In May 2020, my privilege as a middle-class white woman suddenly became crystal clear. I am embarrassed that I had been asleep to the issues surrounding racialized communities my entire life. At that moment, I promised to do better and start my education on raising an anti-racist family.
You can read my initial realization, Am I Racist?, Here.
How To Raise An Anti-Racist Family
We can only create an anti-racist family if we are willing to unpack our bias and be okay with getting it wrong while we learn and unlearn. Our intent and impact can be very different during this learning process. Let’s promise to take any feedback with an open and curious heart and continue towards our goal of creating lasting change at home.
The following is my attempt to amplify marginalized voices and share some beginner stages and resources to support you in raising an anti-racist family. I hope you find it helpful.
Learn Your Blind Spots
Often as white people, we think if we aren’t actively discriminating or inflicting emotional or physical pain, we couldn’t possibly be racist. What we don’t realize is there is a general tone from white people that this is our world and others live in it.
Our blind spots can show up in small ways, like referring to a peach-coloured crayon as “skin colour,” and in large ways, like sleeping soundly at night knowing our white teenage sons are safe because the colour of their skin isn’t perceived as threatening.
Diversify Your Media Feeds
To raise an Anti-Racist family we need to ensure we’re not just having our beliefs and demographics mirrored back to us. Search for creators from different backgrounds and learn about their struggles, joy and traditions.
Here are some creators to connect with:
“Raising kids to be empathetic, critical thinkers, embracing justice & activism”
Author of, “Raising Anti-Racist Children“
“Sharing reflections and resources for the tenderhearted committed to social change.”
Evita Turquiose Robinson
“Tells and amplifies stories about BIPOC communities.”
The Conscious Kid
“Supports families and educators in fostering healthy racial identity development and disrupting racism and bias.”
Black Lives Matter
Fighting for Freedom, Liberation and Justice
Federation of Black Canadians
The Federation of Black Canadians seeks to discuss the opportunities, contributions, and challenges that exist for people of African descent nationally in Canada.
Diversify the Selection of Books In Your Home
Kids need to read books featuring children that don’t look like them. Social stories are an excellent way to introduce your children to other cultures. It’s essential to have a selection of books that cover the issues, joys and everyday rituals of people from other cultures.
As you’re reading with your child, discuss the characters’ differences. Then discuss what life might be like for them.
Engage curiously, and don’t act as if noticing someone’s difference is bad. If you don’t know the answer to something, search for it together.
The key here is to remind your children we are all different, which is what makes the world so wonderful. Ask them what they learn from each of the characters in their books.
Here are some books to add to your home library:
Parker Looks Up, by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry
Barack, by Jonah Winter
Every Little Thing, based on Three Little Birds by Bob Marley, Adapted by Cedella Marley
Sulwe, by Lupita Nyongo
I Am Not A Number, by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer
When I was Eight, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Listening With My Heart, by Gabi Garcia
I Am Emmanuel, by Kelly Armstrong
The Face Painter’s Mirror, Pamela Melon
Finding Om, by Rashmi Bismark
All Are Welcome, by Alexandra Penfold
Frida Kahlo, by Ma Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Check out this extensive list of diverse children’s books that Consciouskid.org has created.
Diversify The Toys in Your Home
Even the shelves at toy stores are biased toward white children. As parents, we must make conscious choices to expose our children to other cultures if we hope to raise an anti-racist family.
Continue Educating Yourself
In school, most of us weren’t taught anything about Black history in Canada. Admitting what you don’t know is uncomfortable, but the only way to create lasting change is to get radically honest and self-reflect.
While learning, try not to get defensive when discussing race. These conversations can be uncomfortable and getting called out will feel terrible. Don’t let that stop your learning journey.
Here are some resources to continue your learning
How did Black History Month Come to Be?
About Black History Month in Canada
Government of Canada- About Black History Month
What is the difference between Black Shirt Day and Black Excellence Day?
In this article, you will also find links to purchase t-shirts supporting Black Excellence Day and Black Shirt Day.
Click here to read
Black History in Canada
Click here to learn more.
What White Parents Get Wrong When Discussing Race
Click here to learn how to speak to your kids about race.
Anti-Racism You May Be Doing It Wrong, Here’s Why
Click here to read more
They Were Raised to Be Colour-blind, but Now More White Parents Are Learning To Talk About Race
Click here to learn more about discussing race in your family.
Weapon of Lass Destruction: The Tears of White Women, by Black Girl in Maine
Click here to read this article
Talk to your kids about their heritage.
Explain that we all have rich and diverse histories that make us unique, which should be celebrated. We tend to shush our children when they ask questions about people we don’t have the answers to.
White guilt is a powerful force. By shushing our kids, we mistakenly lead them to believe something is wrong with the other person. If you don’t know the answer, say it and help them find it.
“We want to show everyone that race is important because our racial differences make each of us special.”
Progress Not Perfection
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿, 𝘄𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘀𝘄𝗲𝗿𝘀. 𝗪𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝘂𝘀𝗵 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺.
If you have a resource or know of a creator that should be included in this article, please send me an email at Christine@the-inbetween.ca
What tips or resources have you found helpful in raising an anti-racist family?
About the Author
Christine lives on the West Coast of Canada with her husband, their three kids and approximately one million plant babies.
She is in the exploratory “In-Between” phase of rediscovering herself after being a stay-at-home mom for the last decade. She loves all adventures on the water or in the forest and connecting with other open-hearted, lifelong learners.