Hold the Line has a commitment to truthful storytelling, actionable steps caregivers can take to be champions for equity and inclusivity, and even fun activities you can do with kids to support social change. Hold the Line has a mission of reaching out and learning from a diverse group of people. We make no assumptions as to who has a story to tell that will resonate with our readers or who will best benefit from reading our magazine, but we do consider ourselves to land at the intersection of parenthood and social justice.
Hold the Line is digital, but not a blog, you can purchase a copy using the shop page here on our site. You can also purchase the 2018 Collection of which you will get two issues immediately and the next two independently as they are produced.
Inside HTL, you will find a number of thoughtful essays, testimonials of trying times, and informative articles that will help you increase your awareness and compassion for those around you. In turn, we hope that you’ll also continue working toward encouraging the children in your life to treat themselves and others with kindness and understanding. We are each following our own journey and while yours may not look like mine (and you may not look like me) we are capable of respecting each other’s place in this world.
HTL is about activism but with a uniquely formed approach that rattles what you thought you knew about goodness.
Read “When Color is Clear” from Issue No. 1 by Bellamy Shoffner
Even in the 1990’s, segregation colored my existence. I grew up in Northern Delaware, my family moved often within the state—a nod to my parents’ dedication to giving us more space, more grass, more suburbs. At school, my Black peers expected me to live in the inner city and act within the confines of their perception of Black people. When I did neither, I continually fell victim to their ridicule as a result of falling short of their ideals. I didn’t talk or act in a way that made sense to them. I was called “white girl” as an insult far more times than I have ever been called any actual racial slur. I didn’t believe in white as an inherently bad thing to be, so I fought with the confusion of being hurt by being called a name that wasn’t actually deplorable. My classmates would watch as I stepped out from a school bus full of white suburbanites and tease “white girl!” “You act white, you sound white! You are white!”
To my white friends, I was a novelty. They, too, noticed my crossover appeal and that my suburban existence made me an outlier, and I was singled out as a safe, approachable option for a Black friend. My white friends would touch my hair and question how I cared for it, remarking: “Oh, it feels SO weird!” Never considering that maybe it was their hair that felt weird. At their houses, I was always hyper-aware of my Black face in their white world. Never missing that inkling that even my friend’s parents saw me as the Black friend.
This went on for my entire school career, even in college. I have spent my entire life as a Black person in a Black body being treated like an intruder in or, worse, an evader of my own race. Sure, I was teased about other things, too, but at the forefront of the taunts was a perpetual belief that I was betraying my ancestral truth by living in a different part of town and speaking in a manner that defied stereotypes.
At the same time, I spent my childhood like many little Black girls; my hair in cornrows or puffy twisted ponytails, my summers in the rural South eating fried foods and penny candy at my great-grandmother’s house. When school was out, as a kid and teen, I often traipsed through the depths of Baltimore City, where my extended family lived. Here, I was still in tune with the ways in which I didn’t belong, but I reveled in the anonymity of unobscured Blackness. Here, I could play with my cousins who were not only Black but also loving enough to not constantly point out my paradoxical imaginary whiteness. Here, I could walk through an urban mall surrounded by hundreds of other people of color, and as long as I didn’t give myself away by talking too much like me or dressing too much like me, I could successfully blend in. I basked in the seedy vibrancy of the big city, where I was not Black girl wanting to be white or the lone Black friend, representing an entire race, here, I was just a Black girl being. (continued)