Teaching Cultural Compassion
Teaching Cultural Compassion in an era of righteous anger
You might notice that much of my work is about raising awareness of picture books featuring children of color. The main purpose of my work is to raise children who see the humanity of all of their neighbors--and so eventually we have adults who see all people that way, too. If the police officers involved in the latest killing of an African-American man would have seen him as truly human, the kind of force they used would not have been excusable in their minds. Humans just don't treat other humans that way.
I am not a psychologist and I am not a parenting expert. But what I can offer in this time are thoughts from the people who are and thoughts from community leaders of color. Here are some suggestions about how to talk to your children in this time:
EmbraceRace : Embrace Race was started by parents truly trying to answer this question. Since they began, they have offered dozens of webinars (all now accessible on their website) of experts from all parenting-related professions - as well as good conversation among parents of children of color. Please visit their site and look at their resources. They are authentic in everything they do and truly want to help other parents.
Another list of books and resources for parents compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein can be found here.
Teaching Tolerance : A subgroup of the Southern Poverty Law Center has produced this booklet which includes various suggested techniques for different age groups. They also have various other resources for parents and for teachers.
Raising White Kids author Dr. Jennifer Harvey was recently interviewed on NPR. If you are a white parent trying to figure out how to talk to YOUR kids about what's going on, she has a lot to offer about this discussion. Full interview available here.
Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely were interviewed by the TODAY show and had some wonderful things to say. You can see that video here.
The TODAY show also has featured Ibram X. Kendi on his book Antiracist Baby. Click here for that video.
CNN released this article with even more resources for having this conversation with each age group.
Again, if your children are at home and just need to see kind faces and see smart, funny, adult people of color who care about them and write books for them, I'll remind you that you can find a lot of those authors reading their own books here. I hope that you share these videos with your children and that just a little more screen time is ok.
An Episcopal Christian Educator, Wendy Claire Barrie has these tips for talking to your kids about racism.
Sometimes we also need to discuss politics and what exactly is going on. Here's a resource from PBS Kids to help with that conversation.
From the United Methodist Church, a guide on helping kids with stress at this time.
I commend all parents who are even attempting to have this conversation with your children. It truly needs to be had. I will continue to be here for any support or book finding you might need. Together, we can teach our children to love their neighbors--no matter what they look like--and we can stop the cycle of racism.
PS, Keep coming back, I'm adding more resources as I hear about them!!