Is It Irresponsible to Encourage Black Kids to Be Pro Athletes?

BlogHer Spotlight

As a parent, how do you find the balance between encouraging your chidren's dreams and teaching them about reality? For Jen Marshall Duncan, a white woman raising mixed-race kids, this is especially complicated because her son and daughter talk about going into professional sports. Jen realizes that athletes may be the many of the role models black kids see on TV, but as she shares on empatheia, she doesn't want her kids to pigeonhole themselves. Read on to see how her daughter reacted, and share your thoughts in the comments. --Grace

"Don't try to talk me out of it, Mommy. You're just being negative."

Ugh. Here is where I inserted foot in mouth. "I'm not trying to be negative, I just want you to be realistic. People who are professional athletes spend a lot of time practicing and they work really hard. Not to mention that tennis is an expensive sport to learn, and we really can't afford to get you the kinds of lessons you'll need to play at the professional level. When Venus and Serena were your age, their family moved to a new town so that they could study in an elite tennis academy. We can't do anything like that! Can't you just play for fun and think about what else you can do when you grow up?"

At that point the tears started falling. The voice turned into a shriek. "You're ruining my dream, Mommy! Why can't I just dream?"

Image Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer, Flickr

Read more from Crashing Dreams: Parenting in Reality at empatheia


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