In light of recent events, I keep thinking about what can I do as an educator and activist? What can I do to support and change the systemic racism that exist in our society. Racism is all around us, just open a magazine, shop online, and look at billboards. Too often, I look for story books that depict lives of children that look like my son, I come up empty handed. Thank goodness for the movie Coco. Not only is my son excited to see a little boy that looks like him, but also speaks Spanish! You better believe I bought every book about Miguel!
Racism is real, it does exist. What happened to George Floyd is one of many stories that unfortunately happens in the black community on a regular basis. There are so many things that anger me in all of this, the most important is that this still happens. What also angers me is that I think the media takes advantage of these situations and causes a lot of anxiety with their round the clock reporting. I also cringe when I hear that certain people are taking advantage of this situation and organizing looting and hate crimes.
We are all angry, we have to find ways to come together to make a change and not participate in a broken system and cycle of hate and tension.
In addition to our children having to deal with COVID, they now have to witness, experience, and process what racism means. That is a lot to take in! How do we explain to our little ones that they might be looked at differently, singled out because of the color of their skin, or told a stereotype about their culture. I read a quote from a friend on Instagram that basically states that children of color do not get the privilege of not talking about racism at a young age. I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve collected a list of resources that I plan on using to teach my son. I am listing them below in hopes of helping parents of color naviagte their way through these conversations.
1. Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum talks about teaching her toddler son about race and identify. She is the author of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?
2. Life Kit For Parents: NPR has a great 20 minute conversation about how to talk to children as young as 4 years old about race. They provide concrete examples on what to say to children.
3. Sesame Street and CNN partner up to explain to children about racism and how it currently affects the black community. Wonderful job Sesame Street! They really provide kids with clear and child friendly language.
4. The Conscious Kid blog provides so many resources for children of all ages. They post articles about social justice and how media influences children. I really love the layout. I recently found a list titled 41 Children’s Books To Support Conversations About Race, Racism, And Resistance. I highly recommend it! You pay $1 and you can access their articles and resources.
5. If you are like me and constantly looking for books that represent diversity, I highly recommend The Tutu Teacher and Vashti Harrison websites. They have fantastic recommendations.
With Love & Solidarity,