Are You Afraid?
What are you afraid of? Some of my children will hands down say SPIDERS! One of my grandsons will say "slimy" things like snakes. Of course, water (as in drowning), bees, and a variety of other things will come to mind for most people. Unfortunately, however, some people will say that they are afraid of other people. My white family does not have to worry about doors being shut because of the color of their skin. We do not have to fear being stopped by the police because of the color of our skin. We live in relative safety and often do not even think about it.
As I met with and worked with my clients this past week it was apparent to me that some of my clients have lived with this fear for a very long time - sometimes much of their life. They have learned how to deal with the fact that they often think about whether they will be a minority in the grocery store or the mall or at work. I have been told by my clients of color that most of the time it is not a problem. Lately though, they are more on guard. One of my African American clients said that she and her husband were talking with their children about how to keep themselves safe. She was very concerned that because of the white supremacist march and the outspoken hate after the danger at Charlottesville, VA - her children might encounter dangerous situations even at the playground. Other clients were concerned with what they might encounter at work. One said that people at his place of employment were "so worked up" that he wasn't comfortable expressing his opinion because of his Middle Eastern background. (He has been a citizen of the U.S. for many years and is very proud of this fact.)
In an effort to help combat fear, I am sharing a variety of resources that I have been given that may help you explore your opinions and beliefs and also allow you to discuss them with your children. Parenting is hard. Discussing big topics with little people can be difficult. It is said that children don't see color and differences. Research shows, however, that they do indeed see differences and register these differences. It is parenting that allows children to move past it. Although they see color - most just don't care. Here are some resources for you parents, grandparents and people who work with little people:
Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children
7 Tips for White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Police Murders of Black People
White parents, here's how to start talking with your children about race
Here's a book list that was recommended that is specifically about protests and civil disobedience:
I also read a speech that was given by the Mayor of New Orleans, LA regarding the removal of confederate monuments. He was very purposeful about explaining that he is not trying to change history but is trying to make sure that monuments that are displayed are of heros and those of whom we can be proud. We must learn from all of our history. Many of these monuments that we taken down in the city of New Orleans are going to be put in museums in an area that can explain the history of the Civil War. The city of New Orleans will not treat people who fought against the United States as heros. Here is that article and his speech:
The Huffington Post had an article about how a town in Germany found a way to handle Neo-Nazis that came to their town. It is called the involuntary walkathon - just genius! www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/neo-nazi-walkathon
I hope that some of these resources are helpful to you or to someone you know. It is easy to get upset and to give out our opinion to anyone who will listen. It is difficult to know what to do or how to behave. Perhaps some of these resources will help you to begin to start meaningful dialogue with others and will begin to help us all move forward without hate and with acceptance.