Bearing witness to the insults and injuries of race.
I've got plenty of the usual shit-gets-tiresome Black-male stories to tell. The police cars that shadowed me as I walked across campus at night on Chicago’s South Side. The White male MA student who demanded that a departmental administrator explain how I got into the Political Science PhD program when he didn’t. The elderly White people who assumed I was the elevator operator. The tightly-clutched purses, waaay too many to count, accompanied by a lips-pressed determination to avoid eye contact with me.
To varying degrees, each of those incidents shook me at the time. There have been many. Just last week my mother reminded me about the time two White women chose to walk down the middle of the street, literally, rather than pass me on the sidewalk at night. It was my first year of college, I was 18. You were so hurt, she says.
An interview with Dr. Lisa Gutierrez Wang.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a 2012 executive order that enabled undocumented people who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 to register for temporary protection from deportation and for a work permit, renewable every two years.
On Monday, President Trump announced via Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the program has been discontinued. DACA protections will not be withdrawn for any recipient, but after March they will not be renewed unless Congress takes legislative action.
We at EmbraceRace are very aware that this decision will lead to tremendous anxiety for many children. We turned to San Francisco’s Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) for advice about how parents and caregivers can help children and youth navigate this issue. I sat down with Dr. Lisa Gutierrez Wang, CYW’s Director of Clinical Programs, to get her wisdom.
Wanting to Give the World to My Children (Or, How It Felt to Send My Black Son and Daughter Abroad This Summer)
When I was nervous about sending my oldest son, Rory, to preschool, I came across a quotation, attributed to writer, Elizabeth Stone, that captured a feeling I’d had since becoming a mother but hadn’t been able to articulate: “Making the decision to have a child — it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Her words acutely described the vulnerability I felt in loving another person so fiercely that I made bargains with the universe about his safety and well-being: “Throw anything at me. I can handle anything that comes my way — except losing this child or having something terrible happen to him.” This was the sort-of-prayer, or exercise in magical thinking, that I indulged in as a young mother determined to protect Rory and guide him safely and whole through his life and into adulthood.
“Don’t worry, pretty lady. I’ll make sure to use a good, strong lock to keep the niggers out.”
He smiled. I blinked. Fifteen years ago, I was moving into my third-floor condo in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. I’d hired a neighborhood locksmith to re-key the locks. The place was the size of a postage stamp but it was all mine and it had an extraordinary view. Below me was a lush courtyard where weddings took place. If I stood on my tiptoes, carefully leaned over the wooden dish rack with mismatched dishes and looked out my tiny kitchen window, I could see the Mississippi River.
As the locksmith worked in the open doorway, the trilling chords of the calliope from a steamboat clung to the cold river air and crossed the threshold, drifting inside, chilling the room.
Enjoy this hour-long conversation between EmbraceRace and the founders of Kitaab World, Gauri Manglik and Sadaf Siddique, recorded on August 22nd, 2017. Anyone advising, raising, mentoring kids to be resilient, inclusive, informed and active social justice advocates will appreciate the resources they're developed - we do!
Gauri and Sadaf started KitaabWorld to provide a platform for parents, teachers and librarians to get access to multicultural children's books in the US, and to make diverse books more mainstream. They have focused mainly but not exclusively on books featuring characters of South Asian descent and/or South Asian cultures and religious traditions.
A mom recounts the experience of counter-protesting
This piece was written by Patty Nourse Culbertson, who was in Charlottesville as a nonviolent resistor to Unite The Right. It is powerful. The only amendments to what she wrote are some added subheadings and paragraph breaks, and minor edits for the sake of clarity.
Patty says, “I posted this in response to some criticism of our town on a wonderful post that Dan Rather wrote” on Facebook. She then posted her response to her FB page, and a mutual friend shared it this morning. In less than 9 hours it had been shared 117 times. Multiply that out and it’s getting a lot of views, fast
Because of my work in social justice, equity and inclusion many people believe that my children have an advanced, even adult-like understanding of these complex social issues.
No. My children understand these issues the way a seven and four-year-old would
(Almost) the Only Brown People at the Reunion: Raising Kids of Color in a Predominantly White Extended Family
A few years ago, some of my children started noting that when we attend my father’s family reunions they are “the only brown people there,” and that’s almost true.
My dad is the eldest of thirteen siblings in a family of French Canadian heritage hailing from northern Vermont. Two of my thirty-seven surviving first-cousins have partial Puerto Rican heritage. Another cousin has a Latina partner, and they have a baby girl. And, two other kids in my children’s generation self-identify as multiracial with a quarter-Black heritage, though they are nearly always perceived as White due to their physical appearance.
Why we must, where to begin
EmbraceRace is about building a strong and nourishing community of practice for parents, guardians, teachers and other caregivers who want to help raise a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race.
In this online event, Andrew (Grant-Thomas) and I, co-parents and co-founders of EmbraceRace, talk about the Big Picture of race in the United States that led us to launch the community. We also share the goals we derived from that Big Picture and describe some of the work, both current and upcoming, we hope will help us all move toward those goals. And the best part — then we get feedback and questions from participants like you who are building this community with us.
The need to thrive in toxic times
On June 19th, I was looking for local activities or celebrations that could introduce my daughters to Juneteenth, the occasion on which Texans learned of the Emancipation Proclamation two years after it was decreed. While browsing my Facebook feed, I instead came across the news story about Charleena Lyles, a black woman who was shot by police inside her own home in front of her children after calling the police because she believed her house was being broken into.