Thoughtful Parenting: Moving toward being an anti-racist family
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “But exactly how do I expose my child to other races if everyone around us is white?”
I’ve heard the question several times while presenting on race-conscious parenting. Families living in mountain towns here in Colorado and families all over the country have the same question. Knowing that 75% of white Americans don’t have non-white friends, it makes sense that such a question is asked. Fortunately, there is no single answer.
Within your family, you must first conduct an in-depth examination of the goals you have toward becoming anti-racist. Why does this work matter? What does your family miss out on when not working toward anti-racism? What sacrifices is the family willing to make to take a stance against racism? After some weighty introspection and conversation, then other actions can take place. Here are some actions that your family can take toward becoming anti-racist:
1. Evaluate the books and magazines that are in your home. Does your family read text from Black, brown, Indigenous and people of color ( BBIPOC) authors? Do the books that you read paint BBIPOC characters in a positive light?
2. Who is in your circle? List at least 10 people who are considered close or semi-close to your family. Would you consider this list of 10 people racially diverse? If not, think of ways to expose your children to other cultures. For example, consider shopping at grocery stores with more racially diverse customers. If you do have non-white friends, do they talk about racial events with you? If not, why not?
3. Take your child to multicultural events but don’t stop there. Explain to your child that there is more to people’s cultures than food, flags and festivals. Conduct research with your child about races within the U.S. beyond your own.
4. Remember white is a race.
5. Start or join a family equity team at your child’s school that addresses inequities in the school and school system at large.
6. Go beyond placing a “Black Lives Matter” sign in your window. Join an organization that is working toward racial justice.
7. Hire BBIPOC consultants to facilitate workshops to a group of families on the topic of race consciousness.
8. As a family, create a fundraiser for an organization doing work in your area. Donate the money anonymously.
9. Purchase art, products and other services from Black-owned businesses from spaces such as Etsy.
10. Know that conversations about race can and will be awkward to have with the children you support. That doesn’t mean that you should stop having the conversation.
Asia Lyons is with Lyons Educational Consulting, based in Aurora, which supports organizations’ goals of creating inclusive environments for their employees, clients and community.
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