The fact that you’re reading this article means that you – like many of us – may be contemplating how you can progress from being only an inclusive parent to an antiracist one, and how to be an antiracist role model to your children.
What does being antiracist mean? In his book, How To Be an Antiracist, Dr. Ibrahim X. Kendi explains it as follows:
“What’s the problem with being ‘not racist?’ It is a claim that signifies neutrality: ‘I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.’ But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.'”
Please take time to consider the following comments, some of which you may well have used yourself. We know we’ve done so in the past. If you have, too, please don’t let guilt stop you from reading.
“All Lives Matter”
Anyone who answers with “All Lives Matter” when they hear “Black Lives Matter” is wrong on so many levels. It is impossible for all lives to matter until Black lives matter, too.
Think of a house on fire which the town’s only fire engine crew is trying to save from the flames. The house owner three houses further down the road shouts to the firefighters: “My house is also important, come and spray water on it!”, even though that house is not burning at the moment.
This is equivalent to saying “All Lives Matter.” It does not acknowledge that some people think Black lives are less valuable than others.
“What about …”
Just like All Lives Matter, whataboutism is another deflection tactic. Of course, there are plenty of other injustices and problems in the world, but our Black friends have fought this battle for more than 400 hundred years. This is not the time to discuss other issues because doing so does not solve the current issues Blacks are facing.
“I have always been inclusive; I have no part in this”
You may have raised your children to not discriminate based on colour, creed, etc. Perhaps you have chosen books and toys that represent diversity for your kids. You may even have gone out of your way to find children of all colours for your kid to play and make friends with.
Is that enough? No. There’s much more that needs to be done. Racism encompasses more than just our individual actions; it is woven into the fabric of our social institutions. To eradicate racism we all need to be part of the solution. It is not enough to be neutral; you must be actively antiracist.
So what does this mean, to be antiracist? It is not enough to not laugh at a racist joke. We must challenge the person who tells it. If you are part of all-white organisations, you must challenge the board and ask why there are no Black people. When you come across an injustice, you must speak up.
“I am not Black, but I am not privileged either”
In the context of Black Lives Matter, “privilege” has nothing to do with your social, economic or any other status. It doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard. It just means the color of your skin isn’t one of the things that has made it harder.
Privilege includes historical, economic, and political structures that affect what schools we attend, where we live, what job opportunities we have, and more. The list is endless.
You benefit from privileges that your Black friends are excluded from. Ask yourself “Would you want to change places and be a Black person?” If you hesitate or say no, then you’re aware of your privilege. While white privilege is the one most often mentioned, this privilege also applies to other non-Black skin tones.
“I don’t see colour”
To be able to recognize the inequalities in our society, we must see colour. People of Colour do not have the choice to not see their colour. Stopping at inclusivity, saying that “We are all equal,” denies the systematic and institutionalised racism that Black people have suffered from for centuries.
Some people may say this phrase to mean, “I am not racist,” but these are not equivalent in their meanings and implications. Also, colour is part of what makes us unique! Colour is beautiful. Colour represents heritage and culture. Why would we wish not to see it?
“I feel powerless. There is nothing I can do about racism”
Everyone has the power to listen, learn, and change, starting with ourselves. Being an ally doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. It means that you are willing to learn. It means that you are not just empathizing with someone else’s struggle; you are taking it on as your own. When we as parents change, our kids change.
“I will ask my Black friend to educate me”
Do not ask your Black friends to explain things for you, point you in the right direction, or supply you with resources. They have enough on their plates. It is hard to overestimate the emotional trauma that many have experienced and continue to experience. Do the work yourself. It is not their job to educate you. There is plenty of information available.
“My kids are too young to talk about race”
At the tender age of three months, babies form a preference for face colour. You can talk about race at any age with your kids.
Did you realise that claiming that your children are too young to understand race is another manifestation of the privileges you enjoy?
“This makes me uncomfortable”
We know the feeling, because we’re on the same learning journey with you. You continued reading. You are listening. You are ready to learn. Learning happens when we leave our comfort zone.
Until we achieve a lasting change, we must be comfortable with our discomfort, and it should not prevent us from acting against racism.
“I feel guilty”
Again, we’re there with you. This feeling of guilt is a recognition that something we have said or not said, done or not done, was not the right thing to do.
We should not allow our guilt to stop us from taking action.
“What if I say or do something wrong?”
We all make mistakes. As long as your motives are aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, and you are willing to learn from your mistakes, don’t worry.
We need to risk mistakes to keep the momentum going.
“I stand by my Black Sisters and Brothers”
Do not call a Black person “brother” or “sister” unless you have been invited to do so. The use of these words claims familiarity and intimacy which you shouldn’t suggest if they are non-existent. While we should show solidarity in words and deeds, we should not overcompensate or generalize.
Stand by the Black community but be genuinely you in your support.
“I want to learn.”
Now click on the links in this Antiracist Allyship Starter Pack and delve deeper. Together we are stronger.
“What can I do?”
Start with educating yourself, then volunteer for local events, support Black-owned businesses, donate to organizations like Equal Justice Initiative or your local or national Black Lives Matter organization, and get involved at your child’s school on these issues.
Become an ally.
Multicultural Kid Blogs Statement on Racism
As an organization, Multicultural Kid Blogs is inspired by the work of our members and communities to fight against racism. We stand with you. We learn from you, and we offer what resources and support we can in our shared journey to build a better world for our children.
Multicultural Kid Blogs is committed to doing the work ourselves in addition to encouraging our readers. Over the past several months we have been working to shift, on our blog and on social media, to promoting antiracism instead of just inclusivity. We also recognized that our membership and Board did not reflect the diversity we have long espoused. We are actively working to make Multicultural Kid Blogs a safe space for Black members, in part by diversifying our Board.
We’d love your feedback! How can we continue to improve? What resources do you need to support you in your journey? What actions are you taking? Let us know in the comments.
Multicultural Kid Blogs Mission Statement
The mission of Multicultural Kid Blogs is to inspire and support families, caregivers, educators, and community members raising the next generation of global citizens.
We do so by creating educational and parenting content that celebrates diversity in all its forms while recognizing our common concerns and dreams for our children. We continuously work on identifying unconscious biases in our activities. We do not tolerate any form of prejudice, racism, or oppression and actively promote social justice, inclusion, and equity, in order to build a world where all children can thrive.
Written by Rita Rosenback with support of the Multicultural Kids Blogs Board Members
Multicultural Kids Blogs Board Members
Leanna Guillen Mora (Founder)
Maria Wen Adcock
Diana Limongi Gabriele
Monica Olivera Hazelton
Stephanie H. Meade
Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki
Linda Lopez Stone
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