We should all be teaching kids to be anti-racist. We should, but many aren’t. I have come to believe that parents aren’t teaching kids to be anti-racist because they simply don’t know how to do it. They haven’t been informed, or sought the information. I think it’s time to change that dialogue right now.
You all have ogled (in a non-creepy way) over our beautiful daughters. While the girls are simply our daughters, we also acknowledge they are women of color. We have acknowledged this fact in big and little ways over the years. Their culture is part of them, so we have made it part of us as well.
We have had frank conversations with people of color as well as people of color adopted by Whites and we have tried to be open, honest and curious about the experiences of others. We want to know what we are doing right, what we need to work on and pitfalls that may be coming. It helps that a multicultural community has embraced our whole family. We are surrounded by friends and family who give us grace, advice and friendship. We understand everyone is not as lucky.
5 Tips For Teaching Kids To Be Anti-racist
We want to share with you all some of the tips for teaching kids to be anti-racist we’ve picked up over the years. Whether you are raising a child of color or not, the idea of being anti-racist, being actively against racism, is so important. For a deeper dive, make sure to read Being Anti-Racist”. It is life-changing!
1. Audit Yourself
No one thinks they are racist. Even people who have Confederate flags tacked to their living room walls say they aren’t racist. But have you had a stereotype pop into your head when meeting the new Latino guy at work? Did you clutch your person tighter when that Black man walked by? Do you find yourself wanting to pet the hair of the woman in line in front of you like you would a pretty dog? Be real with yourself and see if you have any latent racism you can purge.
2. Be Curious
There’s a lot we don’t know about each other. Encourage your kids to get curious about people who don’t look like them. They can read books, watch movies and Google all their questions. These sources can all help you in teaching kids to be anti-racist. Just don’t expect people of color to be your personal Ask Jeeves.
3. Nourish Friendships With people of Color
Racism is rooted in the power difference between the races. So let’s break that down. It might be harder for your kids to find and keep friendships with people who don’t look like them, but that extra work is worth it. Reach out to the new Asian student for a playdate. Invite the Black family from your daughter’s soccer team to come over after a match. Help your kids make all sorts of friendships.
4. Don’t Be Colorblind
Does this sound like a contradiction? It isn’t. We want people to see the culture and heritage inherent in our daughters. We’d never try to hide it or want them to keep their ethnicity under a bushel. That light on them should shine fully and for you to see – and love – all parts of them. Being colorblind is more comfortable for the dominant race. However, it denies the wonderful uniqueness of people of color. We think we should tell our kids to see all the colors. Embrace all the colors – and judge none of them.
5. Be a Good Example
Kids do what you do, not what you say. Do they see you have friends from a northern race? How do they know that you seek out multicultural experiences? Are they thinking you are actively against racism and hear you denounce it on a regular basis? The best way for teaching kids to be anti-racist is to make sure you are anti-racist yourself.
Start Teaching Kids to be Anti-Racist Now!
Parenting is hard. We know we are all doing the best we can do. However, we are encouraging you today to begin consciously teaching kids to be anti-racist. This is how we will make the world a better place for all of us.
Here’s a couple of other posts about parenting your kids to be responsible global citizens. Since you’re on a roll for the Parent of the Year award, why stop now?
Table Manners for Teenagers (and Anyone Really)