Hello! My name is Inez. I am a mom, children’s pastor, digital creator and advocate for anti-racism. I run a podcast called Mocha Mamas where we lead conversations about race, culture, justice and social change.
I am super excited to be taking over today for Jenna. Jenna, I love your heart in muting yourself today and sharing your platform to address this important topic. Thank you so much. It is an honor to be doing this.
Jenna asked me if I would share with you some tips on how to talk to your kids about racism.
This is not an easy topic to talk about. Adults have a hard time discussing it but I wholeheartedly believe that if we start early, our kids can be the ones that bring about the change.
I’ve heard people say that racism starts in the home. I get the sentiment here but, really, it starts in the heart. As moms we are molding the hearts of our children but we cannot mold a heart to value something that we do not value ourselves.
So, my first tip is this: check your own heart. Root out the biases that you hold. We all have biases but we must challenge them. And this is a daily action. Do not assume that simply not being racist is enough. It’s not. You have to be anti-racist and in order to be anti-racist, you must challenge the mindsets that systems that keep racism alive and well. Educate yourself, listen and learn.
The next thing I encourage you to do as a mom is expose your children to people that do not look like them. This can be done in a variety of ways: buy books with a brown main character, buy your white child brown dolls, watch shows and movies with Black/brown centered main characters. Participate in multicultural events in your community. Attend a church that is ethnically diverse. Consider racial demographics when choosing your home, school, dance studio, etc. If you are not a person of color these may not be things that you naturally think about. Be intentional about seeking this out. Diversify your circle of friends and the influences your child has. We fear what we do not know. You may be unintentionally causing your child to fear people of color by not having them around. And so much of what we see going on in the world is a result of that. People fearing others because of the color of their skin.
Show love and compassion. This goes back to the heart issue, if it’s not in your own heart it’s heard to teach but we must model love and compassion to our children. We must show them that we need to love everyone.
Get involved in social causes. This doesn’t mean you have to take your kids out to a protest but maybe you will! It was not a protest but I took my son to a MLK march back in January. It was important to me, as he is Black but I saw a dad there with two little white boys and it almost moved me to tears. What a beautiful way to show your children that we are all equal and we should all care about equality and justice. There are so many ways that you can do this – watch documentaries, study civil rights and civil right leaders. Talk about current issues and ways that people are still not treated fairly. Always emphasizing that it is wrong. Talk to your children about loving all people. Educate them on Black History. Black History is American History. Teach them about people of all colors that have made important contributions to our nation.
Guard your family against racist people. Mama, it may be time to clean up your friends list or to have a heart to heart with your racist parents. If you want to raise anti-racist children you cannot raise them in an environment that tolerates racism.
The most important thing is honesty and a conscious decision to raise children that are anti-racist.
Follow me @inezbayardo. Also, if you want to further this conversation with me, join my Mocha Mamas Facebook group!