Back in 2015, I was on a camping trip in the Catskills with some new friends. My partner and I had just moved to New York from LA, and were trying to scratch the camping itch. We were the only people of color in our party, and what seemed like the entire campsite. This is not a new phenomenon for us, as avid campers, so we just did our thing. Frito Boats!
As folks do, we were drinking around the campfire, talking about all sorts of topics. Somehow, we found our way into a conversation about white privilege and racism. I don’t remember who brought it up (probably me) but as it happens, I found myself doing a lot of explaining to our group of white folks.
Our guests for this conversation were the three child and family psychologists who collaborated to write the children's book, "Something Happened in Our Town": A Child's Story About Racial Injustice. Published by the American Psychological Association's Magination press, the book follows a White family and a Black family as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man. The book includes many resources for parents and educators including child-friendly definitions, sample dialogues, and discussion guides.
In this conversation, authors Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins (whose name is misspelled in the opening video slide, sorry Marietta!) and Ann Hazzard present excerpts from the book and discuss how parents and caregivers can spark conversations about racial injustice and child empowerment with young children. And of course they take questions from the EmbraceRace community, people like you! Below, you'll find an edited transcript of the conversation - the community Q&A starts half way through - followed by a list of resources shared in the chat and then by our special guest bios.
In the four years since the Michael Brown shooting, the St. Louis region has seen seasons of protest as well as many initiatives focused on advancing regional racial equity. Against this backdrop we take a closer look at two initiatives from the region that operating at the intersection of children, families, and the push for racial equity. Andrew and Melissa of EmbraceRace speak with Dr. Kira Hudson Banks who started the video series Raising Equity to make research and scholarship on race accessible for parents, teachers and individuals to support their intentional interactions and interventions with children on matters of equity. We also speak with Laura Horwitz and Adelaide Lancaster of We Stories, an organization that focuses explicitly on the education and activation of (mostly white) parents who have historically been missing from regional racial-equity efforts.
This conversation happened on July 24th, 2018. Watch the (sorry! very glitchy) video and check out the related tip sheets from our guests below. An edited transcript follows, starting with the framing conversation, and then to community Q&A further down the page.
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!