Summertime is only a little while away, and you know what that means — family barbeques, reunions and get-togethers. Of course, one thing we look forward to is the food. Who doesn’t love some good macaroni and cheese at a family get together? But something else we should also be looking forward to enjoying is time with our family.
Now I know — you probably don’t want to go this year. Maybe you’re someone who’s tired of it all. But these kinds of occasions can mean a lot, especially for black families. There’s a lot of importance in going to these functions. Here are 4 reasons why you should make sure to go:
1. Debunk stereotypes
There are so many stereotypes placed on the black family. When people think about black families, they primarily see single mothers and children growing up in less than stellar conditions. There are communities who think that the black community is lazy and divided.
The media adds to these perspectives by portraying black children as being fatherless, which forces the idea into the heads of many. Music videos also portray the same, but a lot of people fail to realize that it’s entertainment and not every artist has the same origin.
When we come together as a family and have a great time, this moves us toward healing and debunking these negative stereotypes. Black families with both parents in the home and happy children do exist. Black grandparents do exist. Solid black family units do exists. It’s just a matter of creating more within our communities and strengthening them.
Since we’re in the age of social media, the more we spread these positive images, the more people will see the beauty that exists within the black family.
2. Get to know that weird family member
Yes, we all have them — that one family member who’s just a tad bit crazy. That’s okay, though. This is the year to get to know them…and apologize for the way you treated them last year.
I have this one family member who doesn’t understand what personal space is. Everytime we see him, he gets nice and close and likes to talk about how we look. I have another who just says the wrong things at the wrong time and it makes everything very uncomfortable. He’s the only one who thinks it’s funny.
There are some family members who it’s probably best to stay away from…but it’s not always necessary to give them the side eye when you see them.
3. Go see the family you haven’t seen in years
As someone who lives hundreds of miles away from my relatives, family functions can serve as an opportunity to see those who I haven’t seen in years. I remember going to family get togethers at a park in New Jersey when I was younger, and meeting new people. My father would take us around and introduce us to his aunts, uncles, second cousins and more. They always said it looked like my father spit my sister out — that’s how much they look alike. They commented on how I looked like my mom. Even though we didn’t know each other very well, I still felt at home. They’d share stories about my father that would have us cracking up. It was always a good time.
Even if you’re someone who sees your family often, family gatherings can be a time when you get to sit down, have fun and spend quality time with those you love.
4. See who can cook…and who can’t
When there’s a family gathering, everyone brings a dish and most likely, it’s homemade. This is your chance to figure out who makes what and if it’s actually good. We all have that one family member who swears up and down that they can cook, but the food just don’t taste like it. Then there’s the other one who no matter what they make, it tastes amazing. My older cousin is definitely one of those people.
Finding out who can’t cook will save you in the long run when you’re visiting their houses later.