Backstory: Yesterday I ranted (on my instagram) after learning that people were partaking in what is called the George Floyd challenge. People were posting photos of them putting their knee in another person’s neck. It has been announced that various social media outlets are removing the posts and handling the users. No matter what, the challenge and people posting are proof of a bigger issue. The realization that racism starts at home, and parents/guardians play a critical role in ending racism.
I didn’t get the privilege, like some of my classmates or friends, to just have the basic talks on traditional parental worry concepts – drugs and safe sex. I didn’t get that privilege because racism ran so deep within our state, our schools, and societal everyday lives. So my parents and other family members talked with us about racism and subtle micro-aggressions at an early age. Talks to explain why store clerks were following us, talks to soothe my pain of being called names, and talks to increase my self-worth since so many people didn’t like our race. As I got older the talks discussed what places I could and couldn’t go, talks explaining the challenges my ancestors experienced to get a good education, explanations on why some of my educators treated me differently, or gentle reminders on why I needed to be best that I could be.
I never thought that I would have to partake in similar talks with my children (looking back I was naive). A small glimmer of hope existed for more people desired inclusion and I had witnessed so many firsts for African-Americans and people of color. I knew that I would have to instill confidence and self-wroth about my children’s ethnicity, provide additional educational discussions on our history (since schools don’t tell the full story). But never did I think I would need to worry or talk to my children about not trusting a police officer or for them to be cautious where they are.
Man was I so wrong – our society’s hate and disregard for African-Americans/Blacks has resurfaced with a vengeance. It is so deeply embedded like that nasty odor you can’t get rid of. Not only do we observe the hatred in police brutality, the disproportioned equity within school systems, or the subtle micro-aggressions in the workplace and retail systems. But my children are experiencing it from their own peers and educators. They are reminded daily via news, actions, and words that certain people truly hate their race.
And it all boils down to one thing – Racism starts at home.
Humans don’t come out of the womb hating a person because of their ethnicity. It is taught and observed. So we the parents of generation Z need to break the curse of racism – at home. We as parents/guardians have to talk with our children (at an early age), provide appropriate educational resources to our children, monitor our own actions and words, intervene and question negative actions/lessons in their education, showing compassion despite differences, and correct them when they steer down the wrong path. This isn’t the time to shelter – be honest and let your children know what is really happening (being mindful of their age). Parents of 2020 NEED to lead the change, NEED to halt this societal thorn, and most importantly NEED to mold our future generations.