If you are anything like me, the racial tension in my community and in our nation have hurt my heart. I find myself singing “Why can’t we be friends” over and over again. As a white woman raising black children, race is obviously very important to me. I want you to know there are things that you can do that aren’t even that incredibly difficult.
It is our duty as parents to improve the world that our children are living in. We must take steps to improve race relations in our community. We must be intentional in our relationships, interactions, and conversations.
Think back on the past week. Have you had connection and discussion with a person that doesn’t look like you? This can be as simple as talking about your day while you wait for the kids in carpool or at softball practice. Having intentional relationships with people that do not look like you will broaden your thoughts and feelings toward people of other races.
Make a list of the past 10 people that your family has interacted with. Does your circle of friends look like you? If your answer is yes, be intentional about who you bring your kids around. Make a new friend that doesn’t look like you. Ask your kids. Chances are at school they have friends of all different colors. If so, invite a family over for a play date or dinner.
Don’t allow the negative comments. I know you hear them. Remember, I am white and for some strange reason, there are other white people in this world that think it is okay to say all the bad things about the black people around us. Stop them. Making comments about someone jogging in their hoodie in your neighborhood being bad for your property value is a racist. Comments regarding someone’s ethnic name stopping them from getting a job are racist. Say something as simple as “I am really not comfortable with this conversation” and walk away. You don’t HAVE to engage in a conversation you don’t want to; you are in control of this situation.
Remember, we are creating the world in which our kids will grow into adulthood. In order to improve race relations in our community, we must be intentional about relationship building. Call out your friends, speak up! Develop a circle of trusted friends and hold each other accountable. The only way we will improve is by learning what it is like to walk in the other person’s shoes. Have open discussions based on love, that is how we will move forward as a nation.