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Anti-Racist Parenting

Page history last edited by Anne Lytle 13 years ago



Anti-Racist Parenting

Be Worthy of Your Child's Imitation


White Antiracist Parent


This is an informative blog site used for open discussion about racism and what parents can do to eliminate racism. The site coordinator's goal is to mobilize more white people to do their part in challenging racism in all aspects-personal, community, and institutional. There are two main contributors but the forum is open to all who feel compelled to participate.


Unconventional Origins


Another blog for parents seeking ways to become active antiracist parents. I love this page from the blog and have included the Six Reasons Antiracist Parenting is For Everyone. The site covers topics from blended families, holidays, raising conscious children, and more. All together a great site for parents looking to gain insight into raising antiracist children and speaking out against covert racism in the media.


Six Reasons Antiracist Parenting is For Everyone:


  • It better prepares our children for the world around them. We live in a multi-cultural, multi-racial, ever-growing global community. Your children will interact with a variety of people as they grow, and anti-racist parenting better teaches our children how to overcome our differences and work together.
  • It nurtures compassion in our children. Anti-racist parenting would not work if not for compassion; compassion is at the root of all anti-racist parenting.
  • It challenges the parents. Anti-racist parenting challenges the behaviors and beliefs of the parents. Encouraging your children to have friends of all different races is great, but confusing if you yourself have only friends of the same race. Teaching your children anti-racist principles involves a great deal of self examination.
  • It addresses gaps in our children’s education. Leaving it to the schools to educate our children about race is probably part of what has caused a lot of our race problems in the first place! When your children study history, spend some time filling in the gaps (i.e. Native Americans are more than the Thanksgiving story).
  • If done right, it teaches us to embrace and celebrate our differences. Anti-racist parenting is NOT teaching our children to be colorblind, i.e. to “not see” race. Anti-racist parenting should instead teach us to embrace the beauty and acknowledge the history of people of different races.
  • It’s our responsibility. This could have been the first one, but I saved it for last. Just like we teach our children to care for themselves, to balance a checkbook, and to do their own laundry, we have a responsibility to instill anti-racist principles in our children. Raising our children well is one of the most immediate things we can do to change the world.


How to be an anti-racist parent? Educate yourself first.


As a starting point for teaching children about race, it is important for parents and teachers to educate themselves about antiracism and diversity, as well as to understand their racial and cultural identities.  We are including two guides for parents and teachers which we find helpful in learning about race.





Why we desperatley need to talk to our children about race:


  •  Children notice difference, we need to "acknowledge children's curious, authentic, and often painful negotiations of race," before they begin "defining who is and who is not 'other' in their efforts to negotiate their own identities."
  • Children intuitively adopt their caregivers' beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices.
  • Children are aware of their caregivers' discomfort when the topic of race arises; "children notice the messages our silences send." 

From: "Talking to Children about Race: The Importance of Inviting Difficult Conversations" in Childhood Education, by Jane Copenhaver-Johnson (www.acei.org/racism.pdf)

How to talk to our children about race:

  • When your child notices and says that a person "looks different," discuss your child's reaction.
  •  Provide your child with interactions with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Discuss your family's history and ancestry in light of the distinction between ancestry and race.
  • When you see intolerance, bias, discrimination, racism - point it out to your child and discuss how the situation could have been dealt with justly.
  • Read stories and poems to stimulate discussion.

From: RACE Are we so different? "A Family Guide to Talking About Race" by Felicia Gomez, Mary Margaret Overbey, Joseph Jones, Amy Beckrich pg. 1-10

Children's racial awareness:

  • Children's racial awareness is strengthened through witnessing their parents' emotions and sense subtle changes in their parents' behavior - esspecially when the child feels that their parents do not trust someone or displays discomfort around someone. Children subconsciouslly adopt this reaction, and racism is then transmitted. Parents must delve into self-reflection and self-education in order to be anti-racist and convey clarity for their children.
  • Children's racial awareness develops out of a yearning to belong, as one mother reveals that her child's questions "had less to do with skin color and more about belonging" (202). Parents can facilitate a sense of belonging by supporting identity development in tandem with emphasizing our connectedness as human beings.
  • "White children in a racist society learn racist attitudes" (p.255), but if racism is learned, racism can be un-learned!

From: Letting Go: How to help your two-to-five-year-old become a well-adjusted and independent child by Robin Kriegsman Glazer, chapter entitled "Racial Awareness and Prejudice" and from: Tough Questions: Talking Straight with your Kids about the Real World by Sheila and Celia Kitzinger


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