Years ago, back when we first brought my daughter home from the hospital, all swaddled and tiny, I remember thinking what every parent probably thinks: “I can’t wait until she’s old enough for me to tell her all about racism!”
What a fool I was! I should’ve been looking forward to talking to her about racism AND sexism.
As an adult, I understand that my skin, class, and gender give me a leg up in the world; that racism is a system—a cultural ill—as much as it’s any random individual’s lazy reliance on hurtful stereotypes. When I was in elementary school, I didn’t know much of anything about racism beyond “prejudice is bad” and “Don’t use The Racist Word We Don’t Use”. I also knew a lot of other racist words, but didn’t really get that they were racist or that I “Wasn’t Supposed To Use Them”. That’s mostly because I didn’t actually know what racism was. All boiled down, I thought it meant slavery, sitting at the back of the bus, and being mean to a person because of their skin color. Full stop. Continue reading Talking About Racism With the Kids!