All month long, I keep my eyes open for stories or articles that I think parents in mixed race families (or anyone, really) will appreciate – stories that touch on the intersection of race with kids or family life or parenting…or just get us thinking. Maybe it’s a piece of writing that opens our eyes a little bit and helps us to be better informed, more sensitive, more conscious about what race means and doesn’t mean and how to help our kids of color navigate the world.
Anyhoo, as I find these stories I email them to myself and file them away in a special little folder that I go to when I am ready to pull together a compilation post, like this one. And wow – for very obvious reasons, there has just been so much out there the last few weeks! So many people just thinking and wondering and critiquing, sharing how they feel and wondering how we move forward.
So let’s settle in – I have pulled together some favorite pieces and there are a lot. We’re gonna be here a while.
In the Wake of National Tragedies
- White Mothers of Black Sons are Terrified of Darren Wilson Too, Kera Bolonik at Dame Magazine
“We keep our eyes and ears wide open, and hope that we are striking that balance between instilling in (our son) confidence and a clear sense of who he is, of being cautious without being scared amid a terrifying climate, so that he will be well-equipped with the strength and wisdom to protect himself.”
I hear you, momma.
- I Don’t Know What To Do With Good White People, Brit Benet on Jezebel – This post really got me thinking: Am I concerned with trying to seem like a Good White Person? If so, how do I let go of that and just focus on being an ally without worrying about what others think of me? See if this post gets you thinking too.
“Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen good white people congratulate themselves for deleting racist friends or debating family members or performing small acts of kindness to Black people. Sometimes I think I’d prefer racist trolling to this grade of self-aggrandizement….What a privilege, to concern yourself with seeming good while the rest of us want to seem worthy of life.”
- Dear White Folks, Have A Seat: On Being in Solidarity With The #BlackLivesMatter Movement, by Britni on Fiending for Hope – An interesting piece. Definitely some things in here that I hadn’t thought about.
“What I’ve learned from being an activist is that it’s not my intentions that matter – it’s my impact. So even if I don’t mean to do something harmful, what matters at the end of the day is that I did something harmful. So, fellow white people, here’s a list of things that you can do (or NOT do) to be in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”
- What White People Need To Know, and Do, After Ferguson, by Sally Kohn at The Washington Post
“Privilege is like oxygen: You don’t realize it’s there until it’s gone. As white folks, we can’t know what it’s like to go through life without racial privilege because we literally haven’t.”
- Things I Don’t Mean When I Say #BlackLivesMatter, by Colleen Mitchell – Clearing up the (ridiculous) misinterpretations and assumptions some people have been making about #BlackLivesMatter.
“#2: Other lives don’t matter. It is as if there is some assumption that by saying specifically that black lives matter we somehow mean other lives don’t matter. Which is sort of illogical…Life matters. All life matters. I am discussing a particular aspect of that position and so I am saying that specifically in addressing racial injustice, I want to acknowlege that black lives matter. Make sense? Let me answer that for you. Yes, yes it does.”
- What I Want My Children To Know About Being White in America, a guest post by Annie Reneau on Mommy Means It
- Protest Is Exactly What We Need, by Rebecca Woolf on Girls Gone Child – I never would have thought of using Frozen as a tool for talking to kids about white privilege.
- Talking To My White Kids About Systematic Racism, by Galit Breen on These Little Waves
- I Speak Girl, by Kelly Wickham on Mocha Momma – This post is a little older, from September, but Kelly is a beautiful story teller and this particular story – about an afternoon spent with teenage girls and her interaction with a group of young black boys – touched me deeply when I read it. Sometimes the most everyday encounters say so much, if we are paying attention.
Raising Black Children
- I Taught My Black Kids Their Elite Upbringing Would Protect Them From Discrimination. I was Wrong, on The Washington Post – The author of this piece got a lot of flack for his perspective, but I can’t help thinking there are probably a lot of parents who share his assumptions – that black kids who are well-off and well educated are somehow immune to the effects of racism or at least protected somewhat. A few days later, I was reading a book by Beverly Tatum that cited research showing subtle bias against black people is actually most likely when a candidate for a job or college admissions is highly qualified or when the black person is in a superior position. Being accomplished doesn’t protect a person from racism, but the desire to believe it does is strong…because how then do we protect our children?
- Schools’ Discipline of Girls Differs by Race and Hue, on NYTimes.com – This is the first time I’ve seen the topic of disparate discipline for girls of color covered in the news. The research findings make me so angry, so I am reminding myself that getting these things out on the table – increasing awareness that there is a problem – is the first step toward change.
Perspectives on Adoption
- Transracial Adoption: Eating Humble Pie Without Dropping The Crumbs, by Rachel Garlinghouse at Portrait of an Adoption – This piece is great reminder, particularly to those of us raising kids of a different race, of just how much we need to seek out resources and relationships that will support our mixed race families!
- Adoption Tales from the Checkout Line, by Jill at Ripped Jeans & Bifocals – Jill offers clever, tongue-in cheek responses to “Dumb Adoption FAQ” that she has been asked while waiting in line at Target, as well as some general perspective on asking adoptive families all about their business.
- I Was Never Bothered By Questions About My Adoption, by Madeleine Melcher at Portrait of an Adoption
“There were birthdays when I wondered if someone out there was thinking of me, and adoption days when we celebrated the anniversary of becoming a family for always. And then there was every day in between. It is in those days – the many days in between – where a life is made, where memories are grown, where family is important. I was never bothered by questions about my adoption. It did not seem odd or rude for someone to ask me something. It was just my story. A story I don’t ever remember not knowing.”
Resources & Activities
- 14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014, on Colorlines – Some awesome role models to share with kids!
- A Quick, Easy, & Fun Way To Talk To Kids About Diversity, a guest post by Tracy Jackson on Bicultural Mama – An excuse to eat jelly beans and get kids thinking at the same time. Sounds good to me!
I realize there are a lot of white voices in this round-up of posts…that is something I am going to work on – making sure a more diverse set of voices is represented.
What posts resonated most with you? Have you read something great this month that others should check out? Share the link below!