(waves crashing) - [Woman] It's almost like grief, you know, it's that tsunami thing that comes rushing over you and then pulls back out like it wasn't there at all.
And trying to deal with one's daughter and her race and her experience, I found challenging.
(somber music) - I think I paid a lot more attention to my son and his sense of self than I did to her earlier.
I didn't recognize that she was getting lost because she was articulate and smart, I left a lot out.
I wish I'd shored her up sooner.
We did everything to shore my son up as early as possible.
Make sure he got to the basketball so he could play with all the brown boys.
Made sure he did this, make sure he did that.
You know, put him in rites of passage.
We didn't do that for her.
We thought she was fine.
You know, in the media, they tell you your boys' endangered, you feel like you're on safari and your son is a young lion and there's a poacher that's going to shoot and kill him.
Even though you might've experienced something, you don't take the same precaution with the daughter.
- I worry about the fact that somebody might be foolish out there, you run across somebody, you know, crazy out there or whatever, not.
And just because you know, the way you are, you can be hurt that way.
I'll always have a little fear about that.
Nothing will ever change that, I don't guess.
(children cursing) - We were riding down this block and it's white people start saying, "Get out of here (beep).
You know, get out of my neighborhood.
Don't come to this neighborhood."
And then they start punching and hitting on her.
- [Woman] Throughout our existence in school, in the media, you know, we're constantly getting hit with these images of being hyper-sexualized and savage, uncivilized.
- [Man] Do you forgive them?
- It's a way of beating us down in very much the same way we may get beat down in the street by the police or by, by a racist mob.
Open the door!
- There's this whole confluence of violence that comes at us that goes unnoticed by the media and goes unnoticed by other people because it's not the way they typically see a violent attack.
- I find it difficult to figure out what's acceptable in the eyes of society for me to wear or how, how my body is viewed.
If I can walk down the street without being catcalled all the time, because I just, I just want to go home.
I don't see why we have to have a full conversation about my body.
And it's being like picked at, by every guy on the corner of the street.
- I remember as a seven year, or eight year old, my then stepmother, she was like, you have to stay in the kitchen and watch me cook and clean and do all this.
But your brothers, because they're men, don't have to do that.
And I was like, oh, that's awful.
What are you talking about?
I don't want to do this.
And she was like, it's because you're a woman.
And especially because you're a black woman, the only way anyone will love you is if you can at least cook or clean.
- It's just so deep, this pain that we can't just settle.
It's not that I want stasis but sometimes around these issues, like I actually do, because it's a lot to always be deconstructing and working with.
(children playing) - [Woman] I grew up where it did take a village to raise a child.
There was nothing I could go out my door and do that my mother would not find out about.
- I am a proud helicopter mom.
My husband jokingly calls me Black Hawk Down, right?
Because I want to know everything that's happening.
What's been said, how they're processing what a teacher has said to them, because these things eat away at them in ways that they don't know, as children.
(jump rope slaps) This constant conundrum that we're in, as mothers, as we go through life, and we face these things and sometimes we let it roll off our backs, sometimes we challenge it.
We figure out these nuanced ways of moving.
But now here are our children, our girls, you know, they're babies.
Sometimes I find myself just crying at night, not knowing what to say or how to prepare them.
We want to build them up strong, but we also want to protect them at the same time.
- When it's your daughter, you know, you, there's a certain amount of pride in her growth.
And when she starts to mature and blossom, you know, look at her, look at that, like a man when he sees his son, look at his muscles.
When you see your daughter and she's decided to do her hair and to think that no one appreciated it.
- I'm so ugly.
(cries) - (woman gasps) Baby girl!
- [Woman] For many, many years, we were told that only white people were beautiful.
- You're not going to cry, you are a beautiful little girl.
And you are pretty, you are the prettiest girl in your class.
- It was like a new awareness among black people that their own natural appearance, this physical appearance was beautiful.
(somber music) - When you're little, or even as a teenager, you need to be admired.
She went to an all white school and kept telling me, oh, so-and-so is so beautiful, so-and-so so beautiful.
And I had to constantly say to her, oh, but you're very beautiful.
You know, you're very beautiful.
And she would hide it from me that she felt insecure because maybe because I was so hyper secure, tried to show her how secure I was as a black woman.
I'm really worried that she, no one sees her.
- If I was like this smart young black girl, where did I fit in these classrooms?
Then I would come home and my mom would be like, who do you think you are?
There's a grounded-ness that happened when you are seen, when you're heard, when you're loved.
- I try so hard to, you know, address you as Janell, but sometime it's gonna slip, but I don't be doing it to disrespect you.
It's just that that's the way it comes out.
- There are very few things that we need to really exist, you know, and have happiness.
And one of them is to be seen and to be heard and acknowledged.
- For a while, I couldn't understand where you was coming from as a parent.
As I grew older, I understood you only was doing the best that you could.
(singing happy birthday) - When I get upset, I think, am I going to be like my mom?
That's like this overarching echo.
- But you can take from what she did that was bad, and, like, do better than that I feel like.
- Yeah well, we're all a little crazy.
(laughs) We all have stuff, I know.
- [Woman] I hear myself saying the same things that my mother said.
I see myself doing the same things that my mother did.
I wonder will my children and my grandchildren also have to conduct their parent in the same way?
And will their parenting still have to be drastically different than their white counterparts?
You have to allow them to explore their genius and build on what we've done, because whatever is coming next, we're not going to be the architects of that.
It's going to be our girls.