I have been really looking forward to putting together this month’s round-up – there have just been so many great posts over the past few weeks that I cannot wait to share! And, sometimes I don’t – I usually can’t resist sharing on Facebook as I find posts and articles that strike a chord with me in some way or another. Still here they are, all in one place, just for you!
Race & Family
- We Wish The White Mom With Black Sperm Had Said This – The story of the moms suing their sperm bank for accidentally giving them the wrong sperm was all over the news for a short minute this fall and people had a lot to say about it (myself included). I really liked this letter from Aya de Leon on My Brown Baby because it honors the frustration that many black people and parents raising children of color felt in response to the lawsuit without being hostile toward the moms in question. I think this piece will resonate with many parents raising black children – it did with me. Read Aya’s post.
- Don’t Say You Love My Biracial Kids’ Color – This post from Kim-Thien offers some thoughts on why well-meaning comments about biracial kids’ color are problematic and shares the difficulty parents can have putting on our “activist” capes in everyday encounters (raising my hand over here). Read Kim’s post at I’m Not The Nanny.
- Coming Out As Biracial – For me personally, this was one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read about the experience of being biracial. Having two boys who share the same lineage but have very different physical appearances (one very light, one clearly African-American), I sometimes wonder how their experiences as biracial individuals might differ. Stephanie shares what is like for her being a biracial person who many people see as white and explores what it means.
- “Why Didn’t You Adopt A White Baby?” and Other Questions I Wish People Would Stop Asking – A great list from a mom in a multi-racial adoptive family of things she wishes people would stop asking and her responses. (As an aside, let’s all talk with our own kids – adopted or not – about adoption, so that they don’t ask or say insensitive things when they meet adoptive kids!) Read Rachel Garlinghouse’s list on Babble.
“And the biracial experience? Can’t say I understand that entirely, either. Depends on what we look like, on what we’re mixed with, on how we identify…Biracial people are largely invisible as a group; we get tossed into whatever category we resemble most. But lots of us don’t want to quietly ‘Circle One.’ Some things are not black and white. Like human beings.” Read more of Stephanie Georgopolus’ post, which is part of the Human Parts collection on Medium.
- From Yours Truly – Check out this month’s posts,”Pumpkin Picking and A Little Lesson On Diversity“ and “Thoughts on the Value of School Diversity.” The latter is a sister-piece to a guest post I wrote for Multicultural Kid Blogs, “Choosing A School For Kids of Color: 5 Things To Consider.”
Policies to Protect Black & Brown Youth
As a parent raising two kids of color, hearing about the increased risk for black youth to come in contact with law enforcement and to be treated with force and the higher likelihood of school suspension and discipline – much of which is driven by implicit racial bias – is really discouraging. So it is really encouraging to learn about policies and programs that might help address the issue of disproportionate minority contact. These are programs to keep our eyes on and perhaps advocate for in our own communities!
- California Becomes First In The Nation to Ban Suspensions for Willful Defiance – Okay, so what does this have to do with race? Well, research shows that children of color are more likely to be suspended and expelled than their white peers and “willful defiance” in particular is disproportionately used as a rationale for suspension of minority students.The only downside to the new law is that it is limited to kindergarten through grade 3. Still, it is a step in the right direction and offers one idea for tackling the problem of disproportionate discipline! Read about it on LA School Report.
- Schools Must Give Poor and Minority Students Equal Access To Resources – The Obama administration is taking a stand on the issue of resource equity in education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights notified schools that they can be investigated for failing to ensure equal access to everything from AP classes to extracurriculars to qualified teachers to adequate facilities and technology. There is some debate about the impact of this new guidance from the feds, but at least the issue is on the table and the ball is getting rolling.
“‘While I can tell you as a former district administrator that nobody sat around in district offices plotting how to make sure that privileged students get more than their fair share of our best resources, the fact that too few sit around plotting how to undo that very pattern is deeply troubling,’ said Sonja Brookins Santelises, the organization’s vice-president of K-12 policy and practice…’At some point, unintentional becomes intentional, and we are long past that point.” Read more at Education Weeks.
- Beyond Dialogue: What We Can Do About Race & The Police – This article by Joshua Dubois talks about the various ways implicit racial bias manifests itself in the day-to-day and what can be done about. Dubois writes: “For public policy purposes, the real goal isn’t getting rid of bias; it is finding a way to protect people from bias’ damage.” The Las Vegas Police Department has found a way to do this by implementing a “no hands-on” policy that has helped to reduce the use of force and officer-involved shootings. Sure, this doesn’t eliminate racial bias, but until that happens we need a combination of efforts to reduce racial bias and policies that protect people where it still exists. Read this article on the National Journal.
- Dear Vogue, et al.: Can We Get Off My Booty, Please? – Sometimes a blog post opens my eyes to something I never thought about before, like this one from Denene Milner. When Vogue magazine declared that big butts are now “in,” Denene had a lot to say about it. Read Denene’s post on My Brown Baby. (I think I share something from Denene in every.single.round-up. Are you following her site yet?!)
- Twitter’s Tripping Over Raven Simone’s Colorless Comment – I’m of the perspective that my boys should – and will – be allowed to determine how they identify themselves racially. That is their right and their choice will be influenced by how they see themselves. But this post definitely got me thinking about how those individual decisions can both be influenced by societal views on race and have an influence on society. While not everyone will agree with Nordette’s strongly-worded position, her post is informative and will get readers thinking critically about racial identification. Read Nordette’s thoughts on Whose Shoes Are These Anyway?