‘The Talk’ — for White Parents
The time is now. Your children are watching.
A little over a year ago, we collectively witnessed the murder of George Floyd, which ignited America’s racial reckoning across the globe. The stain of the summer of 2020 reverberates with the continued presence of two justice systems in America: one for White people and one for Black people. This imbalanced justice system has disproportionately incarcerated Black men with longer sentences (and for nonviolent offenses) than the 22.5 years Derek Chauvin received for Floyd’s murder.
We repeatedly witness no shortage of examples of racial violence and police brutality. From an early age, Black children learn about the impact of racism. “The Talk” is the painful rite of passage in which our children lose a bit of their innocence when this painful yet necessary conversation must happen. However, the unfair burden of racism is placed on Black families. A year into the call for racial justice and after a summer of anti-racism reading, it is time for White parents to finally have a talk with their children.
While Black children get “The Talk,” White kids continue to live in White innocence — they never have the same discussion when tragedies unfold. If White parents genuinely want to confront the egregious acts of systemic oppression, discussing race and racism with their children is necessary to create a culture of accountability.
If Black children are old enough to experience racism, then White children are old enough to learn about the system of racism.
Accountability can lead to interrogating and disrupting systems of oppression that continue to pervade education, criminal justice, housing, and employment systems. White children must learn about their identity and the power that comes with it. The goal is not to blame or shame them but to provide a lens for a deeper understanding of discrimination and privilege.
White parents also need to talk with their children about how they can reimagine new systems that dismantle the racial hierarchy. As racism persists, White parents need to engage their children in an honest dialogue about America’s original sin, an uncomfortable truth that we can no…