To conclude the interview series in the Writers Against Racism campaign, Amy Bodden Bowllan shares with readers her own struggles growing up under her father’s watchful eye. Our parents often mean to make us stronger, but isn’t there room for some sympathy? Here’s an excerpt from her interview:
My dad was a strong disciplinarian who did not – and I mean NOT – want his seven children to act like them; the black kids who didn’t live up to his standards. As a result, most of my childhood was spent being shuttled out of my community to play tennis with white kids. We played with blacks, too, but mostly whites. My dad used to say it was a way to “save” us. Ironically, years later, my baby brother was murdered by a white guy.
But really, if we even uttered a “street” term, a look of disdain would flash across my dad’s face, and you just knew what he was thinking. Was it racism? Was it a style of parenting? I still don’t know. All I know is, at the time, I did not want to disappoint my dad (or my mother).