How to Encourage Racial Equality at Home (5 completely doable suggestions)
I think I would be missing an opportunity if I did not take this moment to talk on the subject of racial equality. Given the state that our nation is in right now, it seems that the time is right. But what to say? There are so many different facets of this issue. I imagine that when people look at me they think I probably have the perfect perspective on this issue. I mean, look at my beautiful family.
It’s a beautiful sea of browns and whites and in-betweens. And we’ve added more since this picture was taken three years ago. More of each color and two more on the way. And though I feel so privileged to have grown up in such a colorful family, I have truthfully been far removed from the issue of racial equality.
I never had to defend a friend to my family. My parents had already fought and won that fight. I have always felt relatively comfortable (though shy) around people of all colors because my skin color never seemed to be an issue. And only on a very rare occasion have I felt any different than those around me because of my skin color. Maybe because I’m a girl. Maybe because I have soft curls instead of kinky ones. Maybe because I married a white man. Maybe because I’m clueless and in my own world most of the time.
But I’ve realized in the past few weeks that I cannot keep going on as before, oblivious to the struggles around me. I need to act proactively. And since so much time in my life right now is at home, with my children, I need to start there. I want them to be better prepared than I feel I am. Ready to face this issue even now, in there own child ways.
And so I give you a list. A short one, but a completely doable one. For any family. Of any race or mix of races.
How to Encourage Racial Equality in Your Own Home (5 completely doable suggestions)
1. Talk and Pray
Start the conversation early. Start it now. But obviously talk on a level that they can understand. For young kids, talk about how we see lots of different colors of skin around us. You can use this watercolor activity as a jumping off point. But then also talk about how some people treat others badly because their skin color is different and how that is wrong, especially in light of the fact that we are all beautiful creations of the Lord’s. For older kids, ask how they have seen racism, because they probably have…at school, at the park, on movies. And talk about the appropriate reactions to racism. And then pray. Please do pray. Pray with your children, so they can learn the appropriate way to deal with big social issues like this. Pray for healing for those who have been affected by racism. Pray for repentance and true reconciliation from those who have be the giver of racism. Pray that love will conquer all.
2. Look at Your Toys and Books
Do have a multicultural home? Do have baby dolls of different color? Do you have books about characters of different races? If not, make it so. This seems so simple, but the things that your kids play with and read for enjoyment will ingrain themselves in their hearts and minds. So make sure that they are being ingrained with a rainbow of skin tones.
Here are a list of some of favorite books about people of color that I have actually read and recommend:
And here are some great lists to find others:
3. Listen to Music
There are so many stereotypes surrounding music. But it’s a medium that can be enjoyed by ears of all races. But as parents, we sometimes need to give our kids a chance to explore beyond what we are comfortable with. Maybe country is not your thing; let your kids try it out. Give rap and hip-hop a chance if you haven’t yet exposed your kids to it. Try Hawaiian. Try techno. Try hard metal. Music might just be a way your kid, or you, can connect with someone that you may not share the same color skin with. Don’t sell yourself or your kids short by not even giving this easy-in a chance.
Some of our favorite or our friend’s favorite Christian artists of varying genres:
You can also check out NGen Radio for some other great artists.
4. Make Friends
Think of your closest friends. Are they all the same color as you? Think of your kids’ friends. Do they match? If so, it’s time to make some new friends. Invite a family over for dinner. If you pick them just because they have a different color, great! I won’t tell them. But I bet you’ll have a wonderful time, learning more than you realized. It’s okay to make yourself a little uncomfortable in the name of love.
5. Lead By Example
Show your kids how to combat racial inequality with kindness. Look at that man of color in the eyes and wish him a good morning. Refuse to let your children mock someone else with a “funny” accent. Create opportunities that allow you to learn more about different countries and cultures, and even subcultures in our own cities and then go there. Don’t learn from a distance; actually immerse yourself. Try new ethnic foods. Show them that you embrace all colors with your actions.
So what do you think? Think you can tackle this list? Have things to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts and especially if you have any suggestions to add to the book or music lists.