On a recent holiday weekend, I binge-watched Stranger Things and relished every throwback to the 1980s that the series pays homage to such as when we used to ride our bikes to friends’ homes, played Dungeons and Dragons for hours, listened to the Clash on our Sony Walkman, or rode our skateboards. For a Pakistani woman growing up in the 80s in a small New England college town, Stranger Things is more than just a walk down memory lane to a simpler time when there was a conspicuous absence of technology and today’s pervasive cultural anxiety. There was also a refreshing absence of turban-clad, villainous bearded men dressed in black, sporting machine guns, and shouting “Allahu Akbar!” The bad guy, thankfully, was not a Muslim terrorist in the series, but a scary other worldly monster.
An EmbraceRace community conversation
Many parents want their children to embrace racial diversity and multiculturalism. Research shows that people who grow up in diverse neighborhoods and attend diverse schools express less racial prejudice and are more supportive of multiculturalism. However, neighborhood segregation means that many U.S. families live in racially homogenous neighborhoods and many children go to school mostly with same-race kids. In this session we discuss the importance of being color-conscious (rather than "not seeing color") and offer some ideas about how to foster inclusive attitudes in children - of all colors - who live and attend school in these homogenous environments.
In this hour-long conversation, first, Professor Vittrup presented what she’s learned and discussed the implications for raising kids. Next, EmbraceRace Co-founders, Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud, facilitated the Q & A with the community. Watch the video and find the tipsheet (linked above), read the transcript (below).
Because I am African American raising children of color, and because of my professional experience in social justice, equity and inclusion work, 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.
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.
On June 30th, EmbraceRace posted an article by a gay black man entitled “Why I’m Giving Up on ‘Allies’.” The author, Ernest Allen, writes this: “What I have realized is that too many allies conduct themselves as service providers: They show up only when there’s an immediate need, they require me to explain the problem again and again, and they may or may not actually fix anything. In other words, allies are more trouble than they’re worth.”
This piece, submitted anonymously, was prompted by Allen’s reflections.
I'm a traveler. I get on flights and, like most of us who have traveled on planes before, tune out the flight attendants as they give us the spiel on flight safety. (Though I glance up every now and then and smile because I want them to feel respected — kinda how I stay on the phone with the Democratic telemarketers long enough to say “thank you so much for calling — I can’t contribute today — have a wonderful day!”)
Experts answer your questions.
Listen to the full conversation or read an edited transcript below. EmbraceRace co-founders, Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud, brought questions submitted by you all — the EmbraceRace community — to child psychologist Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith and educator Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman. The resources recommended throughout this conversation are listed in full at the bottom of the transcript.
A white father, a multiracial son, and a new football tradition.
Being an upstander can be hard, especially if the people you are standing up to happen to be your dearest relatives and when standing up means standing alone.
For fifty-two seasons, Adam loved NFL football. For fifty-two seasons it was more than a game, it was a way of life. Through the Washington Redskins football franchise, he and his family shared and shed tears of joy, pain and agony.
Why many Muslims, including me, will be fasting on 9/11
This year a mysterious confluence of time overlaps the season of Hajj with the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
Hajj is a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), in Saudi Arabia, that Muslims are required to undertake once in their lifetime, if they are able to. Pilgrims leave their worldly affairs behind, don a simple white cloth, and partake in rituals that retrace the footsteps of Abraham. The journey commemorates sacrifice, striving, fellowship to humanity, our connection and eventual return to God.
Experts in conversation with parents and educators
This very first EmbraceRace live conversation happened in July of 2016 in the immediate aftermath of the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and 5 Dallas police officers. We convened by phone and over 700 people joined the call. For that conversation, EmbraceRace co-founders Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud frame and moderate this discussion between child psychologist Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, educator Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, and a group of parents, teachers, and other caregivers concerned about black and brown children. Listen to the full conversation or read an edited transcript below.