“You Gotta Be Twice As Good”

Posted: October 3, 2008 in Commentary, Our children

As long as I can remember, this has been the advice given to many bright-eyed Black kids as they looked down the street of possibilities. This advice oftentimes was given by adults who lived in an era where being “twice as good as White folks” was practically a requirement if you wanted to move ahead.

In the age of affirmative action (where businesses are required by law to hire a certain amount of minorities), a growing Black middle class, Black entrepreneurship and other successes, I think that it is safe to say that “being twice as good” is more of a misnomer these days.

Yes, we do work hard just like any other group to reach our personal goals. But to suggest that most Blacks still have to work twice as hard is simply not true in most cases today.

Like other good parents, my wife and I raise our kids not only to work hard, but work smart. That means we will do all we can to show them how to get around the roadblocks that will be waiting for them in the real world.

Instructing my kids to be twice as good as Whites only instills in them a sense of never being good enough. As an adult, I have seen the effects of this firsthand in other adults. When you have to tell the world that you are a “Strong Black man”, “Strong Black woman”, “I take care of my kids”, etc., as if it were a medal of honor given to you by the Wiz, you are only underscoring your insecurity.

I don’t want my kids to be twice as good. I simply want them to do their very best. This is how my wife and I were raised and we are doing the same with our kids.

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Comments
  1. Keith says:

    “I don’t want my kids to be twice as good. I simply want them to do their very best. ”

    I don’t care what color a person or their children are, to instill in a child to always do their very best is simply good parenting.

  2. DarkStar says:

    I’ll push twice as good because it didn’t instill a sense of inferiority in me, just a dose of realism.

    I can’t be competent, I HAVE to be BETTER. That IS my very best.

  3. Roni says:

    @ Darkstar

    In your PUSHING to be BETTER, keep in mind that you still can only do your best. Your best IS your best.

    So all that pushing may just get you nothing but some added frustration.

    Competition is good…at times, but when it becomes a competition of which race is better than the other…well isn’t that what Hitler was trying to prove?
    (Race being the context of this article)

    One of the worst things you can do to a human being is to force them to try and be something other than what they are. And when you add to that, the color of their skin, something they had absolutely nothing to do with; being the reason they may not be doing as well as someone of another color; it’s terrible and can have long lasting effects.

    I work in a school and some of our black students need much encouragement and reminders that their skin color has nothing to do with how well they are doing in school. Now here comes the “realism”…most of the time they are simply NOT doing their best. Now grant it, in some cases there may be no knowledge of available resources, but it has been proven time after time, if the determination is there, resources CAN be found to help ANYONE do their very best.

    The responsibility is on us, as parents or as being part of a “village”, to teach and show our kids that it does not matter the color of your skin, if you do your very best that IS your best! This is not settling, but teaching them to have contentment and confidence in who you are.

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