It’s never too early to talk about race.
June 02, 2020
When we found out we were pregnant with a son, I was overjoyed. My husband was distraught. Being a white woman with white privilege, I didn’t have to think about much, other than the excitement of having a baby boy. My husband on the other hand, being Afro-Latino, had the burden of worry that if the boy was dark skinned he would go through similar racial injustices that he has experienced in life.
The constant anguish about what could happen to their children based on the color of their skin is something that Black parents in the US deal with daily. This video highlights the conversations that Black parents are forced to have with their children on how to deal with the police:
@cut on IG
It is imperative to break the silence on race, especially when talking to our kids. This is a great info graphic on Instagram that explains the stages children notice and think about race:
Race is a complex topic and for many parents it can be overwhelming to know where to start...
Articles to help:
Books to help kids:
If you start reading / following the work of the educators above, then please also donate to them. They work tirelessly as activists for POC, and educators for non-POC and should be compensated.
We would like to end with thoughts from Dr. Margaret A. Hagerman on the role we play as parents in the reproduction of racism and racial inequality:
“As explicit racism frequents our news and our communities, white parents have concerns about how to raise white kids who are kind, compassionate and, importantly, not racist. The advice they most often receive is simple: talk more to your kids about race and racism. This is certainly important. But I have seen first-hand that it is not enough.
White kids learn about race as a result of their own independent experiences — not just conversations. Their lived experience and their interactions with peers, teachers, neighbors, coaches, siblings and strangers matter greatly. The choices parents make about how to set up children’s lives influence their kids’ ideas about race and racism. The neighborhood they live in, the school they attend, and the activities they participate in set the parameters for how kids understand race. And this is true whether parents are consciously aware that these choices matter or not, & regardless of what parents explicitly say about race.
Everyday behaviors of white parents also matter: when to lock the car doors, what conversations to have at the dinner table, what books & magazines to have around the house, how to react to news headlines, who to invite over for summer cookouts, whether and how to answer questions posed by kids about race, who the parents are friends with themselves, when to roll one’s eyes, what media to consume, how to respond to overtly racist remarks made by Grandpa at a family dinner and where to spend leisure time. (Restaurants, vacation destinations & community events can be deliberately and by-default mostly white — or purposefully not.)
Parents may not even be aware that they are conveying ideas about race through these behaviors, but children learn from them all the time.
The conversations parents have with their white children about race and racism matter — it’s just that so does everything else parents do. Rather than focusing solely on what they say to kids about race, white parents should think more critically and carefully about how what they do on an everyday basis may actually reproduce the very racist ideas & forms of racial inequality that they say they seek to challenge."
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