Written By: Kendall A. and Lucia B.
(Originally Posted: June 2, 2020)
The last post focused specifically on peoples of the Black diaspora uniting and coming together under the banner of being “Black in America.” The focus of this article is on the need for support from White allies in creating tangible change. Allies have a voice within their communities and positions of power that can affect institutional changes at the governmental level. Allies can speak to their peer groups in a way that may be heard or better received. When allies raise children who are anti-racist, it helps to create a more equitable world for the generations to come. The work of allies is equally as important as is the coming together of communities of color.
Change happens on the personal, interpersonal, and institutional levels. Doing work on the personal level means undertaking the task of assessing oneself as an individual. What does this look like in action? Taking a deep look into one’s heart and mind as to the biases that are present and reflecting on how these were developed. We all have to be honest with ourselves in considering what prejudices we may have developed throughout our lifetimes; what assumptions we make about others based on race, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic class; and how these perceptions have shaped the ways in which we engage with others who are different from us. Once we have an understanding of our own areas of growth, we can then develop a plan in addressing them. This plan moves a person into the interpersonal level of change.
Interpersonal change implies work between two or more people. Engaging in work around addressing anti-racism at the interpersonal level involves making real connections with people who are different from us. This looks like: actively reaching out to communities of color and making friends there; reading or watching documentaries about people from other cultures and backgrounds, or opening ourselves up to new experiences with food, language, music, or travel.
Change at the institutional level means abolishing policies that keep that people (in this case, People of Color in particular) oppressed and from reaching their fullest potential. These policies are at the federal, state, and local government levels, as well as within a company or educational institution’s hierarchy. This is why voting is so important, not just in the presidential elections, but also in other areas of local and federal government. Allies can make a lot changes in these areas by being candidate options who are mindful of serving all people, as well as voting for candidates who value equity and equality.
Below are a few additional ways and resources for White families to utilize in affecting change and using privilege for good:
1) https://www.embracerace.org/ is a great resource for families who want to “raise a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race”
2) 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice is an article full of action steps white people can take in using their privilege to stand up against police brutality
3) “Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk About Race“
4) “Here’s How W. Kamau Bell Talks About Race with His Kids“
5) “Raising Race Conscious Children“
6) Talking Race With Young Children
7) How to talk to kids about race and racism, according to experts
8) Resources for Talking about Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids
9) The Ultimate 2018 List of Diverse Books For Children
10) No White Saviors: Kids Books About Black Women in US History
11) Children’s Books By Brilliant Black Women: #OwnVoices Authors & Illustrators
12) Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim
13) Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
14) Lovely by Jess Hong
15) Sugarplum Ballerinas by Whoopi Goldberg
Some Interesting Studies:
14) Three-month-olds, but not newborns, prefer own-race faces
15) Handbook of Race, Racism and the Developing Child
16) How Kids Learn Prejudice
17) Even Babies Discriminate: A Natureshock Excerpt
We would like to thank Pretty Good for providing many of the resources conducted in our research for this post.