Let’s talk about why teaching your children about racism and white privilege is important.
Racism is discrimination against a particular race or races, and/or believing that a certain race is superior. Structural Racism is racism built into society, the economy and politics.
White supremacy is the belief that whiteness is superior to other skin colors. White privilege is when the society you live in is designed to benefit white people. Despite all other hardships a white person might have, his/her skin color is not one of them.
I am a white woman with a toddler daughter, and I am still learning every day about how racism and white privilege impacts our society. It has been a very humbling journey to discover my own racial biases and how oblivious I have been about my own privilege.
I grew up in a white family, in a white neighborhood, playing with white baby dolls. Racism was glazed over in school as a thing of the past. What I grew to understand as an adult is that racism has changed its appearance over time, but is still ever-present.
I also used to believe that it was enough to "not be racist", to "be nice to everyone". The problem with this is that our society is built on racism and white supremacy, so quietly "not being racist" is not enough.
Only recently have I come to the realization that we must be truly anti-racist. This does not mean to passively "not be racist", but rather to be active against racism with listening, learning, speaking up and taking action.
I am still learning how to be anti-racist. I am not an expert. But I can still do my part to end white silence, to commit to learning about the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and act against structural racism. I must lean into my white privilege to support what BIPOC are saying they need to be free from oppression.
RACISM AND HEALTH
I know the main focus of my blog is physical health and wellness for children and their moms and/or caregivers. You may be wondering what racism has to do with physical health and wellness.
You might be surprised by this, but racism has EVERYTHING to do with physical health and wellness.
In the United States, society is built on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege. This leads to all sorts of disadvantages for Black, Indiginous, People of Color (BIPOC) compared to others.
Access to healthcare in the US is a major area of our society with racial disparities. BIPOC simply do not receive the same quality of healthcare that white individuals receive. The American Medical Association illuminates the fact that BIPOC have worse outcomes and higher death rates for most chronic diseases.
Black women are much more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts, as outlined by the American Heart Association. There is also evidence that Black women have less access to postpartum support, including lactation support and moms groups (PBS.org).
These are only a few examples of racial disparities that exist in society. There are so many more that we need to actively educate ourselves about. Education is the first step but there are also many actions to take against racism and white privilege.
I want to discuss what white moms and/or caregivers can do to foster anti-racist households.
It is never too early to foster racial inclusivity and anti-racism in your children and in your home. If your children are already older, begin today!
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8 WAYS TO RAISE ANTI-RACIST CHILDREN
1. Expose your children to books, toys, and media that represent and celebrate different races. Send the message through their toys that all skin colors are equally good and familiar.
These are the board books that my toddler daughter and I love:
These are some other awesome books that are great for children:
Check out these baby dolls, that represent all different skin colors.
2. Talk to your children about racial diversity.
Do NOT promote color blindness (“I don’t see color”) because your children will notice that people around them do have different skin colors. Color blindness really just perpetuates the problem of racism by ignoring it.
Instead, talk to your kids about how great it is that we all have different skin colors and that no certain skin color is better than the others. Also talk about how your child and another child might have different skin colors but also highlight all of the things they may have in common with each other, like age, interests, and hobbies.
3. Talk to your children about racism and white privilege.
Racism is so ingrained in our society, that you MUST talk about racism to combat it. If you do not make your children aware of racism, your children will be influenced by the structural racism of society, as they are forming their beliefs about the world and other people.
Talk about what privilege means and how white privilege only benefits white people. Point out age-appropriate examples of racism and white privilege in ever-day life and the media. Simple examples of white privilege for kids are: turning the tv on and most people being white, bandaids matching white skin, the majority of toys representing white skin.
If you are struggling with where to start, or are questioning if your child is too young to talk about racism and white privilege, A Kids Book About Racism is a good place to start. There are also segments of the Sesame Street episode about racism available on Youtube.
Model racial inclusivity and anti-racism for your kids
4. Expose yourself to books, art and media that celebrate Black, Indiginous, and People of Color (BIPOC) AND have all of these in your home.
Educate yourself about racism, structural racism, and white privilege.
I strongly recommend the documentary, 13th on Netflix, to begin to understand structural racism in the United States.
5. Be intentional about maintaining racial diversity and inclusivity in your own community (church, clubs, neighborhoods) and through authentic friendships. Foster the same racial diversity and inclusivity in your children’s community and friend groups.
6. Have conversations about white privilege and racism with your partner or other adults in the household in front of your kids. You will grow from this and your children will also gain awareness overtime - children are always watching and listening.
Call out family members when they say or do racist things. This includes your children. Model for you kids what should be said or done instead to foster anti-racism.
7. Support causes, sign petitions, and vote! Regardless of your skin color, racism is everyone’s problem, and we are all responsible for the solution.
If you have the financial means, donate to causes like Black Lives Matter and Black Mama's Bail Outs. Vote for leaders that are passionate about deconstructing structural racism in our society. Sign petitions that will hold leaders accountable to combat white supremacy and structural racism.
8. Support BIPOC run businesses. Find out what local BIPOC run restaurants, retail stores, salons, etc. you can support in your area.
Also check out these online resources for BIPOC run businesses:
If you are a mom blogger, or a lover of mom blogs, check out these awesome women!
If you have been feeling lost about where to begin with raising racially inclusive and anti-racist children, I hope this post helps. It is never too early to start.
Remember, that with no conversation or action around racism, the default is racism. We all need to be proactive in working against racism in our homes and in our communities.
Not caring about racism is racism.
We can all have a powerful impact on the next generation by raising racially inclusive and anti-racist children. We can all support and stand up for BIPOC mammas, and their families.
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