How I’m Teaching My White Children to Do Better

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This post is part of a series in which we asked writers to tell us how they talk to their children about racism.

I'm heartbroken over the death of George Floyd (along with countless others) and the events of the past few months. I've been spending time listening to those who are hurting and trying to educate myself on what is at the heart of this matter, which is the individual and systemic racism that still exists in our world. There is admittedly a lot I don't know about the subject, but I realize that being silent about the issue is one of the worst things I can do.

I've learned that it's not enough for me, as a white person, to just say I'm not racist because I'm inclusive and loving of others, but I believe we should be doing more. Not only should we call out racism and speak up when we see civil and human rights being violated, but we should also be actively working to dismantle the racism that exists in the structure of our country.

"I've been spending a lot of time talking to my own kids about all that's going on, because changing the world starts at home with my own children."

I'm ashamed to say that, though I've talked with my kids about important social issues like this before, I've never purposefully focused on racism to the extent that I have recently. Before, I’d weave it into everyday conversations as things came up, but now, we've also been sitting down and having some longer discussions about racism.

Listening to and Learning from Those Who Are Hurting

It’s important for me, as their parent, to talk about things since they hear different viewpoints — thanks to their friends, social media, influencers like their favorite athletes, and the news — which contradicts what our faith tells us and what I believe. I’m there for them when they have questions, and when I don’t have the answer, I remind them that I’m still learning, just like they are.

I plan to keep working through this with them as time goes on and vow to have these discussions with them so that they can be better allies than I was when I was their age. I’ll also continue to listen to and learn from those who are hurting — and encourage my children to do the same.

Tags: Developing Skills & Character

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Written By

Alicia Peiffer

Alicia lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is raising two preteens and a toddler with her husband. She works from home... See Full Bio

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