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The Children Froze by Nicole Jocleen

Enjoy this stand-out entry from the January JBT essay contest.

Prompt: Why are Black male educators important?

Alleged or maybe even real fear of the black man is often used as an excuse whenever opposite races overreact in solvable situations. Is it real fear, hate because you’ve never had the opportunity to love, or both? I worked in early childhood development for almost 10 years. One day my co teacher’s adult black son came to our classroom. The children in our classroom were 90 percent white. I remember when he came into the classroom the children froze. I realized they’d never engaged with a black adult male before. Would lack of engagement make him or her fearful adults who overreact in solvable situations?

You may say well just because my child doesn’t engage with another race doesn’t mean they’ll be afraid of them?

I’m a person who’s never owned nor really interacted with a dog. When I visit people who have dogs, I’m a little afraid because I know dogs’ bite. Now when I get around your dog the slightest movement is going to cause me to jump and become scared. You’re going to think I’m overreacting. You’re going to say, “the dog is not going to bite you.” I’m not going to believe you because I’m not used to having any interactions with dogs and from what I know about dogs…they bite. We need black men in early childhood because we need babies of all races to understand early on that no matter what society is projecting, the black man does not bite.

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