For white families who want to know what actions can be taken right now to interrupt the systematic violence and racism that has been traumatizing and devastating our black and brown friends, families, and communities. It is good to take time to stay in our own grief, to let the weight of this grief take us deeper into what so many have carried for so long while watching us incredulously - hoping we will come together to systematically use our power and do our part and speak up - legislatively, publicly, and in and with all of our circles.
One collective action involves our children - yes, even so so little, making regular conversation about the way the world has been designed and how and what needs to change.
Below is a really great read with practical steps for conversations about racism with little ones. Our little ones take in everything we take in in how our social environments are designed (buildings, resources, people, status, labels) and they come to a range of conclusions. They have tons of questions.
Whatever they are taking in and whatever conclusions they are forming, starting these conversations young, helping them process what they are thinking and why, who or what environmental factors are planting what ideas is essential.
Owning and sharing our own learning and unlearning processes is important as well. For example, when and how did our eyes start to open that we were painted in the light of pure, good, expert, right, above, the ones who should have, etc? When did we start to realize black and brown people were painted in the light of criminal even as their right to laws, home ownership, transportation, medical care, food, banking, protection, entrepreneurship and other social and economic resources was being taken from them and handed to white people?
The more we can process with our circles and our little ones - how narratives have become the systems we all together recreate, live by, and enforce and the power we have to come together and change those narratives and to write a different narrative for ourselves, the more the systems will change.
We are all family. All children of God. If we could trace every family line, we would see how interconnected we are. It is good to grieve the steady enforced separation of our family, to feel the weight of collective generations of uncoordinated action (acting for some, not for all), inaction, silence, and benefit. And the weight of a generational racism and classism pandemic that has ensured our black and brown families stay in a state of trauma and communal systematic devastation. We too have been traumatized in ways we also need to unpack. Separation from our families is separation from ourselves.
I know so many conversations are happening in all of our homes. Let's talk with our circles and our children, map the big picture narratives that are holding racist and classist systems in place and list all the little steps we can daily and systematically take to do our part to change these narratives and to rewrite our family, region, state, national and world stories.
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Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.