Target Is Celebrating Black History Month--And My Multiracial Family Is Thrilled
I’m one of those moms who buys almost every single essential household item from Target. From baby wipes, to ice cream, to melatonin, the store is our go-to. Besides being the mecca of all-things-necessary, Target is well-known for providing everything we didn’t know we needed until they showed us—and we’re certainly going to buy.
Once again, Target is winning the Internet for giving the people what they want. This time, it’s the unveiling of their Black History Month in-store displays and brand-new landing webpage. They’re featuring apparel for adults and kids, books, music, toys, journals, and beauty products. My family cannot get enough of it.
We’ve celebrated Black History Month—which is every February—for over a decade. We started when our oldest daughter was only three months old, reading her a board book about Dr. King. Since becoming a multiracial family by adoption, my husband and I took on Black History Month as part of our family’s tradition.
However, we quickly acknowledged that our black children—all four of them—aren’t just black during the 28 (or this year, 29) days in February. Their history matters every single day of the entire year—which is why I was pleased to learn Target’s BHM slogan. All their select merchandise exists to “celebrate black history all year long.”
Target has created new merchandise—mostly graphic tees and hoodies—to acknowledge Black History Month for several years now. However, this is the first year their website has rolled out a page solely dedicated to celebrating blackness. It includes two stories of black, female creators whose products are sold in Target stores: Melissa Butler from The Lip Bar and Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell from Alikay Naturals.
There are new, fabulous graphic tees, sweatshirts, and a dress this year. Our favorites include the colorful tee displaying the names of eight different black inventors and their inventions and a gold tee featuring nine figures from black history, including Sojourner Truth and Langston Hughes. Other apparel feature characters from Black Panther and affirming phrases like “beauty in every shade” and “black is beautiful.” These straight-forward, unapologetic messages are magical—serving as reminders that blackness not only exists, but is important.
Many people have asked me why there is a Black History Month, and I’ve shared that unfortunately, history has been whitewashed for so long that many fail to understand how important black history is to our country. Of course, much of this history is violent and disturbing, which is why I think we often avoid discussing it. There’s also a lot of triumph and excellence to be learned.
However, we can’t change what we fail to acknowledge in the first place. Understanding what was and what still exists is critically important. For example, Target is selling a baby onesie that features the names of Martin, Maya, Harriet, Malcolm, and Frederick. Do you know who each of these individuals are—their last names and contributions–without Googling them? Listen, black history is human history–and we all should know and appreciate it.
Additionally, others have told me that kids don’t see color–which I adamantly disagree with. Since my children were little, they have acknowledged that their skin is different from ours and enjoy pointing out others who look like themselves. I’ll never forget when my oldest was a toddler and spotted a woman with a large afro, promptly exclaiming, “Mom, that lady has hair like me!” Belonging and likeness matters—and though purchasing merchandise that celebrates blackness is important, it’s only part of a bigger picture.
What is the bigger picture? My kids have many real-life racial mirrors, including friends, family members, their braider and barber, their mentor, and our church community. These are individuals who are part of my children’s lives, helping them feeling empowered, confident, and beautiful in their own skin.
There are many ways parents of black children work to build up their kids—because we have to. The world works really damn hard to tear down our kids—through systemic racism, microaggressions, and stereotypes—so parents have to work even harder to build our kids up. This happens in the small ways, like wearing a “I am the hope. I am the dream” hoodie and reading books like Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. And it happens in bigger ways, like spending time with their mentor. All of these ways matter.
My hope is that with each passing year, more companies step up like Target is to create a culture of collectively acknowledging and celebrating black history. Because for far too long, this history was ignored. To have one of the nation’s most popular and beloved stores step up and honor black history and contemporary culture is major—and my family is here for it. Is yours?
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