Talking to Kids About Racism
I grew up in Salt Lake City. Almost every single person I knew was white and almost every single person I knew was Mormon. I did not grow up in a diverse environment, but my parents always taught us to love people no matter the color of their skin, their religion, political affiliation, etc. I want to do the same with my children, but these are tough conversations.
I suppose on one hand I feel blessed that truly I can interact with people and I just don't notice the color of their skin. I remember I met a girl in high school and when my parents met her they said, "you never mentioned she was black." I said, "I never thought about that. I just think she's a great person." My parents told me they were proud of me in the moment, but the truth is it was partially their love for everyone that made me not notice color.
As I've grown older I have realized that not noticing color is not enough. When strong feelings arise, we have to recognize where these people have been and I have to recognize that I have not walked in their shoes.
I had the opportunity to visit the Black History Museum in Memphis, Tennessee a couple years ago. It was a very humbling experience and I recognized that so much of this injustice I had swept under the rug. I was not educated in the history of this people and I need to be. I want my kids to be educated about racism and oppression of any group of people.
I've asked my kids if they are scared or if they have any questions over the last couple days, but haven't dug deep into what is going on and racism in our history. I need to. Perhaps I'm scared that I'm still not educated enough to do it justice. Perhaps I'm scared of ruining their innocence, regardless, I think it's important to talk to our kids about these issues.
I think it's important to not instill fear, but to answer their questions and educate based on their maturity level.
Don't assume they don't know. They gather bits of information whether they have a smart phone or not.
Maybe talk to your kids in a more general sense. Talk to them about unfair things they have seen at school and in their lives.
How are you talking to your kids about what is going on in the world? Are there any book you are reading or movies you are watching to help facilitate the conversation?