Please, Talk to Your Kids About Race #SaySomething

Holding my husband's hand

Today, I’m asking you to talk to your children about race.

This week has been tough for our country.

Every morning this week, I’ve woken up to news of violence. More black men killed by police officers: Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.  This morning was news of Dallas police officers being shot down during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest.

My longtime readers know that I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana–the same town where Alton Sterling was killed. I still have family and friends who live there. My husband does too.

We made a conscious decision not to raise our children in Louisiana for a myriad of reasons. We chose the DC area because we wanted our kids to be surrounded by diversity and culture. I didn’t want people to stare at them and ask what color their daddy was–at a young age at that.

I wanted a chance to teach them to be proud of who they are.

I wanted a chance to teach them to love their brown skin and their beautiful curly hair.

I wanted a chance to teach them how loved they are by so many different people.

A chance to teach them all this before they encountered their first racist comment. I knew that my chances of doing all these things while living in Louisiana were slim. I hoped that living in DC would give me more time.

Silly selfie with kids

I wanted to give my kids a chance to be kids. I didn’t want them to deal with the racism my husband and I grew up with in the South.

When Alton Sterling was killed, the bubble I created for me and my family burst. My black husband and my black children are not safe.  Every evening this week, I anxiously wait to hear my husband’s keys in our front door. Then I know he’s safe. Or at least that he’s home with me. I worry that when my kids are old enough to go out on their own, they might be hurt just because of their brown skin.

Our country has so much work to do to create a change for the better. Right now the world feels like it’s falling apart. But you can do something.

I implore you to please, talk to your children about race.

Talk to your nieces, nephews, cousins, students–everyone. Teach them how our skin color matters. Teach them our country’s sordid history with race. Tell them how we can learn from our mistakes.

Those of us with brown skin shouldn’t be the only ones teaching our kids about race. Learning about each other’s differences teaches compassion and empathy for others. This is why I’m so committed to sharing diverse books on this site.

Start the conversation nowDon’t wait until another black person is killed.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some age appropriate resources on discussing race with your family:

4 Comments

  1. Heidi BK Sloss July 8, 2016
  2. Gina July 8, 2016
    • Thien-Kim Lam July 8, 2016
  3. Amanda Magee July 11, 2016