As she was getting ready for school, Brigette Kerr’s 7-year-old daughter, Concetta, asked to have her hair braided like her best friend’s hair.
Concetta and her best friend have been inseparable ever since kindergarten. Concetta is white and her best friend is black. Concetta’s friend wears her hair braided in neat tiny cornrows.
Brigette knew she couldn’t let her daughter braid her hair like her best friend… so she lied.
Brigette explained on Facebook:
I didn’t give my daughter braids that morning. Instead, I told her we didn’t have time. That was a lie. It was MY fear of my daughter getting teased due to the stereotypes that we place on each other and how others perceive them that kept me from giving her braids that morning.
However, it didn’t take long for Brigette to receive the wake-up call she needed. While sitting in church, their family’s pastor began his sermon — a sermon about racism.
This is my daughter and her best friend. They’ve been BFFs since kindergarten. They are in 2nd grade now. My daughter…
The sermon inadvertently spoke to how Brigette’s mom acted when Concetta asked for braids like her best friend.
My pastor just spoke this past Sunday morning of intentional and unintentional racism. I am by no means intentionally racist. I have dear friends and coworkers I love that are of many ethnicities. But was MY fear of my daughter being stereotyped a form of UNintentional racism?! I WAS CONVICTED! How dare I push MY fear, my UNintentional racism, onto my daughter who sees no color, no stereotype, no hate, no “white girl hairstyle” or “black girl hairstyle”? She only sees pretty hair on her best friend. She shows love to ALL people without hesitation.
The following morning Brigette gave her daughter braids just like her best friend.
Although they weren’t perfect, Concetta was excited to show off her new hairstyle. Brigette wrote on Facebook that Concetta couldn’t wait to take a photo with her “twin”:
The mom summed up the lesson she learned through this experience:
I know so many people who claim to not be racist. Maybe you aren’t intentionally being racist, but are there some decisions you are making or thoughts that you are having that may be considered UNintentional racism? We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves! Let’s do a better job of showing this love.
Brigette told WAFB that she wanted to share her story because “it’s amazing what kids can teach us.”