Our news is permeated with stories about protests, racism, social injustice and sometimes violence. It stirs up a number of discussions between parents and children about the topic of race. These discussions can be a bit uncomfortable. We ran across this article on the Imperfect Parents website written by Saraa D. Lee. Here are some excerpts from the article:
Conversations about race are always happening around us. Always. Every bit of media and every person participates at all times. Just like in a painting, where the filled and blank spaces come together to form the entire work, both what is said and what is left unsaid matter immensely. For example, I absolutely adore Mr. Rodgers but the absence of one or more equally publicly celebrated paternal figures of color in children’s media is an example of white supremacy shaping the children’s conversation on race. An Asian-American, Latinx, Native-American or Black American father figure could have filled that role if it didn’t also require a unique blend of access and privilege that our society exclusively extends to white people….
My guidance is that we need to be mindful, proactive, and start very early identifying and celebrating race. Even babies notice race, since skin color, facial features, and hair are pretty helpful tools for identifying people. To ignore race allows room for the child to internalize bias implicitly – including that there is something shameful about noticing or having phenotypical differences.
In this article Ms. Lee provides parents with a number of tips to open the door on the topic of race and provides some guidance as to how to communicate with your kids about this significant issue in our society.
I hope this will be helpful to parents since this topic is so pervasive in our national dialogue. One of the best places to have these discussions are in our homes that are safe and predictable.
Our kids will need to have perspective as they process this volatile topic, especially within the safety of their own family.