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US Census

White Moms Like Me: The Greatest Gift We Can Give Our Children is Showing Them How To Relate Across Difference As Equals

Happy Mother’s Day moms! Today is our day.

This Mother’s Day, I would like to invite white mothers to reflect on how teaching our children to relate across difference as equals as Audre Lorde told us is the best way to set our children up for success.

White moms: as the chart above makes clear, when our children are at the peak of their careers, white people will no longer be the majority of people in the United States.

This change is inevitable, whether or not President Trump gets his wall built.

As Donald Glover makes clear in his #ThisIsAmerica video, our children are watching absorbing and imitating everything we do.

Recently, we have seen incident after incident of white people- largely white women- calling the police on Black people because of fear and a deep seated desire to assert our power over Black people:

As an antiracism educator, I believe at the root, all of these incidents occurred because white parents either repeat to our children the same harmful inaccurate narrative about race our parents taught us, or don’t talk to our children about race and racism at all.

“Racism is terrible, Dr. Martin Luther King is awesome, and the way to not be racist is to be color blind and treat everybody equally.

We used to have terrible racism in our society, but then there was a civil rights movement, led by Dr. King who is awesome, and now opportunity is distributed equally.

Some families like ours choose to take advantage of it, and thats why we have what we have, and other families choose not to, and that’s why they have what they have.”

- Most White Parents’ Explanation of Race, Racism, and Racial Inequality (while never actually associating with any people of color except for domestic workers)

The racial wealth gap is not due to laziness on the part of people of color, its due to white people hoarding opportunity and discriminating against people of color.

The vast majority of us-white parents- lack the ability to role model to our children what racial equality looks like. We participate in all white social circles, move to all white neighborhoods so we can send our kids to all white schools, and believe somehow that heaping opportunity on our kids and depriving it to other kids is good for our kids.

But it’s not.

The greatest gift we can give our kids is to teach them the truth about race, racism, and where our families’ wealth came from- yes, our families worked hard, and they also had access to race-based wealth accumulation policies that set them up for success that families of color have never had access to.

Knowing the truth- and developing relationships as equals based in trust with people of color- will ensure that our children succeed in the society they inherit from us.

To get started, here some ways to talk with our kids about race.

Karen Fleshman, Esq. is the founder of Racy Conversations.

Her mission is to inspire the first antiracist generation in the United States.

43% of Millennials are people of color. 47% of Generation Z are people of color.

When we flip 10% of the white people in those generations to antiracism, we will have a majority antiracist generation that will be transformative.

She speaks and cofacilitates workshops on race nationwide and online and contributes to Huffington Post, Moguldom, and The GED Section.

Karen is a cofounder of San Franciscans for Police Accountability and serves on the workgroup overseeing US Department of Justice recommendations on ending bias at SFPD. @fleshmankaren

Founder, Racy Conversations Inspiring the antiracist generation.

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