Talking with Your Kids about Racism, Injustice, and the Need for Change

What happened to George Floyd is horrific.

As my family and I watched the aftermath and the juxtaposition between peace and unrest it forced us, as a family, to talk in a deeper way than we might have otherwise.

As a parent it is important to me to help my children be better people than I am. I’d like to think that I’m a good person, but know there is always room for growth. And while I’d like to think I’ve always been open-minded and self-aware, the truth is that came with time. I’m trying to help ensure my kids are open-minded and self-aware from the get go.

Based on this, it is why we’ve talked about racism, inequality, and injustice (for those of different color, religions, gender identity, sexual orientation, gun violence, etc.) as a family, and why our recent opportunity to read together has helped us have these conversations.

It can be incredibly frustrating when the injustices are so blatant, and you raise your voice (participating in peaceful protests, write to your govt officials, and vote) and nothing seems to change.

I’m reminded that change being made is often met with resistance. It’s hard. It isn’t easy. And if you really want change, you have to keep raising your voice, and demanding it. Even if it seems exhausting and infuriating and disappointing in how long it can take.

As parents, we play a role in this change. In how we make our kids aware of the injustices that still exist today, how we have empathy for others, appreciate diversity, and how we have to use the tools that we have (voice, and actions) to be the change.

How are you talking to your child about what’s going on? How are you helping your child be the change?

2 thoughts on “Talking with Your Kids about Racism, Injustice, and the Need for Change

  1. I’m white; my husband is Black. Our 10yo is good about asking us questions, and we’re good about engaging with him to get him to the answers he’s seeking.

    We’re trying to be sparing about what we’re saying with our 6yo, providing answers when asked. Still, some of what he’s said the last couple days has made both me and my husband aware the impact of errant sentences spoken about the news can have.

    Yesterday, our 6yo asked if I had to protect my husband from other white people while we were dating. :/

    • Kids are more aware of what’s going on than we think, right? Your son being concerned that your husband might need protection is heartbreaking to hear, though I have friends who have shared similar stories. As parents, I believe we have the opportunity (se duty?) to stop the cycle of injustice and arm our kids with being able to accept and appreciate those who are different (race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, size, shape, etc.), championing true equality for all (access to education, healthcare, opportunities to thrive), and show we’re better together than apart. Being able to talk to your child honestly (even we you don’t have all the answers), I’ve found, opens the conversation for change.

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