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The first step to being anti-racist and raising anti-racist kids, is for the adult in question to understand what racism and anti-racism truly means first.
- Racism Defined
- Systemic Racism Explained
- Anti-Racism Defined
- Characteristics Of A Person Who Practices Anti-Racism
- Teaching Kids To Be “Not Racist” vs “Anti-Racist“
- How To Raise Anti-Racist Children
- Resources For Parents Who Want To Raise Anti-Racist Children
Racism is defined as a power structure that allows one group to put a system in place where they use their race to direct discrimination against people of different race based on the belief that their own race is superior.
Racism has been around It has been around since the transatlantic slave trade where the idea of one race being superior to another became instituted in order to excuse the enslavement of a group of people based solely off the color of their skin.
- Can Black People Be Racist? By Medium
- What Is Racism? By Calgary Anti-Racism Education
- Reverse Racism is a Myth by Calgary Anti-Racism Education
- Dear White People: Here Are 5 Uncomfortable Truths Black Colleagues Need You To Know by Forbes
Systemic Racism Explained
Systemic racism, also known as institutional racism or structural racism are structures and systems that have procedures or processes that disadvantages African Americans.
The president of Race Forward and publisher of Colorlines, Glen Harris defines systemic racism as “the complex interaction of culture, policy and institutions that holds in place the outcomes we see in our lives.”
- What is systemic racism? by Race Forward
- What is systemic racism? by USCCB
- What is systemic racism? Here’s what it means and how you can help dismantle it by USA Today
“Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.”NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity
Characteristics Of A Person Who Practices Anti-Racism
A person who practices anti-racism is someone who works to become aware of:
- How racism affects the lived experience of people of color and Indigenous people
- How racism is systemic, and has been part of many foundational aspects of society throughout history, and can be manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviors as well as formal (and “unspoken”) policies and practices within institutions;
- How white people participate, often unknowingly, in racism.
You can read more about this on this article titled “Anti-Racism Defined” written by the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center.
Teaching Kids To Be “Not Racist” vs “Anti-Racist“
One of the most asked questions, especially one I’ve gotten recently is whether parents should teach their kids to be not racist or to be anti-racist.
In this racist world we live in right now and with everything going on, it is sooo important for parents to teach their kids to be anti-racist. Being an ally or being non-racist just isn’t enough for things to change for the better and for us to see the change that we need.
Ibram Kendi, a leading scholar of race and discriminatory policy in America as well as the author of the books How to Be an Antiracist, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, Antiracist Baby Board Book was interviews and shared his thoughts below.
From my understanding, when parents desire for their kids to be not racist, they typically do not talk to their kids about race.
They avoid conversations about race or even explaining the racial inequities and dynamics in their community. As a result, typically, those kids are taught to be racist by society.
And so by contrast, when you’re essentially raising a kid to be anti-racist, you’re deliberately encouraging them to talk about race and racism.
You’re deliberately teaching them that all the racial groups are equals. You’re deliberately showing them, yes, there are different colors and there are different cultures. And we should value them all equally.Ibram Kendi
My take away from the above is that the best thing you can do for your kids is to talk to them about race. It is important to start having these conversations with your kids at an early age.
How To Raise Anti-Racist Children
There are many ways to raise anti-racist children, and the best and most effective ways are listed below.
1. Acknowledge Your Privilege
The first thing you must do as a parent, teacher or just as a person is to acknowledge your privilege, and being able to recognize that you have white privilege begins with truly understanding the term itself.
White privilege is the level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America, automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender or other factors. It makes life smoother, but it’s something you would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away — or unless it had never applied to you in the first place.Christine Emba
To further understand white privilege, check out these articles below:
- What is white privilege? by the Washington Post
- What Is White Privilege, Really? By Teaching Tolerance
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- 10 Examples That Prove White Privilege Exists in Every Aspect Imaginable by Yes Magazine
2. Talk To Your Kids About Race
At what age can parents and teachers start talking to children about race? Some parents don’t want to start too early, but the truth is, children recognize race much earlier than we think.
3. Read Diverse Books With Your Children
Reading is one of the best ways to address the race conversation with your children. Once you start reading a book, kids tend to have a million questions.
With those questions, you can gauge your kids knowledge on the subject matter and address each question so that they fully understand what diversity is and what is means.
If you want to read to read books to your kids, but don’t want to start from slavery, then books like A Is For Africa, African Is Not A Country and Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country are books to start with.
Make sure to check out this post on A Detailed List Of 40+ Diverse And Anti Racist Books For Kids And Adults.
4. Buy Diverse Toys For Your Children
When choosing toys for your kids, make sure to diversify their toys. For example, when buying dolls for your kids, buy different ethnicities. Even when purchasing things like legos, make sure to purchase diverse lego people.
Make sure to read this article on The Importance Of Diversity During Play.
4. Travel With Your Kids
Traveling with your kids can and will expose them to new people and new cultures. If you cannot physically travel, then take a virtual trip right from your living room. Read books and watch movies with a diverse cast. YouTube videos are also a great way to learn about new cultures and how other people live.
Make sure to check out this post on How We Afford To Travel With Kids.
5. Teach Your Kids Black History
Schools don’t teach Black History like they’re supposed to. February comes around and then boom it’s Black History month, and as soon as it is over, that’s the end of it.
As parents we have to go a step further and teach our kinds the things that can’t and won’t learn at school. It is very important.
Make sure to check out this post on Meaningful Ways To Teach And Celebrate Juneteenth With Your Kids and Books That Teach Kids About Martin Luther King Jr.
6. Take Your Kids To A Multicultural Event
A simple google search will show you all the local and multicultural events in your area. From events like Juneteenth to to Cinco De Mayo to Nigerian Independence Day to Pacific Islander Festival and the list goes on. This is such a fun and family friendly way to teach your children about other people and other cultures.
Make sure to read this article on Meaningful Ways To Teach And Celebrate Juneteenth With Your Kids + Kids Book List To Read About Juneteenth.
You can see how we celebrated Juneteenth on this Instagram post below. There were lots of families there who weren’t Black. I love that they joined in on the celebration.
7. Other Ways
- Listen to diverse music and visit diverse art museums with your kids – Putumayo Kids has a great selection.
- Speak up when family members or friends make racist or stereotypical remarks or jokes
- Teach your children to celebrate the differences of humanity by seeing color
- Acknowledge your privilege and do a routine check of your biases (we all have them)
- Listen when BIPOC (Black Indigenious People Of Color) share their experiences
- Do Your Research! Don’t always rely on someone to give you all the answers
Resources For Parents Who Want To Raise Anti-Racist Children
What To Watch
- 13th (Ava DuVernay)
- American Son (Kenny Leon)
- Dear White People (Justin Simien)
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol)
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay)
- Who Killed Malcom X
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada)
- Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu)
- Ruby Bridges (Kids Movie) – Disney+
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
- Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc)
- Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton)
- King In The Wilderness
- Selma (Ava DuVernay)
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.)
Podcasts To Listen To
- Seeing White
- Fare of the Free Child podcast
- Pod Save The People Podcast episode – No In Between x Ibram X Kendi
- Integrated Schools podcast episode “Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey”
- 5 Podcasts To Listen To If You Really Want To Know About Race In America
- 24 Podcasts That Confront Racism in America
People / Organizations To Follow On Social Media
- The Conscious Kid
- No White Saviors
- Muslim Girl
- United We Dream
- Antiracism Center
- Audre Lorde Project
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- Color Of Change
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
- Families Belong Together
- Justice League NYC
- Gathering For Justice
- The Movement For Black Lives (M4BL)
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
- National Domestic Workers Alliance
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
Additional Resources To Read Up On
- How to raise anti-racist kids
- 5 tips for raising an anti-racist child
- How do we teach our children anti-racism?
- Three Steps Toward Raising Anti-Racist Kids
- The White Parent’s Guide to Raising Anti-Racist Kids
- 6 ways to be antiracist, because being ‘not racist’ isn’t enough
- 30 Insightful Quotes on Racism and the Power of Diversity in Society
- How Can Parents Make Their Kids Understand How To Be Anti-Racist?
Homeschooling – Tips & Tricks
Thinking About Homeschooling – Where To Start
- Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family?
- How To Legally Homeschool Your Child
- Best Tips For Choosing The Right Homeschool Curriculum
- A Comprehensive Resource Guide For Black Homeschooling Families
Where To Shop For Homeschooling Supplies
Visit my Homeschool Resources page to see all the reliable and trustworthy brands that we use for our homeschooling journey.