As a child, I don’t remember there ever being a moment when I was looking at a book and had to search for a character who looked like me. I never had to. All the little girls in my books were white. I could see my reflection in all of them.
My daughter is two. She excitedly exclaims “Look momma! She looks like me!” when she sees a curly-haired brown skinned girl looking back at her. Even though we purposefully have books that represent a diverse group of children, she still notices that her reflection is not on every page. She still grows excited when she sees a face like hers looking back at her.
But my increasing fear is that their future classmates never discuss race with their own families.
Their classmate who has never seen mom and dad have friends outside of their race is the one who becomes uncomfortable or fearful when my child sits nearby.
Their classmate who has never had their parents take them to apark with a diverse group of kids playing is the one who doesn’t know you can (and should) find friend based on common interests rather than common features.
Their classmate who has never heard their parents explain how to recognize and overcome personal prejudice against another group of people is the one who doesn’t know that prejudice is something to repent of rather than hide behind.
Their classmates who have never heard their parents lament the loss of life due to injustice or racism is the one who doesn’t know that justice is a responsibility and a burden they too should bear.
My children’s future classmates may not be raised in homes that outright hate their ethnicity, but they may be raised in homes that never acknowledge their equality.
To my white brothers and sisters, I beg you, please start making race a regular conversation in your home. Please have the age appropriate heart-breaking conversations with your sons and daughters about Ahmaud Arbery. About Trayvon Martin. About Atatiana Jefferson. About Botham Jean… About the countless names that I have not listed.
Racism is empowered through silence. Will you start the conversation?
About Holly's Blog
Holly loves to write, and you'll find her blog covers all different topics!