I love this quote, and I think it's important for all parents, not just parents of children of color:

We can choose to actively influence our children's attitudes. With our encouragement children will test and think through their beliefs about race, ethnicity, and religion. They are unlikely to ask the necessary hard questions without our help. It is up to us to take the initiative!

Children care about justice, respect, and fairness. Squabbles about sharing, concerns about cliques, and problems with playmates -- the daily trials of childhood -- reflect their active interest in these social issues. So do the questions children ask, when they feel safe enough to ask them.

One important gift we can give our children is to create a family in which difficult issues like racism are openly discussed. By talking openly and listening without censure, we can learn about our children's concerns and help them find connections between larger social issues and their own life experiences.

from CivilRights.org (via Adoptiontalk)


  1. Like it much! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I bet many parents strive to create an environment where difficult issues can be safely discussed. I think, however, that race is not considered a critical issue by people who are not on the receiving end of racism. I'm assuming (and you know what happens when people assume things) that white people discuss race when something really big happens. Or, when someone posts something on a blog about racism.

    How often do most of us discuss anything on a regular basis that does not affect us directly? I should discuss hunger, homelessness, and countless other critical issues of the day on a regular basis, but I don't. It isn't that I don't care. It is that I don't confront those issues and so I don't think about them. They are not front and center.

    Do I discuss racism in my household on a regular basis? No. Do I know households where that is a constant topic of conversation? Yes. If I worked in an environment where my race was a constant issue you can bet that it would be topic number one. But, fortunately my race is a non issue in my daily environment. Except when I run into that one mom at my son's preschool who makes conversation with all of the other moms except me. But I think she is just plain odd.

    Maybe we should all stop navel gazing every once in a while and think of the obstacles our fellow humans face. Think about your nonwhite co-worker and what he must contend with. Think about the homeless woman you passed on the street -- what is her life like? Consider the hardships endured by endless people on our planet. We should talk to our children about them. Children are compassionate. They are also resourceful. Maybe they will finally find solutions to end some of these ills. Ou children should know about these issues because they will inherit these problems and will eventually have to deal with them.

  3. Kristin1:13 PM

    I'm guessing you've already seen this but a great post that might be worth linking to on a future "that's what she said" even though it's from last fall: http://www.storinguptreasures.com/2009/10/racism.html


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