Passing Messages in Black Communities: Part One-Matters of Survival

Black youth have been taught how to maneuver in mainstream society through “racial socialization” in black parenting. Coard and Sellers (2005) define racial socialization as “the process by which messages are transmitted/communicated inter- and intra-generationally regarding the significance and meaning of race and ethnicity.”


This initial series of blogs provide a framework for future brief heartfelt posts written by a black clergywoman about social justice issues in postmodernity. From my heart to yours-DV’s Heart2Heart™.

Black folk in this nation have passed messages in the most secretive and discreet manners throughout generations for our own survival. During the enslavement of our foremothers and forefathers, certain things were not done or talked about in the public sphere around slave owners, or white supremacists in general. Speaking about forbidden subjects could result in severe punishments. Enslaved African parents socialized their black babies as they aged about how to interact with white folk outside of the confounds of their slave quarters. One wrong statement to the wrong white person and black youth might have lost their lives like adults. With the constant rise of social media and social networks usage in postmodernity, sharing information has taken on a whole new outlook with regards to black communities, while some things remain the same.

Let us first consider many enslaved Africans devised secret messages in their communities to counteract their forced silence and suppressed freedom of expression in worship. Covert meetings in  slave communities outwitted slave owners and overseers and empowered those held in captivity as they established invisible institutions to meet their own spiritual and psychological needs (Costen, 1993, pp. 36-38). Some of the enslaved resisted slave patrol enforcement of Slave Codes (rules of conduct for the enslaved meant to protect boundaries set by white supremacists) by establishing ways to inform one another of secret meetings or ways to escape enslavement all together. Messages integral to the survival and hope of black folk commonplace in black parenting take the form of racial socialization. Continue reading “Passing Messages in Black Communities: Part One-Matters of Survival”