White Parents, Do Better.

white parents

With all that’s going on in the world right now, parenting looks different than it did just a few months ago. Whether it’s discussing the coronavirus pandemic, or having conversations about race and privilege, it can be hard to know where to start.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my time on this earth, it’s that hard conversations are always worth it. And that’s just what one Twitter user is begging white parents to do right now: have the hard conversations.

Dr. Mathangi Subramanian took to Twitter last year to share an experience she had at the park with her daughter just days prior. This week—amidst the turmoil and call for change around our country, her poignant words are being shared again across social media for all the right reasons.

“Still processing this, but two days ago, two blonde girls at the playground told my daughter she couldn’t play with them because she doesn’t have blonde hair,” Mathangi wrote in a now-viral Twitter thread. “The girls’ parents did not intervene. You better believe I did.”

Mathangi says she and her daughter, who is just three years old, discussed the incident on their walk home. But as a woman of color with a black daughter, this wasn’t their first rodeo. At only three years old, Mathangi’s daughter has already been subject to racism, exclusion, and hate because of the color of her skin.

“It wasn’t our first time,” Mathangi said of the playground incident. “The first time was when she was two, and she came home from preschool saying that her skin was black, and we talked about how dark skin is beautiful.”

“Here is the point,” she continued, “Parents of color talk about race with our kids all the time. We have no choice. It’s there, everywhere, and we can’t avoid it.”

Mathangi says that she calmly told the blonde kids at the playground that they can’t exclude people while their parents watched. But the problem is, she shouldn’t have had to.

“Those parents should have intervened,” she writes. “They should’ve said something. My daughter was watching. Their daughters were watching. White parents: TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT RACE. I know it’s uncomfortable. But the rest of us do it all the time. We need you to do it too.”

And friends, she’s right. As white parents, we are not forced to have conversations with our kids about the color of their skin. The world around us looks a lot like us. In my lifetime as a white woman, I’ve never had to be aware of the color of my skin or of my blonde hair.

But we have to do better. If our fellow parents and friends are having these conversations with their kids out of necessity, we also need to be. It can be awkward, you may not have the right words, and you’ll probably mess up a time or two. But isn’t that the case with any part of parenting?

We have a responsibility—especially as believers—to educate ourselves and our children about the world around us. That includes parts of the world that look different from our own reality.

Mathangi closed her compelling post with one last comment for anyone who brushed her experience off as something she “imagined.”

“I am a dark-skinned woman who has been on this planet for almost 40 years. I know racism when I see it. And I definitely know it when it happens to my kid.”

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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of ForEveryMom.com! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!