Raising Antiracist Children-Ibram Kendi’s Insights

Even the most well-intentioned people cannot help but internalize racist thoughts, ideas and patterns. That’s why it is essential for parents and educators to raise young ones with the intention of being “anti-racist.”

Scholar Ibram Kendi has much to offer on the subject. Here’s one nugget:

“My understanding, when parents desire for their kids to be not racist, they typically do not talk to their kids about race. They avoid conversations about race or even explaining the racial inequities and dynamics in their community as a result. Typically, those kids are taught to be racist by society. And so, by contrast, when you’re essentially raising a kid to be anti-racist, you’re deliberately encouraging them to talk about race and racism. You’re deliberately teaching them that all the racial groups are equals. You’re deliberately showing them, yes, there are different colors and there are different cultures, and we should value them all equally.”

How Can Parents Make Their Kids Understand How To Be Anti-Racist? NPR’s Noel King talks to children’s author Renee Watson and anti-racism scholar Ibram Kendi. (7 min listen)

Kendi just published a brilliant board book outlining some key steps to being anti-racist. Feast your eyes on Ashley Lukashevsky’s artwork!

Purchase a copy of Antiracist Baby here. Consider gifting a copy to your local school, community center or public library. 

For more information, check out  Kendi’s Ted Talk: “The difference between being ‘not racist’ and antiracist.” (51 min)

All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter

Photo credit: Sarah Willis

“It’s not to say that other lives don’t matter, but saying that the centering of trauma and violence and oppressive, discriminatory policies on us, that it creates a circumstance where we are considered second-class citizens in the world and people do believe that our lives don’t matter.”-Black Lives Matter Portland activist Teressa Raiford 

Full article here: Black Lives Matter leaders say ‘All Lives Matter’ label misses the point

“If a house is burning down, you’re obviously going to focus on putting out the fire instead of watering a house that’s just fine. In this analogy, black lives are the burning house, and everyone else is living much more comfortably in the house that isn’t burning down. Clearly, one is a bigger problem.” German Lopez in Vox article

No. Stop. That’s Not Fair. An Activist Chant for Children

In our preschool, we have come to use a chant in response to something that is not fair. When we know an action is hurtful, wrong or oppressive, we say, “No. Stop. That’s not fair.”  An action accompanies each word to help children embody each declaration.

“No.” (Shake head side-to-side).

“Stop.”  (Palm  out with five fingers spread out).

“That’s not fair.” (Hands on hips).

Using this chant is one concrete way we address the 3rd and 4th goals of Anti-Bias Education

Anti-Bias Education Goals:

  1. Identity– Nurture children’s self-awareness, family pride and identity.
  2. Justice– Assist children to recognize what is fair and unfair.
  3. Diversity–Nourish children’s comfort and joy related to human diversity.
  4. Activism– Support children to stand up for themselves and others. 

To learn more read: Understanding Anti-Bias Education: Bringing the Four Core Goals to Every Facet of Your Curriculum

Thanks to HFP parents for sharing clips of your child practicing the chant at home. Thanks to Sara Ziniewicz Michelman for creating the video. 

To Protect Black Boys We Must Fight Racism and Police Brutality

Photo credit: Jerome Braggs

White “silence is killing our children. Your silence is killing our husbands. Your silence is killing our brothers. Your silence is killing our daughters. Your silence is killing our nephews. Your silence is killing our nieces. Your silence is killing US!!!!”-  Danielle Slaugher of Mamademics.  Read full article: OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND: WHY WHITE MOMS NEED TO CARE ABOUT MURDERED BLACK CHILDREN

Peaceful Protest Video Clips of Current Uprising to Share With Your Children

Let’s invite young children to learn about and participate in the current situation is safe and developmentally appropriate ways. Tens of thousands of people have been rising up across the country and the world, demanding an end to the unfair and hurtful treatment of Black and Brown people. The many inhumane systems that keep racism in place are not new, but the speaking out and acting out in such force is fresh, exciting and hopeful. This is a time to honor and talk about with your children. Here are some examples of peaceful protests in support of change to share with your child. 

Peaceful Protests

1.Extended moments of silence in Minneapolis  & then chanting George Floyd (1 min video)

2 Protesters lay across Portland’s Burnside Bridge for nine minutes in memory of George Floyd (30 sec video)

3. Young child chanting “No justice. No peace.” in a march. (10 sec video)

4.Wynta-Amor Rogers.Leading a call and response (41 sec) (Thanks to activist Saun King for posting)

5. New York Times Bird’s Eye View of Protests Across the U.S. & World

Preview and decide if you’d like to watch and discuss with your child:

6.. Let’s Take a Breath (Van Jones compilation of protest footage culminating with preacher listing Black folks killed at the hands of police.  4 min 20 sec put to Andra Day’s inspiring anthem “Rise Up”).