Parenting is Activism

This was the comment made by a woman on a thread I saw this morning, and it struck a cord with me.

Growing up, one ever talked to me about race. So, as most children do, I filled in the blanks.

You didn’t go to East Stuart because it was dangerous. It must be because there are so many black people, therefore black people must be dangerous.

There wasn’t a Black kid in my private school until the 8th grade (and even then, only one). It must be because they don’t belong here.

These are just some of the many implicit biases I have had to undo - and I discover more daily. I am not immune just because I notice racism - I notice it because I recognize I am not immune.

You can decide for yourself if these revelations make me a horrible person. More than likely, they’ll get excused as minor blemishes against an otherwise exemplary record. It’s one of the many privileges given me as a straight, married, moderately successful white woman - but with privilege comes responsibility.

I have discussions frequently and often with my children about race. I don’t want them filling in the blanks and growing up perpetuating the system. I want to call on other White moms to do the same.

I’m offering myself up as an example. A real person, you know and trust, revealing these pieces of me that aren’t comfortable. You know me to be authentic and vulnerable, so here’s my piece. It could blow up wildly in my face. I’m willing to take that risk.

There are things I do on a near daily basis that didn’t seem like a big deal before I read this woman’s comment this morning. I hope that by sharing my journey, my fellow white parents will be able to join in and change the climate of this country.

What we don’t change remains. I think what keeps us from making any progress (in anything) is refusing/failing to see the problem. And then we pass it along, four hundred years and counting.

Scrolling my feed, I continue to see the same general lines: “Why does this keep happening?” Answer: Because we’re doing nothing to stop it.

Unless we are willing to get uncomfortable and examine the prejudicial stereotypes we hold and the lessons we teach our children - of black people, certainly, but also all minorities, sexual preferences, gender identities, etc. - we won’t be able to fix anything. There is an entire system to dismantle here.

These things exist, and we can’t see them unless we open our eyes. I think there are a great deal of people out there who want things to change. So let’s change it.

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