In this hour-long episode of Talking Race & Kids (recorded on June 26, 2018), Melissa Giraud and Andrew Grant-Thomas of EmbraceRace are joined by Dr. Daren Graves of Simmons College. His research lies at the intersection of critical race theory, racial identity development, and teacher education. We'll draw on his experience and insights to look at how race plays out in our schools and talk about what parents and teachers can do to push back against school push out - and all children of color succeed at school.
An edited transcript follows, starting with the framing conversation, and then to community Q&A further down the page.
Food, books and relationships with other mixed race, immigrant and/or minority families help us build our unique family story
“I wonder what color Baby Gabriel’s skin will be,” Matias, our six-year old son, mused out loud to our younger son, Tomas, as they sat on the front steps, hunkered over bowls of vanilla ice cream.
In the kitchen my hands stilled in the dishwater, curious where this conversation would lead.
In this hour-long episode of Talking Race & Kids (recorded on May 29, 2018), Melissa Giraud and Andrew Grant-Thomas of EmbraceRace are joined by Laura Wilson Phelan and Sangeeta Prasad of Kindred. Hear how Kindred works to mobilize hundreds of parents to engage each together across lines of race and class in the fight for equity in their schools. They share lessons and take questions/comments.
The video recording is glitchy but the content is on point. An edited transcript follows, starting with the framing conversation, and then to community Q&A further down the page.
Simmons College professor Daren Graves teaches teachers and works with Black boys in schools, and conducts research to determine best practices for schools educating students of color. Writer and interviewer Autumn Allen spoke to Dr. Graves. She mined his experience for ways in which parents, teachers and schools can help Black students, particularly Black boys, thrive. What follows are her broad questions and some of the many nuggets he offered in the conversation.
Why do you think so many Black boys are not doing well in schools today? What are the forces pushing them out?
There are a lot of different factors. A lot of it stems from, if we think of race and its intersectional identities as social constructs, the way we’ve constructed Black boys as anti-intellectual. This is important because unless we’re super aware and reflective of those social constructions, it creates a “common sense” for what’s going on.
"[S]chools are segregated because white people want them that way. ... We won't fix this problem until we really wrestle with that fact.”
In this hour-long episode of Talking Race & Kids (recorded on April 24, 2018), Melissa Giraud and Andrew Grant-Thomas of EmbraceRace are joined by Courtney Everts Mykytyn and Mindy Wilson of Integrated Schools. They are two white parents who have been actively wrestling with other white caregivers around the issue of school integration for some time. This one is deep, y'all. They share what they’ve learned, where they think the struggle is headed, and why you need to care.
The video recording is glitchy but the content is well worth it! An edited transcript follows, starting with the framing conversation, and then to community Q&A further down the page.
I am a white woman, married to a white partner, raising two white children, ages 5 and 3. For the past several years, I’ve followed the lead of organizations like EmbraceRace and Raising Race Conscious Children who are educating and empowering parents to ditch the “I don’t see race” approach to child rearing. Instead, I’ve learned to talk about race explicitly and often with my kids.
Research shows that children notice racial differences as early as infanthood. We also know that not speaking about race with young children does more harm than good. We live in a culture rooted in white supremacy, so when kids are left to make sense of race by themselves, they often develop biases their own parents may not share.
Because of his age, I’ve talked more openly with my 5 year old about the violence that accompanies racism. After Charlottesville, I shared what happened, albeit in vague terms, and asked my son if he had any ideas on how we could respond as a family. He thought for a moment, and said, “why don’t we buy 100 Black Lives Matter signs and hand them out to people walking down the street?”
“Nothing about us without us.”
You’ve probably heard the rallying cry and support the sentiment in principle. But for most children and teens, the practice is dramatically different, especially for young people who are poor, undocumented or in mixed-status families, LGBTQI, of color, or hold other marginalized identities. Happily, some organizations are lifting up youth voices, and it's crucial that we learn what they have to teach us.
This video features our conversation with Adriana Gonzalez and Ashley Naomi Rodriguez of Youth Funding Youth Ideas which happened on February 27th, 2018. Adriana and Ashley talk about some ways adult allies can increase youth voice and youth leadership, and share their model and best practices. Access the video above or read the speaker bios, edited transcript and slides that follow. Community Q & A starts towards the end of the transcript, HERE. Enjoy!
Most people considering bringing their children to see the ground-breaking movie Black Panther are concerned about exposing them to violence and profanity. Once I confirmed that, as my younger daughter argued, the level of violence and (mild) profanity was about “the same as Star Wars,” my primary concern with bringing my 8, 11, and 13-year-old daughters to see the movie shifted to where it often does as the parent of Black American Muslim girls. I wanted to know, which parts of their identities would be affirmed in Black Panther and which parts might be called into question?
The morning after James Earl Ray murdered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I celebrated his killing with another fourth-grade classmate at our elementary school in a suburb of Eastern Massachusetts. It was the first thing we did that morning before we went to homeroom.
Word of Dr. King’s murder had struck during the evening news the night before. Walter Cronkite announced it to the country as it was happening. My uncle and grandmother had come to visit from where they lived together nearby. We were saying our good-byes in the driveway when my older brother came running from the house. “Someone just shot Martin Luther King.”
“Oh great,” my father said. “This is gonna be trouble….” He and my uncle exchanged knowing looks.
Why my friend (let’s call him Timmy) and I were in the hallway rather than homeroom when school started the next morning, I can’t recall. But there we were, two 10-year-old white kids, in an all-white school, in an all-white town, arm in arm, skipping along as we chanted, “Martin Lootin’ Rootin’ Tootin’s Dead! Right! Martin Lootin’ Rootn’ Tootin’s Dead! Yeah!”
What if We Othered Your Child and You?
What if we surrounded you in a sea of blackness
And in an attempt to get to know you,
Peppered you with a barrage of questions and statements
That only served to undercut your value
In our eyes, if you fail our surprise
battery of quizzes and challenges to test your knowledge, your worth,
on issues deemed insignificant by you.
What if we told you you're the first white-skinned Caucasian we knew
and asked to run our hands through your straight hair of red hue?
Without regard for how our actions feel like an assault to you?
On your mind, your body, and Lord, help me, your spirit, too?
Our words leave your young ones off-balance, feeling out of place
Even in what used to feel like the safest space.