I have struggled with the right words to write in regard to yet another senseless death of a black man. Mr. Floyd did not deserve what happened to him but neither did the many others who have lost their lives in the past for no other reason than being black. Mr. Floyd was murdered and now his family including his beautiful daughter who is only 6 is left broken and lost. From what I have heard he was an amazing father and I am so heartbroken for his little girl.
I was raised by my amazing Mom and now I am a mom, I am also white and I choose to raise my kids as I was raised. I was raised to love everyone and love their differences as each person offers so much to this world you have to appreciate them. I was taught to not hate, not judge people due to the color of their skin and treat people as equals. It is obvious that there are many people left in this world who were not taught this, and those people are treating black and brown people horribly and it must change now!
I am from Santee, California where there is a misconception that racism is not found everywhere, that we are open, loving and remarkably diverse but we are not free from racism. In Santee with in about 2 weeks span we had a person go into a grocery store wearing a KKK hood and then at another grocery store there was a couple wearing a swastika on their masks. This to me is just insane, how can these people even think to go anywhere wearing anything like this? Now had my Mom or myself seen this we would have ripped that hood or mask of them because we do not stand for racism. But it is not just where you live, there are so many media outlets that it is easy for our kids to see or hear racist messages that we as parents do not believe.
Sadly my 5-year-old saw a tik tok video on my phone where a person said black men are always trouble and the video was showing a black man being put into a cop car. Now I did not see the video at first, my son came to me and said why are all black men bad? At that moment everything stopped in my home as I demanded who told him that and he told me of the video. This is the moment as a Mom that can be turned into a lifelong lesson. I explained to my son the video was wrong, and that black men are not bad. That every person, no matter their color, are amazing humans and that we never should see someone’s skin and think they are bad people. I asked him does he have a black friend in school, and he said yea and I said well is he bad? No, he is really cool and nice. I explained that the color of your skin never makes you bad. I also told him if you ever see someone treating someone bad you stand up for them and do something. I have taught all my children to stand up for other people if something is being done wrong and to be nice to everyone. But I always thought what more could I do to teach my children?
Well for my kids I did some research. I have always started teaching at a young age. Reading or watching shows with people of different backgrounds so they are used to not seeing all white people. As they get older if they point out skin color, I tell my children well isn’t their skin beautiful, so they see differences as good which they are. As they face difficult situations or misinformation, which our children will since there are so many things easily seen now with the tv, internet, ipads and cellphones, I am open and here. I also monitor what they watch to avoid them hearing the wrong message. Racism is something we openly talk about between ourselves and the kids. If they see protestors and ask what is going on I explain so that they know and understand what is happening. When they get older if they ask what they can do to help we can join the protests, we can sign the petitions, we find ways to help in the community and we can listen to the black and brown community so we hear what they are facing and tell us what they need. I know there is always so much more I can do but I need to learn more, and this is where I am starting.
I then ask myself what can I do to help? It is a huge question and there are so many suggestions it gets overwhelming. But to simplify it as a white mother I need to listen to the black people, their stories, and their suggestions because they only know what it is like being black in America. I cannot even imagine what they go through, but I can listen to them because how can I ever expect to understand unless I take the time to listen. I can also learn and educate myself. Education is power and it is at my fingertips. There are so many resources to learn from and the more I learn the more I can help. The more I learn the more I can teach my children and the more I teach them the better this world will be. We all have a part to play to get rid of racism, to treat everyone equal and to grow as a society. We cannot do it alone and we need to join together, all races, all ages and then we can make changes. This will not be my last post on this because as I learn more I want to share more and hopefully it will reach others and make a difference.
- Talk about racism in your home. Openly and age appropriately.
- Educate yourself and your children. There are books for kids and many resources for parents.
- Listen to the black community. This will help to understand what is going on and how they feel.
- Ask questions. If you have questions about anything to do with racism create a dialog.
- Teach your children to love and appreciate people differences.
I just want to let everyone know you are loved, I am praying for our world and from our family we hear you, we are sorry, we stand with you and black lives matter.
Love, Jennifer Shivicks and Family.