Dear Anti-Racist Parent,
I’m not an anti-racist parent, and I don’t exactly plan on becoming a parent any time soon. I’m nineteen years old, biracial, and I have three half-brothers from opposite sides of my family. My mother’s son is Puerto Rican and Pakistani, and my father’s sons are Polish and Irish. They’re all under the age of six.
I would love advice on many topics, but primarily this: I know on some level how to help my mother’s son deal with all of those irritating, though often innocently intended questions (“What are you?” “Where are you really from?”) and assorted other problems; I’ve dealt with them myself. But how do I help raise my two other brothers, those who have white and class privilege, who will never face these questions? How do I help make them good activists and advocates from a young age? They’ll be coming from an upper-middle-class mostly white suburban background. Their parents don’t seem particularly invested in really instilling this in them beyond ‘be nice to everyone, skin color doesn’t matter.’
My other question is “How can I help raise all of them to be good feminist men? How can I help them be confident non-traditional men who actually respect women — and not ‘respect’, in the chivalrous fake sense of the word? I may not be a parent, but I do have a hand in raising them, and I suspect that if I play my cards right, I’ll be the one they talk to when they have problems. How do I make the best of this?
These questions may be somewhat vague, but I think about them all the time.
Thanks so much.
From Anastasia in San Francisco