Event Review: "Talking with Our Children about Race"

On March 20th Green Lake Elementary School hosted an event called “Talking with Our Children about Race,” led by Seattle-based author and activist Sharon Chang. Chang led the event in a workshop style, in which parents talked with each other in small groups in response to specific prompts.

The key takeaways included:

  1. Parents should start by assessing their own knowledge about issues of race. Can you define race? Racism? Racial Hierarchy?
  2. White parents who choose not to discuss race with their kids are exercising white privilege. Parents of color have no choice but to talk about race with their children.
  3. Combine discussions about race with figuring out something you can do together and then doing it. Examples included supporting black-owned businesses, being intentional about directing kids toward books featuring children of color, showing a commitment to inclusion with a visual like a yard sign, and engaging your community in activism.
  4. Do something--take a stand when you witness injustice. 

Setting up an accountability system is also good practice, such as agreeing with another parent that you’ll do something (e.g., have a conversation and/or reading a book with your child about race and equity) by a specific date and then checking in. Chang left us with a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “It's not the violence of the few that scares me, it's the silence of the many.”

Please note that we'll be having a book club discussion about Chang's book, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World on Thursday May 3. More information to follow.

For more information, check out Chang’s website and other resources listed below.
Sharon H. Chang
Raising Race Conscious Children
Embrace Race: Raising a Brave Generation
Teaching for Change
25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students


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