Dear White Moms,
You are my friends. You are my sisters.
We are the same in more ways than we are different, but there are a few things that I need you to know.
I have three black boys. They are the sweetest and most amazing humans I’ve ever met. They are incredibly intelligent, creative, artistic, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, friendly, and respectful. These aren’t just the characteristics of my three black boys, but of black boys all over America.
My heart aches when I think of anyone not being kind to my children. I so desperately want them to be treated fairly, and to be able to live their normal lives in peace. I want them to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. I want them to reach every single dream they have and to live safe lives where no one tries to bring harm to them because of the color of their skin.
I need your help.
I so desperately need you to have conversations with your children about racism. Racism isn’t always blatantly expressed. It can be very passive and subtle through messages conveyed in our culture. These types of messages have been communicated throughout our entire lives, with their true intent often going unnoticed.
As parents, you can completely change this through intentional conversations.
You see… I grew up in a predominately white area and attended a small conservative Christian School. The amount of racism and ignorance I dealt with from white privileged children was tremendous. I learned to be very passive in my friendships and to not make anyone feel uncomfortable. As my peers spoke, I could hear their parents’ voices loudly above their own. I could hear the messages from dining room tables and living rooms, and could see values they were being passed down. They hadn’t interacted with other black children; I was the one and only real friend they ever had.
I was called horrible names; no one was allowed to date me. This was not because they didn’t like me, but because of their parents saying “NO”. I wasn’t even allowed in one of my close friend’s house until her parents felt I was “safe.” My stories could go on and on.
I grew up not seeing many black actors in TV or movies unless they were supporting roles or slave movies. The only black people I saw on the news were associated with reports that dehumanized and villainized.
I grew up in a generation that has still remained pretty racially separated. We can’t afford to hand that down to our kids.
Talk to them about racism. I hate the conversations I have to have with my boys about it. They are extremely heartbreaking. It’s difficult to explain to them reasons some people won’t like them, think they are scary, or even try to harm them because of the color of their skin.
Please, talk to your kids, so together we can make the world better for all of our children.