Ask ARP: How to be a strong ally to kids and parents of color at school?

Dear Anti-Racist Parent,

My child just started kindergarten at a publicly funded, open enrollment, community operated charter school. We live in a very racially diverse city, and the school is located in a neighborhood that is historically African American, though it is also, like much of the city, gentrifying. The population of this school is over 50% white, making it the whitest school in the district. There is only one classroom teacher who is a person of color, all of the top admin (director, assistant director, and office manager) are white.

My question for y’all is, What are some of the things I, as a white parent of a white child, can do to be a strong ally to the kids of color and their parents at this school? what are some of the things I should NOT do? I ask because I know there have been many well meaning white folks before me, some of whom have been helpful, and some of whom have NOT, and I of course want to fall into the “helpful” category. I have self interest here, as well; it bothers me that I ended up putting my child into an overwhelmingly white environment, and so I feel compelled to make sure it is as anti-racist environment as possible, and want to model for my child being an accountable ally and an active anti-racist.

I’m especially interested in hearing from white parents who’ve been in similar settings and what you did and how it went, and also from parents of color who’ve worked with or dealt with white parents trying to step up and how that went.

From SJ

If you’re interested in submitting a question, please email us at and put “Ask Anti-Racist Parent” in the subject line. You can read past Ask Anti-Racist columns here.

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