How not to be racist: A guide from parents to parents and parents-to-be

How not to be racist: A guide from parents to parents and parents-to-be

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Awareness is just the start

In the our site Community, many parents – whether they’re BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) or not – are making it clear that lip service about racism is not enough to create change. Racism is not any worse than it’s ever been, it’s only getting uncovered, and for real change, every white parent in America needs to have a continuous conversation about race with their children.

Parents are asking other parents that race be on their radars and in the spotlight beyond traumatic events in the news. As our site Mom @xPaperPlanes warns, “…by then it’s too late. These conversations need to happen every day.” our site users have joined together to share thoughts on what people can do to become anti-racist.

How to be anti-racist

our site moms and dads are sharing ideas on how to broaden your and your children’s perspectives on race, how to come to terms with your own ingrained racism, and how to shift behaviors. The conversation is happening right now in our community, and the suggestions are wide-ranging. The following comes straight from our site parents (with a touch of editing for clarity) and is just a sample of our users’ advice on how not to be, or raise, a person with racist tendencies:

  • Anti-racism is not an identity or a checklist; it’s an ongoing decision to uproot the white supremacy that resides within you, your relationships, and the systems you navigate each day.
  • White people should know that they will never fully understand racism. The headlines and viral videos are a minuscule percentage of racist encounters. Racism is not new, it’s just now getting filmed (sometimes).
  • When someone points out racist behavior, don’t be dismissive. Don’t diminish how BIPOC experience the world. Dismissiveness is another form of racism.
  • Your experience in this country as a white person is drastically different than that of a Black American. What you think or feel about a racist situation isn’t relevant, and it’s vital to listen to those whose thoughts and feelings are relevant.
  • Open your eyes and recognize things for what they are. If someone tells you a racist joke and you don’t challenge them, you’re being racist as well.
  • If someone is upset that something feels racist or otherwise offensive to them, and your response is, "people will find anything to be offended about” or “I’m not offended by it, so it isn't a problem," then YOU are part of the problem.
  • Do not expect people of color to take on the task of educating you about racism. Your education is your responsibility. Do the work.
  • Become aware (through your own research) of the origins of euphemisms that may be rooted in racism. If someone points out a term or behavior that is offensive to them as a member of that group, respect their experience. Listen carefully. Do not try to tell others how they feel.
  • If a person of color has a problem with a slur that concerns them, that is within their rights. Do not try to take away their rights.
  • Having racist thoughts doesn’t make you an unforgivable monster. It’s not something you need to hide and deny to your last breath. Racism is something that’s deeply ingrained in the vast majority of people in America, and the solution starts with dragging it up to the surface and acknowledging it.
  • Acknowledge the racist encounters you have participated in or witnessed without reacting. Do better next time. Stop it when you see it. I'm sorry to my Black Uber driver who was racially profiled at a traffic stop while I sat in the back and said nothing. I'm sorry for not telling my coworker that slurs are never okay. From here on out, I promise to use my voice to protect people of color.
  • It's not enough to read a book about race to your children. You have to talk to them about race using your own words, too. You have to get outraged and let them see your outrage, so they will know that outrage is the correct response to racism. As the parent, you are teaching your child how to react to racism.
  • Being friends with people of color does not erase your white privilege or make you immune from racism. Nor does dating someone of a different race. Don’t give yourself a free pass because you have biracial children or a lifelong Black friend.
  • Tell your mother, grandmother, and extended family WHY you’re blocking their racist diatribes on Facebook. Call them out.
  • Be anti-racist with your peers, even if there are no BIPOC present.
  • As a white person, you hold a certain power. You can have conversations with the white people in your life about racism. You can use your social media platform, whatever the size, to promote the voices of BIPOC. All while not making it about you and your discomfort.
  • Don't have the audacity to tell African Americans that their methods of protesting are inappropriate. Their enslaved ancestors built this nation for free.
  • Teach your white children about race and racism even when it’s incredibly uncomfortable. Parents raising Black children do not have the privilege of protecting their little ones from conversations about race or police brutality. Black people have to teach their toddlers to avoid the police, put their arms up, and say, “don’t shoot!”
  • Don’t become the monster while you try to kill the monster.
  • These conversations need to happen every day.

Resources to check out online

To jumpstart your education and conversations, see these thought-provoking discussions, videos, and sites suggested by our site parents.

  • our site Community: Don’t be a racist thread
  • Video: Systemic Racism Explained
  • White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack
  • Antiracist Alliance
  • White Supremacy & Anti-Blackness: Socially Unacceptable vs. Acceptable
  • Be the Bridge to Racial Unity
  • Google doc: Anti-racism resources
  • Instagram: Rachel Cargle

Books on racism and race for you and your children

our site parents recommend these books for adults and kids.

For you

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Heavy by Kiese Laymon
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijoema Oluo

For kids

  • Daisy and the Doll by Angela Shelf Medearis
  • I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain Serres
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
  • Say Something! by Peter H. Reynolds
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
  • Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes

our site believes every parent-to-be, parent, and child have the right to equal access to healthcare, education, and opportunities that help families thrive. Here are more our site resources to continue your journey on this topic:

  • Anti-racism resources for white people
  • Questions to ask when choosing a culturally competent healthcare provider
  • How to talk to your child about race

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: Whats Blending: Megyn Kelly, Racial Identity, and White Adoptive Parents (February 2023).

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