#BlackLivesMatter has risen to prominence again in the past weeks as protests spread beyond the USA to the world. A positive shift is happening as anti-racism is taking hold in privileged communities. This is a challenging subject and one that can be difficult to address with your family.
I know that I—a middle-aged, middle class, white Canadian—don’t talk to my family about it enough. As a society, we’ve shifted beyond the need to simply not be racist ourselves to recognizing the need to be actively anti-racist. This isn’t a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.
As a Canadian, I can’t know the extent of injustices and systematic issues plaguing the United States. I don’t live in that system and can only tell you from afar that it will take years and years of hard work to unravel the complex web of policies, laws, and mindsets that have led America to this point.
Canada isn’t perfect.
We have significant issues of our own, including racism against black Canadians. I know after speaking to some of my American friends that there is a perception that outside of the weather, Canada is a wonderful place. While there is some truth to that, we have serious challenges around race and inequality here as well.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people have long been mistreated and racism against these peoples is still prevalent to this day. Canada also shares the shame of the #MeToo movement and systematic inequality against women.
Those issues are important but this is a pivotal moment for Black America. The #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to shine a light on this long standing crisis. Immediate intervention and proudly vocal support of the community, the nation, and the world at large is needed now.
This photo made the rounds on Twitter recently (shared here by @aishatyler who was been posting a lot of news about the protests) and it sums up the situation;
She is me. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/DNdWUaZBhk— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) June 5, 2020
There’s enough challenges to last a lifetime. But they won’t solve themselves. I believe that one of the key areas is educating ourselves and our children. That’s a lifelong process.
Here are some resources that I’ve found helpful to start and continue to educate and discuss these issues within my family about race, discrimination, and what we have to do about it.
When Elmo’s dad has a better take on the protests than most media outlets: “What we are seeing is people saying enough is enough. They want to end racism.” pic.twitter.com/JjPdkkusRO— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 6, 2020
- CNN and Sesame Street aired a town hall, “Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism", which framed racism and current events in a way that was approachable to children and families
- Since 1969, Sesame Street has produced material for families and children that can help tackle difficult subjects head on
- Achievement First Schools has published a list of various resources including 5 books for kids that explore the issues of race and racism in our society
- Kaitlin Popielarz, PhD shared the “Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup” which includes some fantastic blogs, tools, craft, and other resources for talking to kids about racism…including this NPR + Sesame Street podcast episode
- The Waterloo Library here in Ontario created two reading lists; one for adults, the other for kids. Both contain works about race and excellent works by black authors
- This Twitter thread 🧵 by Karina Yar Glaser has 100 children’s books by black authors. While not all directly tackle racism, they can because they help explain a perspective and cultural that your children might not experience
More resources links, this time courtesy of the local school board;
- Talking to kids about discrimination from the American Psychological Association
- How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism from Parent Toolkit
- Talking to kids about race by National Geographic
- Anti-Racism for Kids: An Age-by-Age Guide to Fighting Hate from Parents.com
If you want to take more direct action, this page has links to some key #BlackLivesMatter information.