Right now is a greater time than ever to educate yourself & your family, your children and your neighbours! I’ve been thinking the past few days about if I’m doing enough. And in all honestly it was my best friend Afua who got me thinking that actually I’m not. In a moment of deep racial and political divides, when explicit racism is all over our news and our communities, white parents (such as myself) now more than ever have concerns about how to raise our children who are kind, compassionate and, more importantly, not racist.
I’ve been researching the past few days and trying to educate myself more. The advice that is most often received is simple: talk more to your kids about race and racism. This is certainly important. But I think we have all seen first-hand that it is not enough.
Children learn about race as a result of their own independent experiences — not just conversations. Their lived experience and their interactions with peers, teachers, neighbours, 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 — sports, clubs, summer schools/camps all set the parameters for how kids understand race. And this is true whether parents are consciously aware that these choices matter or not, and regardless of what parents explicitly say about race.
I would say that I always have subconsciously tried to create an environment where Adeline can learn about the differences and similarities between people of different races & cultures always through toys, picture books, tv shows and movies that celebrate kids of all colours & cultures. But upon reflection, I think I can do more.
I want to always be honest with Adeline. Especially when she is older and is able to ask me about the world no matter how big or small I want to be truthful with her. I think back to when I was a child and how open I was with my parents, I trusted them to be honest and the reason I would always go to them for anything is because I always knew they were honest with me and that’s all i needed. It’s all any child needs. It has to start somewhere!
All I ask is for you to ask yourself are you doing enough to make the world a better place? Not just race but also, gender, culture, religion and background.
Our children are the future to making this world a better place, for everybody.