At Hopscotch, we firmly believe that every parent has a role to play in educating their children on race and teaching their children to be anti-racist in a society that has for too long oppressed Black individuals and other minority and ethnic groups. Prejudice has significant mental and physical health effects on a developing child and has long lasting ramifications that extend from decreased school performance, limited educational and financial opportunity, increased interaction with the criminal justice system and much more. By teaching children to be colorblind, we fail to acknowledge the experiences, challenges and struggles that minority and ethnic groups have faced which is a part of our history, and should be recognized. Rather we should be teaching that there is nothing wrong with being a different color; what is wrong, is assigning incorrect stereotypes or assumptions about groups of individuals.
EDUCATE YOURSELF FIRST
Talking to your kids about race can seem overwhelming, however, instead of avoiding the conversation in fear of saying something wrong, do better, and do the work to educate yourself first. We recommend reading: How to be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Think about situations in your past where you may have noticed racist behaviors, microagressions, or institutional racism, and could have intervened but stood by idle. Think about the media you consume, products you buy, institutions you support and identify actions that you can take to remove systemic bias. Stopping racist behavior is everyone's responsibility.
DIVERSIFY YOUR BOOKSHELF
Make an intentional effort to purchase books written by black authors. Read books to your child that have black protagonists. Teach your children about prominent ethnically diverse figures in history that they may not learn about in school. This extends beyond the bookshelf to the movies, TV shows, toys and other media your family is watching and purchasing.
Some of our favorite authors:
1. Andrea Davis Pinkey
DISCUSS WITH YOUR CHILD ACTIONABLE STEPS ON HOW THEY CAN SHOW UP AS AN ALLY
Have an open discussion about experiences or situations they've witnessed in the past. Have conversations to talk about potential scenarios that may arise in the future , and discuss with your child, ideas for how they could intervene in a situation, amplify another's voice, ask a question, or advocate for another. Brainstorm ways together to recognize and counteract hateful messaging and lift others' up. Encourage an open dialogue.
Don't let the fear of being perfect, or saying exactly the right thing prevent you from having the discussion in the first place. Recognize that we are on a constant journey of learning and continually striving to be better. Educate yourself first, educate your children and keep the conversation going.