After the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the rise of the Black Lives Movement has started many overdue conversations about race. One word that has been coming up a lot, is the word anti-racist. But what does being anti-racist really look like? And how can parents raise anti-racist kids? Though I am a teen and not a parent, I put together five things parents can do when trying to raise anti-racist kids. I know that I have a lot to learn about anti-racism. But most of these tips are also things that my own parents used while raising me and have helped shape who I am today.
- Make sure that you and your child understand that being anti-racist isn’t an identity. It isn’t a goal that you achieve. It isn’t something that you become. It’s a value that you live by.
- Talk to your kids about history. Racism is a result of our history. During the Black Lives Matter Movement, people are angry not just because of the death of George Floyd. They’re angry because of CENTURIES of deep rooted racism. By reading to your kids about history, they will understand the complexities of racism.
- Model for your child what being anti-racist looks like. If you see someone treated unfairly because of their race, if you feel safe, step in and speak up.
- When you notice racism in the media that you and your child are consuming, stop and talk about it. If you are watching a TV show or movie or reading a book together, no matter how minor it may seem, make sure to point out racial stereotypes and biases . It might make you uncomfortable, but pause the movie and discuss it. Say, “Hey, I know that in this movie they are showing the Indian American girl as an uncool nerd who has no friends, but that’s wrong because that’s a stereotype. Not all Indian American kids are like that, and America has been portraying South Asian kids as uncool nerds for a long time. That’s what makes it wrong.”
- If you can, go to marches and protests! Let your kids experience first hand what it looks like when a ton of people who all believe in anti-racism come together. Even though this is a little different, going to the Women’s March and to the March for Our Lives protests really changed my thinking. Part of it is reading all the amazing signs and posters people are holding up. They are diverse and touch on so many unique aspects of the cause that you and your kid believe in.