By Brian Love
This picture says a lot. If you didn’t know better. You would think this is a color picture from a Klan rally taken in the 1950s or 1960s. No. It was taken at last week’s Charlottesville riots. This is a picture of people fighting for their privilege.
So, how do we explain this to our kids? Kids who are easily influenced by the visuals they see on television or the internet.
First, we have to tell the truth. And not just parts of the truth. Our kids need to understand the good, the bad and the ugly of racism and how it hurts all Americans.
My two teenagers have struggled with this issue since last November. As a parent, you hate to see your children worried, confused and fearful. And as a parent, I can only explain it by giving them all the facts and explain how it affects their reality.
I explained to them that no matter what shade of a Black person you are, you are going to be challenged by racism. You have to look them in the face and fight them mentally or physically if they assault you. It depends on the situation. Life is not black and white, but some folks’ views are.
Some people feel it is OK that children of color attend schools that don’t perform as well as their white counterparts. Some feel it is OK that urban school districts may be underfunded compared to suburban school districts. And some people may think it is OK for a child of color in the suburbs to be intimidated or bullied. I could go on.
But one thing Charlottesville shows us is that all white people don’t support racism. Some are willing to fight alongside people of color to make sure everyone has a piece of the American dream. Which includes having access to a great education. And some are willing to die, so people can have that piece of the dream. As I wrote in one of my last blogs, Blacks and Whites See Race Differently…
You can only truly understand what race feels like if you have been a target of racism. I try to empower my children not to be a target.
Chalkbeat’s Julie Topping shared thoughts and conversations from around the nation of some of the difficult talks parents are having with their kids around Charlottesville and racism.