We have found ourselves in another precarious place in history in the United States of America. We are again at a place in history where hatred, racism, bigotry, and intolerance are running rampant in this country. There have been countless stories in the news about people of color being referred to using racial slurs by politicians who took an oath to serve all people, as well as a rise in those that call themselves white supremacist or white nationalists. All of this hatred, irrational fear of people that are different, and bigotry is being fueled by the man in the Office of President and others in his cabinet and the Republican Party.
How did we get back in this place in history?, you ask. I say it is because we are not having honest conversations about race with ourselves or our children.
To parents of African-American children, talk to your children about their ancestors. Talk to them about our ancestors who were kings and queens in Africa before they were enslaved by Europeans. Talk to them about our ancestors who were creators and inventors of advanced civilizations. And yes, tell them about how our ancestors were an enslaved people. But don’t just stop there. Tell your children, that our ancestors were brave, courageous, and never gave up on the idea of freedom. Tell them our ancestors were intelligent, proud, and determined people that paved the way with blood and tears so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. Tell them that our ancestors were educators, lawyers, doctors, inventors, politicians, activists, and so much more. Tell them about Marcus Garvey, Black Wall Street, Langston Hughes and all of the black people that made advancements in so many of the areas of life we now enjoy.
Most of all, tell them to love themselves and have faith in God, and to learn to appreciate and respect other cultures and races.
To parents of White-American children, talk to your children about the truth of your ancestors and the harm and mistreatment they inflicted on others, for no other reason than the color of their skin or that their culture was different. Tell your children they do not have the right to belittle or intimidate another person because they come from a race different from their own. Talk to your children honestly about the privileges they have because they are white. Tell them that their white skin does not make them better than anyone else. Teach your children about other races and cultures, and tell them not to make fun of customs that are different from their own. Encourage your children to have friends from all walks of life. Do not feed your children lies or hated about other races. If you are Christian, teach your children to love all of their brothers and sisters, no matter the color of their skin.
Parents, in order to have these conversations with your children, you have to get real and honest with yourself about race and any areas of racism in your own behaviors. If we want this country to thrive and be a “great” country, then we have to respect one another and get rid of the racism and the antiquated and hateful ideas we have about races that are different from our own.
As we gather around the dinner table, let’s start having real conversations about race and show the world how tolerant, open, and “great” a country we can be.