Unfortunately, talking about racism to your kids is something that you’ll need to bring up as a parent, especially in the state we’re living in now. Growing up in Long Island with all these white kids I definitely felt left out, not being able to connect with them. Did I feel that there was racism towards me? Never. I mentioned before that growing up on Long Island made me hate being latina. Thankfully, those feelings went away and I’ve never been prouder.
Racism today towards me
I was never a victim of racism up until Senor Donald Duck decided to grace us with his bullshit. The first time was last year in Pennsylvania when we went to visit the boyfriend’s family and we had a white elderly man and his 30-something son (or whoever) stare at me the whole time during breakfast. I glanced right at them to see if I’d get a smirk and nothing. I was pissed and sure it could’ve been nothing, but I highly doubt it. The next incident was earlier this year when a white man was crossing the street when he wasn’t suppose to and got mad because we had the right of way– he called me the “n” word. I was so appalled I couldn’t believe it happened, much less to me.
Growing up on Long Island I was very secluded from the real world, sure I knew there was racism, but it never happened to me. Now with all that’s going on in the world and having kids of my own who are half-Irish and half-latino, how do I explain to them that there’s going to be people in this world who do not like them because they’re Hispanic? Their hatred is based purely off of race and not character. I’m supposed to assure them that everything is going to be ok? That they’ll be safe…no matter what?
How to talk yo your kids about racism
I didn’t think I’d have to have a talk with my 5-year-old about this stuff yet, but it’s necessary. And the thing on everyone’s mind is how do you speak to them about it? There’s always an opportunity. I remember when Z bought up that her school friend had black skin and that was an opportunity for me to agree that he didn’t look like her, but he was still a sweet boy and a good friend. Or the time she wanted to pick only the white Ken doll! I kept trying to push the different kind of “Ken’s” and she was not having it. I had to pump the brakes and let her know the other ones who were of color were also pretty neat. I had to remind her she wasn’t just Irish, but she was hispanic and getting say a hispanic doll was going to be just as great.
You can’t be afraid to bring the topic up and I’ve learned that speaking about it isn’t going to make them a racist and start noticing things they haven’t noticed already. We never spoke about color in our home– we refer to people as boy or girl, so I was taken aback when she noticed that not everyone has her skin color, but that doesn’t make her a racist.
My last suggestion is to be a role-model. Kids aren’t just born and popped out to have hatred in their heart– unless they’re the anti-christ. Our kids model what they see and hear from their parents. Ziana see’s how we like to help people– giving used clothes/shoes to others who need them, or buy food for a homeless person or even the time she donated her hair to help sick kids or how we talk to anyone and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
It completely sucked when we had to show Ziana the interview between the Latina Telemundo reporter being called the “n” word by a KKK Clan member. It was heart-wrenching, but she knew it didn’t matter what anyone looked like on the outside whether they had one eye, no legs, dark skin or “orange” skin as she said.
Sure, there is a limit as to how much they should be exposed and every family is different. Know what works for your family and get the conversation started. They get it to a point and every day is a lesson to be learned. Don’t delay this hard topic because it will come up. Embrace your culture and others around them.
What are your tips?