heather Shearer
Heather has called Pensacola home since 2004 (or as locals say, before Hurricane Ivan). She is a realtor with Levin Rinke Realty and enjoys sharing her love of the area with her clients. However, her favorite job is being mom to four kids: Kaitlyn (24), Greyson (21), Willa (12) and Kai (2). After the adoption of ther son from foster care, Heather developed a passion for advocating for foster children. She is a foster mom, Guardian Ad Litem, and serves on the NWFL Guardian Ad Litem Foundation Board. Heather and her husband, Bill, live on their "slice of paradise" on Pensacola Beach. Heather loves Jesus, tacos and The Dave Matthews Band. In her spare time, you might find her volunteering, boating or antiquing.


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