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VOICES: Ariel Shumaker-Hammond // Anti Racism Parenting Resources

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By Ariel Shumaker-Hammond, local therapist + photographer. This is a contributor-submitted Voices piece. Want to join the conversation? We invite you to write for us. Learn how to share your voice here.

Recently, I’ve had several white folks, who have heard me talk about anti-racist parenting before, ask where to start with their own anti-racist parenting. Before I was even pregnant, my partner and I made an intentional and conscious decision to weave anti-racism into our parenting from the start. We don’t do it perfectly (spoiler alert, that’s not possible), but it is part of our daily narrative.

I’ve heard so much shame from white folks, fear that it’s “too late,” or that they have been too paralyzed in their discomfort to start this work with their kids.  First of all, I’m so glad more folks are wanting to join in on this work.  I’m still learning too, every day.  I hope that continues for all of us!

Second, the good news is, you don’t have to do it all at once!  Just like we are still learning, our kids will be learning to dismantle white supremacy every day, too.  This is a life-long process for all of us.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard from other white parents about their hesitancy in talking to their kids about race:

“Why would I want to talk to my kids about race?  Shouldn’t we just let kids be kids?  Shouldn’t I teach them not to see color?  Aren’t they too young? That sounds super uncomfortable… I’m hoping they’ll just learn about it in school/life/tv/other places.”

You’re right- It is uncomfortable!  And, lucky for us, we’ve had the privilege of not HAVING to talk to our kids about race unless we really want to (which, by the way, is not a privilege BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, People of Color — parents have, who have to teach their kiddos how to be safe from a very early age because of the very real potential for violence towards themEspecially parents of Black sons).

But yea, it is uncomfortable, and we will stumble. We will blush and feel embarrassed and worry that they’re going to “say the wrong thing” when they’re out in public, or in front of a BIPOC friend (spoiler alert again: they probably will, and how you respond in that moment is worth a lot).  I know I have had all of those feelings.

But here’s the thing: NOT talking to our kids is WAY more harmful than talking to them. Just like kids connect the dots about other unsaid things, they do so about differences they see as well, whether or not you invite them into conversation about it. And, unfortunately, if we leave it up to media/tv/school etc, we are sending them a VERY negatively biased message about what differences in skin color means.

We teach our kids constantly, every minute we’re with them, in a variety of ways. So why wouldn’t they deserve to learn about this very real thing that affects a large portion of our country (and the world)?  This thing that also affects them negatively?  Why wouldn’t they deserve to have the tools to be able to have conversations that are important, to be in healthy and not harmful relationships with their BIPOC friends/neighbors/teachers/family and grow into adults who are equipped to not only understand racism and its impact, but also actively work to be anti-racist so that this can actually change???  So that when they DO make a mistake/hurt someone who is BIPOC (which they will), they can be open to apologizing, listening, and learning, rather than becoming paralyzed with defensiveness.

And, in response to “shouldn’t I teach them to see all people as the same or to not see color?”- that’s an easy answer.  You can’t, actually, because a) it’s not possible, kids start categorizing and differentiating between people almost immediately after they’re born (here’s a great article on that) and b) when you pretend that difference in color doesn’t exist, you are erasing people’s identity and lived experiences.

Ok, so, now on to the resources!  I have broken them up into categories (because, surprise, anti-racist parenting isn’t just one thing). There’s no particular order, so feel free to scroll through as it feels right. This will be an ever-evolving listBut this is a place to start.

A Place to Start: Anti-Racist Books + Articles (for our own work, not specifically parenting related but, of course, it’s all relevant)- this is NOT an exhaustive list, and if you just want to skip to the anti-parenting resources, feel free to move ahead… 

    1. A scaffolded list of anti-racist resources depending on what stage of anti-racism you’re in
      1. If you haven’t done it, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is a great place to start thinking about privilege.
    2. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  1. How to Be Anti Racist by Ibram X Kendi
  2. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  3. The Case for Reparations – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
  5. The New Jim Crow

A FEW Articles to Start with to Read on Anti-Racist Parenting:

  1. Children Are Not Colorblind – discusses developmental stages of children in regards to recognizing race/difference
  2. Ten Ways to be an Anti Racist Parent, Starting Right Now”- has several linked articles/books that are fantastic
  3. Ten Tips for Teaching & Talking to Kids About Race” – Another 10 tips for how to talk to kids about race, great info graphics
  4. Dear White Women by Rachel Cargle- a letter to white women where the author really breaks down racism and the role of white women in particular
  5. Teaching Young Children About Race– in particular, discusses parenting young children
  6. Your Kids are Learning About Race Right Now
  7. We Need More White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Race
  8. Making Non-White Friends
  9. Anti-racist, Rather than Inclusive, Parenting
  10. Five Things I Want My Kids to Know About Protesting – Talking to kids about protests

Anti-Racist Parenting Websites:

    1. Embrace Race, a great piece and site
    2. Great resources from PBS
    3. Teaching for Change
    4. Anti-racist education
    5. Consciouskids.com
    6. How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
    7. Mater Mea

 

  1. Talking About Race
  2. How to Teach Your Kids to Fight Hate – Guide by Specific Age
  3. Creating Democracy – Families for Racial Justice and Collective Liberation

For Adults: Anti-Racist Parenting/Relevant Books:

  1. Raising Anti Racist Kids: An Age by Age Guide by Rebekah Gienapp

Social Media to Follow:

  • General Anti-racism:
Instagram: 

@wokebrownfem

@nowhitesaviours

@theimtiredproject

@rachel.cargle

@advancementproject

@britthawthorne

@indyamoore

@wearyourvoice

@ckyourprivilege

@alokvmenon

@theunapologeticallybrownseries

@austinchanning

@theconsciouskid

@antiracismctr

@_nickyflash_

@heyqueenyoucute

@bellhoooks

@thenewjimcrow

@ibramxk

@roxannegay74

@taranaburke

@racismrecoverycenter

@leesareneehall

Twitter:

@clintsmithIII

@keeangayamahtta

@DrIbram

@MsPackyetti

@JBouie

@thearmchaircom

@RevJacquiLewis

@drchanequa

@ava

@YNPierce

@esglaude

@jemelehill

@_nickyflash_

@nhannahjones

@professorcrunk

@divafeminist

https://twitter.com/TaNehisiCoats

*Primarily from working document with a few added: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PrAq4iBNb4nVIcTsLcNlW8zjaQXBLkWayL8EaPlh0bc/preview

  • Social media specific to anti-racist parenting:
    • Instagram:
      • @britthawthorne
      • @theconsciouskid
      • @rachelcargle
      • @jodiepatterson
      • @blackmamasmatter
      • Fantastic script for how to talk to white kids about racism/police brutality

Podcasts/Talks for Adults About Anti-racist Parenting:

Podcasts for Kids About Anti-racism:

 

BOOKS FOR KIDS:

Childrens’ Books That Are Specifically Anti-Racist or Discuss History of Race in America:

To Start:

– Social Justice Books, in particular here is an article about how to select for anti-bias children’s books

– Curated book lists, broken down by categories such as “Cuba” or Civil Rights Teaching”

    1. Social Justice Books

For Young Kids/Babies:

For Older Kids: Elementary to Teen:

Children’s Books That Show Black and Brown Characters as the Main Characters or in a Positive Light:

Children’s Books/Media That Lifts Up Freedom Fighters (Including White Freedom Fighters):

Movies + Shows for Kids that Center Black and Brown Characters:

*** Watch shows/movies with your kids when you can, so you can discuss it with them.  Try to intentionally watch shows that center BIPOC.  But, even when you don’t, talk about the show/movie.  (For example, if you notice that all of the characters in a show or movie are white, you can bring curiosity into the experience by stating that, or wondering it outloud aka “Hmm, I wonder why all the characters in this show are white?” – it can open up some great discussions with your kiddos.)

Movies for Us To Watch About Parenting and Racism:

  1. When They See Us
  2. Four Little Girls
  3. 13th – an amazing documentary about why racism is insidious, systemic, and still relevant today
  4. Just Mercy
  5. The Central Park Five

Toys that Center Black and Brown Folks:

 

 

Where to Donate/Support/Action Items (Because we lead by example… talk about these actions with your kiddos)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tL9_huJWJ_iekHzK5PShI00u-C25w0jrExhpJpuNHII/edit

If you’re local to Asheville NC, BIPOC organizations/non profits: