Carmen Van Kerckhove, co-founder and president of the anti-racism training company New Demographic, writes for two of our favorite blogs, Racialicious and Anti-Racist Parent. Today, she sent us these five tips for parents. We think it’s a must-read. Be sure to visit Anti-Racist Parent to download the free 11-page e-booklet "How to Be an Anti-Racist Parent: Real-Life Parents Share Real-Life Tips." And, don’t miss today’s post on helping teachers understand adoption.
The following is reprinted with Carmen’s permission:
You don’t use racial slurs. You teach your child to treat everyone equally. You expose your family to diverse cultures. That’s enough to make sure your children don’t grow up to be racists, right?
Most people think that racism is all about white hoods, burning crosses, and racial slurs. But racism is also about linking physical and intellectual abilities to racial differences. If you think about racism in this way, the truth is that all of us hold racist beliefs.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind:
1. Your children will face racism, so prepare them for it.
It’s not unusual for children to hear their peers using racial slurs as early on as the first grade, even in the most diverse and open-minded communities. Don’t assume that racism is a non-issue for your family.
2. Don’t be colorblind.
"Everyone is the same to me. I don’t even see color!" Being colorblind is not possible and it should not be your goal. As NAACP Chairman Julian Bond says, colorblindness means being "blind to the consequences of being the wrong color in America today."
3. Make conversations about racism relaxed and frequent.
Don’t wait for A Very Special Moment to talk about race. Conversations about race should be as normal and casual in your family as discussions about "American Idol." In fact, "American Idol" can be a good starting point to talk about how people of color are portrayed in the media!
4. Lead by example.
Actions speak louder than words. If you tell your children they should accept everyone, regardless of race, but you only socialize with people from one race, what message do you think your child will absorb?
5. Never stop dismantling your own racist beliefs.
You can’t lead by example if you don’t work on yourself. Realize that you’re not going to wake up one morning and be rid of all your racist beliefs. There are no shortcuts to becoming anti-racist. Be aware of your own biases and privileges, and never stop working to overcome them.