Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Can Black Parents Raise Narcissists?

Child, Please How Mama’s Old School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked MyselfIn my lifetime, I’ve met plenty of black narcissists. Way too many to count. But a recent article written for Salon by Ylonda Gault Caviness,  author of the forthcoming release Child, Please: How Mama’s Old School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myselfstates that black parents can’t raise narcissists.

I’m going to need Caviness to reevaluate her thinking and google “Kanye West”.

From Salon:

According to a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences our nation is currently raising a generation of narcissistic kids—children who are receiving the message from their parents that they are “more entitled,” or “more special” than other kids. We black parents don’t have to worry about that. Black parents in America don’t raise narcissists. Never have. Probably never will.

Sadly, black folks have never had the luxury of over-valuing our children. Sure, we love our kids just as much as whites. And we fill them up with affection as best we can. But it would be downright reckless and dangerous for us to fill their heads with such utter nonsense. To set them up with expectations that the world is waiting to embrace them and all their awesomeness.  History has shown us that if we want to keep them alive, our kids must be taught, and taught early, that teachers, police and other authority figures may see them quite ordinary—at best.

What Caviness doesn’t realize is, is that narcissism happens when a child becomes an extension of a parent, and that has no color-lines. Black, White, Asian parents — all have the ability to have a special little snowflake child(ren). There are tons of black parents who ignore anything that isn’t perfection. Look at the tons of black musicians, actors, athletes out there. I’m quite sure some of them would be classified as narcissists.

As a person who’s dated a narcissist, I can definitely say, I blame his parents. And they’re also narcissists. Narcissism begets narcissism.

Clutchettes, do you think black parents can raise narcissists?  

  1. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Oh I have dated my share of black narcissists. Believe me, they exist. I have no time for them. Funny enough, when I met their families, it became clear how they got that way. No, little Tyrone is not always right and the world does not revolve around him. If you don’t check this, there is no woman who will put up with his nonsense. Build your kids self-esteem but still check your kids.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      Ha! They still coddle his azz. One day, I asked his sister, “Is he autistic or something? What are y’all tryna protect him from?” She was offended at my question and pretended to have no idea what I was talking about. In her mind, he is too fragile to hear the truth. He’s been around women who coddled him his entire life (only had white girlfriends), so why won’t he give up on chasing after me?

  2. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Its easy to find in males. You wonder wtf is wrong with Chris Brown and then you see his mom…and his fans are just an extension of the coddling. He’s not cute, his singing is alright (when he does do that), and the only thing he excels in is dancing so he really is just staying afloat through his fan base.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      I’ve got some cousins honey that will put these men to SHAME in the narcissistic dept. Whew! Entitlement at its finest. My non-paying back loans, serial rent-ditching cousin is the poster girl for entitlement in her beautiful Laguna Beach neighborhood. #section8 #foodstamps #childsupportchecks #withagoodjob

      • March 18, 2015 - Reply


        At Laguna Beach? That’s insane. I find it particularly painful when females have it because sometimes they truly think its just high confidence/ self esteem.

        • March 18, 2015 - Reply


          That’s their defense. They’re not conceited, just really confident. LOL. Girlfriend ain’t paid rent in two years. Setting black women back decades. Those landlords are NEVER gonna rent to a sista again. OH, and trashes the place before she finally moves out. Not intentional, just messy.

  3. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Of course, any parent or guardian of any race an raise a narcissist.

    You can tell that a lot of people (across all racial lines) like to think that they are the most special or most attractive person in the room. The problem is, everyone can’t be the best at everything. Everyone can’t win every award.

    These young people are being raised with a sense that they should be celebrated just for getting out of the bed in the morning and putting on lotion.

    There is a false sense of equivalency in our society.

    That is why there is so much shock and surprise on social media regarding all of these murders of unarmed Black women and Black men.

    This younger generation (most, not all) had convinced themselves that they had darn near overcome all of the racial struggles, trials, and tribulations that the previous generations in their family endured.

    They think they are viewed as equals by their peers of other races.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      I grew up with parents who had no problem getting and keeping jobs. For that reason, I feel that they might have been a tad bit coddled. Now as retired folks, they are completely unprepared. My parents are babyboomers and I am gen x. I’ve had some rude awakenings in my lifetime and while I can be narcissistic, it’s not because of anything I was given, rather things that I have worked (read: struggled) to get.

  4. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Although, I don’t agree with the idea that it’s impossible for Black parents to raise a narcissist, I do believe it may be less likely for them to be raised with narcissistic tendencies but not impossible. Now I don’t know what exactly qualifies as a narcissist but I believe that a lot of athletes may qualify as narcissists.

    This leads me to believe that you can become a narcissist if it’s not something like sociopathy. Hm. Looks like I’ll be doing some light googling. It’s actual pretty interesting.

  5. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    When I saw this the first thought that ran through my head was: “Of course see Kanye West” and I was not disappointed to him referenced in this article.

  6. March 18, 2015 - Reply


  7. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    GAWD YES!!!
    In my family tree, there are several branches that are full of special little snowflakes. It ranges from the relatives who are sssoooo intelligent (and won’t have a problem telling you) that they have no choice but to be stupid, to the folks who live in pre-dominantly white suburban communities and think they have “made it”.

  8. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    Think of all of the women who have been harmed physically for rejecting a random’s advances. There are tons of black narcissists. Open your eyes and spin in a circle.

  9. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    HA! She hasnt met my mom. Lol, but seriously. She is oh so wrong.

  10. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    Many people have a tendency to confuse self confidence with narcissism. And I do not doubt that there are may supremely confident people who are borderline narcissist, constantly tooting their own horns and hogging the spotlight. Kanye who the author mentions comes to mind. While I am no fan of his behavior in general I would never label him as narcissistic. For all his flaws and behavioral shortcomings even his strongest critics have to admit he is supremely talented. He may come off often as boorish and a braggart but he passionately promotes others as well as himself. Many of the artist whom he has brought to the fore have also proven themselves to be very successful and Kanye has never encroached on that success.
    The truth is we are living a society where self promotion is more valued than actual achievements. Trying to be successful today without blatant self promotion is almost impossible as very little value is given to merit. Afterall it’s now all about our “brand” as if we are all products to be bought and paid for by anyone who can afford to pay the price. That is what has trickled down to the younger generation, the belief that one can be successful with out having substance. Marketing yourself in social media and getting your name out there trumps actual achievement. They are all rockstars in waiting unrecognized until they can inform you as to their greatness. In a “selfie” nation we are all prospective narcissist

  11. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    My father is a narcissist. He’s Black. And, I know a Black woman narcissist too who went to high school with me. Black folks are people and are capable of doing the same as any other group of people.

  12. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    We need each other, which is why we are as united as we are. Narcissism does not allow black Americans the support we may need. When hatred dies, but this will never happen. We should immigrate, this is the one experience black Americans have never experienced.

  13. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    First, parenting is an important, sacrosanct responsibility. Children should be raised correctly and told honestly (via an age appropriate fashion) about the cruelties in the world. There are some black parents who have raised narcissists. Narcissism readily leads people to have unrealistic expectations, it can allow people to mistreat others, and it can cause some to have a false sense of “entitlement.” Egocentrism is common place in Western society. Confidence is antithetical to narcissism, because confidence deals with self-actualization and valuing human life in a positive way. Narcissism is inheritably negative and causes tensions within society.

    One of the lessons of our elders is that they want us to serve. To serve is to work in a cause bigger than ourselves and to realize that we are important, but we are not more important than others. To place life into perspective, to seek wisdom, and to focus on altruism are inescapable truths that refutes the evil of narcissism. During this time, we, as black people, should never be narcissists anyway. Many of our people face extreme poverty, discrimination, and other terrible situation. Fundamentally, we have to promote more selflessness and solidarity as a community. It is the narcissist attitude that has contributed to the recession, to various unjust wars, and other evils in our world. Children are precious. They need guidance, instruction, correction, and inspiration.

    Telling the children the truth can do wonders in benefiting their own lives (especially in the long term) and improving our neighbors in general.

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